Website Profits are Always Proceeded by Clear Goals, Key Metrics and Effective Job Descriptions
Jobs in Publishing Are Changing
How many people does it take to run a publishing website? The answer varies widely from none to 75 across the several dozen website publishers I’ve spoken with over the past three weeks.
None is the answer given by publishers who treat their website as something their team can do in their “spare time.”One savvy editor told me this week that her publisher thinks that once at story is done for print, it should take no “real”additional time to put it online.
In reality it takes her and her webmaster, six to ten hours to edit the story and graphics for the web. Specific work includes converting high resolution print graphics to low resolution web graphics that keep pages loading quickly and hyperlinking the new story to using keywords in the text to the online glossary. Add to that the rewrite required to make the story search engine friendly and any effort to get other websites to link to the story—and you can see how the time adds up.
Her publisher just refuses to allocate time to the process, and in the next breath complains about why more content is not being added to the website faster and their web content fails to show up when he searches the web. Suffice to say that there are no key metrics for the website and no business plan or publishing model.
It’s a story I’ve heard at least three times in as many weeks.
Jobs in Publishing Require Definition and Clarity
The answer is two-fold. First, make the website a profit center with a plan. Second, assign full-time staff and create appropriate job descriptions that clearly identify what should get done each week on the website and what success metrics will be used to evaluate the website.
Key website team activities include those listed above and many more.
Primary key metrics would be revenue generated divided by emails sent or Revenue per M (RPM) emails sent. Other key metrics would include unique visitors, new emails subscribers, conversion rates by page, weekly retention rate, search engine visibility and the number of external links to the website. These key metrics create a dashboard that tells the publisher how fast the website is growing and how that growth is being powered by the website team’s efforts. See the Mequoda Internet Marketing Model for one complete set of key metrics.
Without a dedicated team and key metrics to measure progress and profits, website activities will remain random and without purpose. The converse leads to a self-motivated team that can measure their success and make appropriate requests for additional resources.
At the upcoming Mequoda Summit, we’ll explore the various ways that Mequoda operators are staffing and measuring their website publishing efforts. Later this fall we’ll publish a Special Report that will be titled Building Successful Multi-platform Publishing Teams.
Perhaps you’ll be joining us for the live event. If so, I’m sure you can look forward to a lively and candid discussion of what’s working and what’s not.
In the meantime, you can checkout a few job descriptions we’ve posted on our Mequoda Jobs in Publishing page to give you an idea about our thinking on the topic.
If you’ve got thoughts on the subject, techniques that work for you, or you just need a place to rant about how much your organization has to learn about making the web a productive part of your operation, feel free to post your thoughts and comments below.