Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Improving the response to feedback

I’m a big one for measurements and metrics. You know the saying – ‘If you can’t measure it then you probably shouldn’t be doing it’. This statement however probably neglects the most important aspect of metrics, that being adjustment. Once you measure something you need to use the results to improve what you are measuring. In many ways that means creating a constant feedback loop as changes are made and then their results are compared, changes made and then measurements taken again. Sometimes, an adjustment may make things a little worse or with any luck, a little better. In the big picture, the result should show a continual improvement.

One of the areas where I have been making measurements but failing to make adjustments has been with my web site www.ciaops.com. I have watched as the metrics have continued to fall and for various reasons failed to lift a finger to make any changes. From January 1 that is going to change as I have migrated my main web site to a new platform and am committing myself to much closer monitoring and adjustment going forward. The main reason for this is that I am coming to appreciate how critical a web site now is when selling your business. It is the number one place where potential customer will come to check out who you are and what you have to offer. If you fail to measure up here, guess what? They’ll be gone.

Probably the major reason that I failed to make adjustments to my web site was simply the fact that the platform I was on with my previous ISP was simply so ancient now. I was working with old fashion tools trying to keep up with the modern advances of the web. Having identified previously that I did need to do something I soon came to appreciate that the platform I was on was not going to be suitable. That has driven me on an extensive search of what is available and I am now very confident of the platform I am adopting. Yet that is still not good enough. As ‘good’ as I ‘think’ this platform is, a ‘nice’ as I think my remodelled web site will be it makes no difference now unless I see improvements in my metrics. This means I need to focus more fully on what visitors use my site for. This means I need to spend more time looking in depth the analytics of my web site. It means making changes to my site that may not seem to make sense to me but in the end I need to focus on what I deliver to people who visit my site because it is going to the central to my business in the future.

My initial attempt at migrating my site is clearly going to be far from the most effective result possible however, the important thing will be my enhanced focus on examining the site metrics and make adjustments. With 2010 fast approaching let me ask you firstly whether you have adequate metrics in place for the critical aspects of your business? Secondly, I’d ask that if you do have these metrics in place what are you doing with them? For it is silly to simply collect the results without converting them into action.

When my new site goes live around January 1 have a look and let me know what you think because now I have the tools and desire to make the site what it should truly be – the central location of my business going forward and I can use all the feedback I can get.