Your website is the foundation of your online marketing efforts and often the first impression someone will have about your organization. Once you’ve made the leap and invested in a website redesign, it’s time to begin calculating the return on your investment. When measuring your website’s return on investment (ROI), organizations must look at costs and the results. Because nonprofit websites typically aren’t focused on sales, there often is no cut and dry method for measuring ROI. However, there are many different ways to track your success and determine whether your goals are being met. Here’s a few ways to help you get started:

Calculate the Costs

Before calculating your website ROI, you must determine the overall spend on your website redesign.[1] Your calculated cost should include the initial project cost, as well as the cost for maintenance over time. Make sure to identify all costs before getting started so there are no surprises down the road. Although a $10k or a $20k price tag might seem high, a great website will produce dramatically better results than merely a good site, and that will translate into huge gains over time.

Establish Your Goals

To track success, you must first establish goals you’d like your website to achieve. Although these goals may vary, these are the most common objectives among organizations:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Growth in brand engagement and interactions
  • Increase in leads
  • Increase in conversions (donations/subscriptions/sign-ups)

When calculating the success of nonprofit websites, ROI doesn’t always come in dollar form. As these websites are often created to build brand advocacy or raise awareness, tracking these Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be important in measuring your website’s success.

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Track Website Activity

Google Analytics is a free tool that makes it easy to measure and track your website stats. It allows you to link them to specific goals and measure success. These are just a few important KPIs to track to help you better determine your website’s performance:

  • Website Traffic: Website traffic should be measured on a monthly basis, at minimum. As Google Analytics is gathering goals data, you can also set up advanced traffic segments. These filters can allow you to separate the goal results by the various traffic sources sending visitors to your website.
  • Conversion Rates: Depending on your website, conversions may be measured as contact form submissions, emails, content downloads or online donations received. You can calculate your conversion rate by using this formula: (Conversions per Month) / (Monthly Website Visitors) = Conversion Rate. According to the 2020 M+R Benchmarks Study[2], the average conversion rate for a nonprofit’s main donation page was 22%, and on average, 0.17% of organic visitors to a nonprofit website made a donation. These numbers are good to keep in mind when determining the success of your website.
  • Bounce Rate: A high bounce rate is a key indicator that something is wrong with your website. In many cases, high bounce rates are due to poor navigation, outdated designs, slow loading times, or device incompatibility. It can also be due to content that has not been optimized for your target audience. The longer your visitor remains on your website, the more likely they are to convert.

Monitor Search Rankings

Updating your website doesn’t necessarily mean your search rankings will instantly increase, but when optimized properly, can certainly produce results. Search engines continually examine websites for new content and watch how often you are making updates. If you are blogging regularly or updating your website’s features, you will begin to move your way up the ranks. This is another return you will not see overnight, but can be extremely beneficial over time.

Record Time Saved

Websites can often provide another important contribution to an organization by acting as a tool for efficiency. Information collected through form submissions can help you create a database of leads, email subscribers, job applicants, etc. to help you better direct your follow-up efforts. Your website will also work as a resource, saving members time answering questions and promoting your organization’s efforts. How much are those hours per month worth in your organization?

Although your nonprofit website’s ROI[3] will not always be measured in dollars, there are many ways to determine whether your investment is proving value. The key is to carefully consider the different ways that your website contributes to your organization and then quantify that contribution.

Further reading and resources:

  1. Is It Time For a Website Redesign, Or Do You Just Need a Better Story?
  2. M+R Benchmarks 2020
  3. The Surprising Return on Investment (ROI) of Nonprofit Branding