What’s your site? An Apple? A Banana? A Fish? An Oldsmobile?
I’m being facetious.
I’m really talking about site types, and how knowing the major categories can be a shortcut to defining what you really should be measuring. Site-type definition can eliminate hours of vague discussion between business owners and technologists about “what we need to know”.
Broadly, there are four site types. Just four. Not four hundred.
The first lesson in KPI Definition is this:
You are not unique.
Once you digest that perhaps surprising fact, the rest becomes somewhat easier. And of course we don’t mean you, personally, are not unique (your are!). We do mean your site is not so very much unlike sites like it that it cannot benefit from categorization.
The Four Site Types
We’re giving thumbnail sketches here: just FYIs. There are obviously lots more detail about these but this ought to pique your interest.
Especially important to eCommerce measurement is a concept known as “the sales funnel” in which users are brought to the site via campaigns, then engaged through a variety of content until the “buy” pages are reached. What you want to do is watch that funnel to see where it leaks.
Brand and Content sites have very similar goals. Brand sites want users to interact with content to gain a level of comfort and kinship with the brand. Content sites sell advertising space. For both, the point is: users should spend more time on the pages.
This type of site wants to encourage users to “get in touch”. You don’t have a “buy” button. You have a “contact us” button or the like. The goal is to nurture users so they want to enter your off-line sales cycle because your sale is completed off-line. A classic example of this is the real-estate (“contact broker”) site.
The Self-Service site is almost the opposite of the Brand/Content site. The idea is to get people to the information quickly and then have them move on to something else. Often this type of site involves a cost to the site owner per interaction. For instance, in a human resources department, you’ll want visitors to get their HR info quickly and get back to work! If you’re a subscription, you’re a little bit like a gym and its membership: come visit, but not too often and not all at once because we won’t able to handle that! So, perhaps counter-intuitively, it is partly about getting people to their information; but then getting them off before they waste your bandwidth.
That’s it! Those are the site types. It’s a starting point. Defining exact KPIs will take some work but the focus will be more narrow and the completion date will come sooner.