Definition: Success

Someone asked me today about building a website, and part of the conversation revolved around why the site needed to exist.  The answer was a few things but part of the answer was “it looks good on a resume”.

This made me think… what is it about building a website that would look good on a resume, which led me to think about what it means to have a successful website.

Success is measured in many ways, but for a website i think it’s critical that you establish what success means, even before you start building and designing.

This is no different to most anything you do in life, you need to have a goal of some sort so you know whether all your hard work is paying off.

It’s really weird how we inherently apply to goals to some things in life, and then completely ignore them for others.  Losing weight is a perfect example.  If  you’ve ever been on a diet or exercise kick then you have no doubt started by saying “i want to lose x kgs, or y pounds”.  This gives you something to work towards.

However i’ve seen so many businesses and websites start with things like the colour scheme, or the logo, or the domain name and give no thought at all to what you are trying to achieve AND HOW YOU’LL KNOW WHEN YOU GET THERE!

So without laboring any further on that, what does success mean for a website?

  • Traffic: This is pretty easy to measure and tools like google analytics make it super simple to set up.  Traffic is typically measured in page views or unique visits.  The first is a count of how many web pages people see in a month on your site, the second is an indication of how many people visited your site in a month regardless of how many pages they clicked on or how many times they visited in that month.
  • Revenue: If you are selling stuff on your site or doing banner advertising then this becomes pretty simple also.
  • Speed of build:  Success to you might mean that the site was able to be built from scratch in a specific timeframe.  Maybe it’s a success if you got it done in a week!  Despite having no visitors… it’s still a measure of success.
  • Business integration: Succes can also be measured by some specific business process were working with, as an example success might mean that someone can  fill in a form on your site and have the information automatically appear in your customer management system.

There are other measures also, however importantly you need to have some indication in your head that you can use to say “i’m getting closer to my goal”, without this your just building another website.

What are you building and how are you going to measure the success?