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What do you tell the bigwigs?
When the execs want to know how the site is performing

 7:42 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've got to develop a weekly website report for my company's executives.

The key here is to keep it simple and to give them numbers, so they can see at a 1-page glance how our site is performing traffic and sales-wise.

What is the main need-to-know stuff for a VP and a president? What are the best traffic, sales, marketing, affiliates, conversion stats, etc., to give?



 7:48 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sales and Profit...period.

That's all they should be concerned with.


 8:15 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree completely...


 8:17 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

ROI is also important.

The details of what to include in a one-page executive report should be driven by the stated goals of the website.

If it is an eCommerce site, then obviously you need to include direct revenues and expenses.

Does the site generate leads for phone or personal follow-up? Include the number.

Count or summary of direct customer interactions (via email or contact form).

Almost every website has "establish (or increase) the company's online presence" or something else that is equally vague. So for this you should include monthly visitor counts and page impressions.

Percentage of uptime.

Again, the bottom line is that somewhere there should be some documentation about the website is supposed to accomplish. Your monthly report should provide metrics to indicate whether or not it is meeting those goals.


 8:17 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why not ask them what they WANT to know? They may not know what kind of stats and information are even available to them.


 8:28 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Traffic, conversion, sales (as in $) and orders (as in #). AOV if they are interested and costs if you have any.


 8:43 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does the site generate leads for phone or personal follow-up? Include the number.

That is important but it's not really the developer's job. That's more a function of the sales/marketing managers. They, with your cooperation, need to develop a way to track phone leads.


 8:49 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well... I'm a big fan of:

Unique Users (Calendar Month)
Identifies your growth pattern.

  • A gentle upward slope month to month means that you're growing.
  • Stable isn't as good.
  • Stats that bounce up and down could mean that your traffic building efforts need some attention (the website should have a solid foundation so that it can weather the algo tweaks, etc.)
  • downward numbers may give you a two week head start to diagnose and fix something before it becomes worse.

Search Engine Referrals
Track monthly SE referrals by percentage and hard numbers.

  • Percentages: Compare the percentage of traffic each Search Engine is sending you against known industry averages, with consideration of your audience demographic. Thus, if Yahoo owns around 14-17% of the search market, but they're only sending you 9% of your total traffic, this report helps you to identify any shortcomings in your search engine marketing strategy.

  • Hard numbers: Additionally, this report will allow you to track the number of visitors being referred to you month to month. While the percentages may not change all that much, these numbers should follow an upward slope. Growth. Focus on growth.

There is so much traffic out there, even for the most niche product you can think of. I'm consistently surprised by how much there's still left to bite off.

Keyword phrase ranking
I'm not a fan of this one, simply because people search a million and one ways more than a simple three word keyword phrase. Still, this report can be a rough barometer of how much love the search engines are sending you. Execs have an easy time wrapping their heads around this one, fortunately (or unfortunately).


 8:57 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

That is important but it's not really the developer's job.
This whole report isn't a developer task (automating the report might be). It is under the domain of the website administrator, who may or may not also be a developer.

If the website submits lead information to a database, or the website is involved in routing the contact requests, then the number of leads it delivers is a performance metric of the website. And if generating sales leads is an important function of antsaint's website, then the count should be on the report.

As pleeker said, if they haven't told you what they want, then you should ask. My earlier post was directed to the possibility that they already have said what they want on the report by means of stating what they want the website to do.


 9:34 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sweet, thanks all. The asking is defo going to be part of the process. I work with our director of marketing, so I'm brainstorming a bunch of different ideas for us and for the execs, but yes, asking the execs what they want is on the list.

They, with your cooperation, need to develop a way to track phone leads.

We have an e-commerce site, but we're primarily sales rep driven. Customers and reps both are using the site more and more, so the above's a good idea. I'd like to see how the site may be generating more phone leads, and how those are converting so the site and sales floor can work better - and more lucratively! - together.

We also want to ramp up our affiliate program, so I'm wondering about the place of affiliate-specific numbers in the report too. Some ideas:

- Number of affiliates
- Number added
- Number removed
- Affiliate sales as % of total sales
- Dollar amount of affiliate sales
- Payout in commissions
- Total revenue minus commissions

I'm also thinking of adding an area that includes a comment and an improvement we made on the site based on that comment. We get a lot of feedback from customers, and one of my responsibilities (this is a new position for me) is interacting more with our sales reps to explore other areas where we can grow the site. It demonstrates how we're listening to our customers, and it's also a chance to kick some kudos to employees.

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