On-site Optimization for Real Estate Part 2: Getting ready to measure

Last time we discussed the overview of a site optimization process, so I bet you’re ready to get rolling on improving your site. But before we can start implementing our process we need to chart a course. Let’s get started.

Determine the objective

For most real estate sites, the objective is to increase qualified leads (the people who are looking for the kind of property you like to sell or selling the kind of property you like to buy). Maybe there are other objectives as well. Think about this as you begin your process. Maybe sometime in the future your goals and objectives will change, that’s fine. The important thing is to know what your goals are so that you can track them.

Track your progress

Once your objectives are determined, it’s time to figure out what metrics you’re going to use to track your progress. The TLA (three letter acronym) used to describe the metrics that connect to your objective is KPI (key performance indicator). It’s very important to remember that every KPI is a metric but not every metric is a KPI. There are hundreds of reports a decent analytics package will produce for you. Not all of them relate to your objective. An excellent rundown of what makes a metric into a KPI can be found on Dennis Mortensen’s VisualRevenue blog:

7 KPI characteristics

  1. a KPI echoes organizational goals
  2. a KPI is decided by management
  3. a KPI provides context
  4. a KPI creates meaning on all organizational levels
  5. a KPI is based on legitimate data
  6. a KPI is easy to understand
  7. a KPI leads to action!

I know it’s easy to let your eyes glaze over as you read that handy list. But resist the urge. Note a couple important items like #2: a KPI is decided by management. That means you. Your analyst (me) can make some good suggestions but ultimately you’ve got to decide that it’s relevant. If you don’t, then everyone will just be spinning their wheels. Take the time to understand why your analyst is suggesting a specific KPI and make it a conversation.

Another great one is #5: a KPI based on legitimate data. You need to understand your analytics package and establish your degree of confidence in it. You also need to understand what your analyst is doing with the numbers outside of the analytics package (yes, we’re making spreadsheets and trying to provide more context–Google Analytics has some pretty graphs, but we need more).

Number 7 is the most important of all: a KPI leads to action. If you can’t do anything with the data, if you can’t base a business decision on it, then it isn’t worth tracking. It may be interesting. Entertainment is interesting. Analysis needs to inform action.

For some examples of KPIs for real estate sites, check out my guest post over at MyTechOpinion.com: Three KPIs for Real Estate Websites.

Now what?

Take a deep breath. If you’ve come this far chances are good that you’ve done more than your competition: you know what you want to do and you know how you will measure your progress. And you are committed to making improvements to speed your progress. You’ve done the thinking and now it’s time for acting.

Next time we’re going to cover setting up a benchmark study (so we can see if any of our decisions and actions are helping or hurting).

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  1. Pingback: Performance Optimization for Real Estate Part 3: Benchmarks

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