Several recent registered users of Heardable.com have asked us if the Heardable Platform can help online marketing professionals evaluate the effectiveness of their website redesign efforts. Our answer: Yes indeed!
Before we get to our case study -- Southwest.com's recently redesigned website and how its Heardable Score was impacted -- let's quickly review the Heardable Scoring system, as well as how online brand performance can be tracked over time utilizing our Brand Directory feature to profile any brand. This is the foundation on which you'll be able to measure and monitor the effectiveness of your website redesign -- and the ripple effect that this may have had on your brand.
Heardable Scoring System: A Quick Recap
As you may already know, the Heardable platform currently looks at 20 on-site and 20 off-site variables to determine a brand's visibility across the web, which includes the underlying effectiveness of the brand's website. Heardable provides a comprehensive, diagnostic analysis of six key attributes:
1. Actionable: Do you make it easy for your site visitors to engage & transact with you?
2. Measurable: Do you monitor your site via web analytics software and/or advertising tracking beacons?
3. Portable: Have you optimized your site experience for the major mobile web browsers?
4. Searchable: Is your site SEO optimized, with an emphasis on local search?
5. Shareable: Does your site make it easy to send and receive data feeds in multiple formats?
6. Sociable: Does your brand actively participate in social media across a span of external services?
A brand's Heardable Score is calculated by rolling up each of the six subscore values into the main Heardable Score.
How Online Brand Performance Can Be Tracked Over Time
Site visitors who click on the Brand Directory section of Heardable, or myHeardable, can track a brand's performance over time via a graph that displays all points in time that a particular brand has been scanned using our scoring engine, mapped to a timeline.
To access Brand Directory and myHeardable, you first need to sign up (for free) as a registered user on our website. Right now, Heardable allows anyone who registers to access all of our site pages, features and functionality for free. In time, we will be introducing a paid subscription service and charging a monthly fee for certain areas of our site.
If you'd like to see how your brand (and its corresponding Heardable Score) can be tracked over time, we suggest that you first visit the Brand Directory page. By default, Heardable.com's score and graph appear on the page. At a glance viewers are provided with:
1) A screen capture of our home page
2) Date our site was last scanned
3) Ability to re-scan our brand/URL
4) Graph showing how our brand has scored over time
To showcase another brand, simply enter a new domain name / URL into the Search Brand Profiles search box and click SEARCH. If this is the first time a particular domain name/URL has been scanned, it may take up to 30 seconds or more to display the Heardable Score. This is because the Heardable algorithm conducts its analysis in real-time. If the domain name/URL is a new scan, you may want to request a screen capture of the home page by clicking the UPDATE IMAGE button.
If you examine the graph that appears on the brand profile page, you will notice that you can roll over specific dates tp see what Heardable Score was captured at that point in time.
Southwest.com's Recently Redesigned Website -- How Its Heardable Score Was Impacted
Wanna see brand measurement and monitoring in action? Let's look at Southwest.com - a website redesign gone bad.
From what we have read about online, Southwest.com redesigned its website and released it to much fanfare on Jan 15, 2010. Two weeks later, their Heardable Score tanked, dropping from from a high of 511/1000 to 341/1000. Ouch. (see below).
If you were to read Southwest's corporate blog, it's almost amusing to watch the participants high-five each other over how great the new Southwest.com site is doing. And from a look and feel point of view, there may be some valid improvements that users can point to that have actually improved the experience. However, when you look at how this new site performs from a brand effectiveness perspective, the changes that Southwest have rolled out have had a 33% drop in online brand effectiveness.
In our humble opinion, Southwest Airlines chairman and CEO Gary Kelly should take his CMO to the tool shed for a good tongue lashing. Baring that, Southwest's management might want to devote some serious hours to exploring how its newly redesigned website could possibly be performing worse than its old website. It is not easy to go one step forward and three steps back with a website redesign, but that's just what Southwest seems to have done. Whether anyone at Southwest is even aware this has happened, or cares, is a good question.