*Listen to my recent “IMA Leader” interview on this topic

Since our new
launched over a year ago, we’ve seen dramatic movement in the right direction. While crunching the numbers in Google Analytics, Val McNutt, Web Coordinator and resident analytics guru, noticed the following:

  • The average time spent on the homepage has gone up 15%
  • The bounce rate has decreased by 10%
  • Within the first six months following the launch, we saw the average time on the whole site increase by 5%
  • Within the first six months following the launch, our site’s overall bounce rate decreased by 4.5%
  • In February of 2013, only 1% of the traffic to our undergraduate application information page came from the homepage. Now 11% of the traffic to that page comes from the homepage

Through this data, we can clearly see that our new homepage is an improvement from the previous version. This sentiment is reflected in the positive feedback we have received from Chapman Family members. We also get praise from outside organizations in the form of honorable mentions in blog posts and

That said, often I’m asked,
“how do you decide what goes on the homepage?”
Chapman’s web team bases decisions primarily off of data. Data is our absolute favorite tool because it allows us to determine what to do without human emotion, ego, or rank getting in the way, and it produces the best results for our users. Naturally, there are exceptions to our ‘data-driven decision making’ rule, usually driven by politics or institutional aspirations.

Using Chapman University as an example, here are three things you can consider when deciding how to allocate that precious homepage real estate.

1) Data-Driven Decision Making

Data-driven decisions produce the best results for our users, and this methodology is embraced by the internet marketing community in a major way. At the 2014 IMPACT conference presented by the 
Internet Marketing Association
, data-driven decision making was one of the primary topics of conversation at the CMO roundtable event, which included marketing directors from Microsoft, Adobe, MGM Grand, and many other major companies.

Data-driven decision making is just that: decisions that are based on unbiased facts and statistics. Using Chapman University as an example, let’s say we are trying to determine what should be listed in the “global navigation” (the black bar across the top of
Chapman’s primary website
). At Chapman, we look at this from multiple vantage points:

Below, you’ll see the results of a heat map generated by clicks taken by survey respondents.