University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We are in the initial stages of project planning for a web CMS implementation in FY2014.  As we begin to develop our project planning documentation, we are somewhat struggling to come up with meaningful, measurable metrics for determining success of our project.  So far, we are considering measuring: 1) the percentage of trained content managers that are "actively" using the system once implemented, and 2) the percentage of trained content managers who are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the usability and functionality of the CMS, based on their responses to an online survey.

Can anyone else share some metrics they have used to measure the success of a CMS implementation?

Thanks for your help~


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Hi Chris,

I have some questions to consider when determining the best way to measure success of a new cms. I'll send you an email that may help.


Thanks, Annette!

Hi Annette -- any chance you could share a version of your questions here? It might be very helpful to those of us contemplating CMS changes and upgrades. Thanks!

Hi Daniel,

The measurement of success is based on the reason for the change of CMS in the first place. Is the CMS upgrade part of an overall redesign and updated information architecture? Or is it a stand alone project? Are you moving from having no CMS into one? Are you moving from one certain CMS to another due to contributor difficulties, development standstill or poor service?

Basically, it depends on what you are looking to measure and what your definition of success is being based on.  Also, you can compare the site/page updates before and after CMS implementation.

We get hired as a consultant many times to help zero in on all the pain points within and organization, analyze data, conduct user ability audits, and consolidate a schools goals which we then recommend a CMS that is best suited for their needs.   Since we have an extensive history of experience in higher ed our insight and contribution is quite valuable. It allows for our clients various departments to be heard and considered before making such a major decision.

Hope that helps! 

As Annette said, it depends on why you're doing it. What are the problems that need to be solved, and what are the outcomes that can be measured? I'm planning to switch to a CMS from not having one this coming year, and most of our issues are around quality control. I'll be looking at things like broken links, misspellings, web writing quality and internal standards compliance, information accuracy, etc., as well as bottom line metrics like conversions.

We are also transforming our web this year with new visual design system and CMS.  We should definitely all collaborate on drivers, best-practice, planning, and execution.

Our program has three high level objectives:

  • Provide an unparalleled authoring and publishing experience
    • Give author more powerful and easier to use tools
    • Remove IT from all publishing tasks
    • Remove on technology knowledge requirement from the authoring process
    • Measures: volume of new content and updated content, IT ticket rates, 
  • Deliver leading edge user experiences
    • Improve "findability" of content
    • Improve UX tailored to persona type
    • Be exceptional across multidevices
    • Measure: visitors, pageview, time on page, bounce rates, mobility satisfaction,content reuse,etc
  • Build a strong web builder community
    • Train users on UX, usability, content strategy, etc
    • Audit and support better content and UX
    • Measures: active users, training volume, self-support rates, seminar attendance,

I've done both. With positive results. And you can adjust according to feedback. 

How are you defining "actively using" the system? 

What constitutes a  "trained" content manager? And of course, what determines "satisfaction?"

Have you thought about it from an output perspective? How many web pages effectively published/maintained? 

Thanks to all for your responses.  


"Actively using" the system means: that content manager's pages are being maintained/updated (evidenced by no outdated content) and they aren't coming to IT for those updates.

A "trained" content manager means they've gone through whatever training we and/or the vendor has provided them and they are "actively using" the system as defined above.

"Satisfaction" is measured via a post-implementation online survey of the content managers.  The question(s) will provide a 5 point range of responses, from "very dissatisfied" to "very satisfied".

We hadn't necessarily thought about it from an output perspective, not knowing a good way to measure/quantify that.  I struggle with the true worth or value of an absolute number like "web pages effectively published/maintained".  Couldn't you have a high number for that and still have users really unsatisfied with the process/system for getting their pages updated?

The amount of post-training assistance hours that are needed with content managers may be a helpful metric to track as well. You can (perhaps) learn something about both user "activity" and success of the training component.

Number of page revisions and length of days in approval processes may be good metrics to look at quarter over quarter, or whatever interval makes sense for you- In other words, as we progress, did we see the former increase and the latter decrease? etc.  I think those might help you make statements about the relevance and up-to-date-ness of your content.

What are the overall goals of the project, aside from implementation. Why bring a new CMS on board ? Was it to make content upkeep more effective? To address back end issues? Look to tie metrics to those higher goals as well.

While it's generally not the primary justification for implementing a new web CMS, it's almost inevitable that doing so will lead to changes in your consumer-facing web design regardless of what your current site architecture may be. That being that case, it's also helpful to include that perspective in your project objectives. What can you achieve along those lines in the CMS implementation process including such objectives as migration to responsive design, abandonment of outdated content, integration of social media, or improvement of site architecture and usability? An entire set of metrics surrounding the consumption side of the system may be appropriate.

Ultimately, you certainly should review contributor metrics as well, which will be heavily influenced by the culture of the organization. Those include such characteristics as the autonomy of contributors, their comfort level with web editing tools, and the organization's business model and resultant workflows. Ultimately, you'll be able to measure the success from the contribution side by how active your users are on the new system, their comfort level with it, and the consistency of the subsequent content based on the design, style, and workflow parameters you develop.



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