At GOVTalks Spring 2020, Travis Vermeulen, Principle Customer Service Manager for Siteimprove, gave attendees a close-up look at Siteimprove, how it works, and the way it and its web analytics tools can help them continuously improve their websites.
How Siteimprove Works
Travis explained that Siteimprove collects data much like a search engine, by crawling, scanning, and spidering a website to inventory all its public-facing content. Siteimprove then overlays its information to generate individual scores for each of the three DCI modules — Quality Assurance, SEO and Accessibility — that combine to create a website’s overall DCI Score. Agencies can use this information to see how their websites are currently performing, and also how they have performed over time.
Identify and Fix Issues in Real Time
One of Siteimprove’s biggest advantages is that it allows you to identify and fix issues as they come up. It also weighs the importance of the issues, so you know which ones are having the biggest impact on your website’s usability. Additionally, Siteimprove provides recommendations on how to fix each issue and, as you begin to fix them, tracks those changes. These changes can then be compiled into easy-to-read reports that can be shared with leadership and other stakeholders so they can see progress made toward achieving short- and long-term goals.
What Is the Digital Certainty Index (DCI)?
Travis provided attendees with a detailed look at the DCI Score and the three areas that comprise it: Quality Assurance, SEO, and Accessibility.
- Quality Assurance includes elements like broken links, misspellings, and content readability and freshness.
- SEO measures how well search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! can index your website’s content so that users can find it quickly and easily.
- Accessibility gauges a website’s compliance with WCAG 2.0, Section 508, and other accessibility standards. The Accessibility Score is particularly important, as it shows you how accessible your content is to users with physical, cognitive, or technological limitations.
Siteimprove’s Web Analytics Tools
Next, attendees learned about Siteimprove’s web analytics tools, which provide an inside-out look at how visitors are using a website and its content. Travis explained that the DCI Score gives you a way to see where you have issues on your website and fix them. Web analytics enables you to see how users are interacting with your site, or “behaving” on it. By using web analytics, you can find out what content is the most important to your users, so you can help them find it as easily and quickly as possible.
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” - H. James Harrington
Your Goals Are Your Metrics
When using web analytics, it’s important to set up metrics — or clear goals — that directly align with the objectives of both your end user and your organization. An ecommerce site, for example, would set “increased sales” as a key metric. Once you define your goals, you can begin establishing metrics to track inside of Siteimprove. Based on what you see, you can decide where and how to adjust your content, and even establish new metrics. Over time, you’ll be able to view an historical comparison of your metrics, so you can assess your progress toward achieving your website’s performance goals.
Gaining Insights Into Specific User Behaviors
Siteimprove’s web analytics also allow you to track specific user behaviors. For example, you can see how someone found your website (e.g., Google, an embedded link, georgia.gov homepage) and, once they arrived, where they went next, either inside or outside your site.
Siteimprove web analytics also offers visualization tools, called Behavior Maps, that allow you to see where users are hovering, clicking, scrolling and interacting with each page on your site. This is especially useful for knowing what content is most important to your users, so you can make sure it’s easy to find on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
Siteimprove’s DCI and web analytics capabilities come together to provide agencies with a comprehensive set of tools to monitor, measure and improve their website’s performance.
Built-In Support, Training, and Resources
Anyone who wants to learn more about Siteimprove and its features can check out its help center, webinars, tutorials, and also the Siteimprove Academy, which provides courses on Quality Assurance, SEO, Accessibility, and more.