One major goal for HIV.gov, especially on World AIDS Day, is to increase access to HIV testing and care services. Our main avenue for this information is the HIV Testing and Services Locator and Google Play. By measuring usage of this tool, we’re better able define a “successful visit” to the website.
Creating Pathways and GoalsWe already know that many of our website visitors are interested in basic HIV/AIDS facts through web analytics. What we don’t know, however, is what they’re doing with the information. This is where the Locator has come into play over the last year. We've taken a number of related pages including HIV Test Locations, Signs and Symptoms, and How Do You Get HIV/AIDS and added direct pathways to the Locator tool. This creates a measurable goal for us to benchmark:
One way we’re able to gauge the effectiveness of these changes is through usability testing at events like the U.S. Conference on AIDS. We can’t reach most of our website visitors directly or expect them to engage with us on social media. We can, however, rely on that core community to give us valuable feedback for the greater whole.
Through a few rounds of testing and constant traffic monitoring, we refined our content in an effort to direct more people to the Locator. Now that World AIDS Day has passed, we’re able to look back and compare our results with previous years.
Increases in Referrals from HIV.gov Pages to the HIV/AIDS Service Locator Since World AIDS Day 2012
- Signs and Symptoms increase of 1552%
- How do you Get HIV/AIDS increase of 700%
- World AIDS Day increase of 262%
- HIV Test Locations increase of 203%
We were very pleased to see more than double the referrals to the Locator as compared to last year’s World AIDS Day. We combined design enhancements with social media campaigns to bring the Locator to thousands of new visitors. HIV.gov saw greater engagement across many platforms this year, and we plan to continue to use that visibility to increase access to these key services.Can we guarantee that every visit to the HIV Testing and Services Locator results in a successful HIV test? No. At some point, it always comes down to the individual to take action offline. What we can do, and will continue to do, is make it even easier to find services and accurate HIV/AIDS information. World AIDS Day provides a big spike in public awareness, but the real challenge is maintaining that momentum throughout the year.
How can AIDS Service Providers measure traffic and growth?
Though we use a variety of methods to measure traffic and website effectiveness, any organization can start monitoring basic trends relatively easily. Google Analytics is a free tool that you can get running on your website in minutes. It gathers information on traffic sources, popular pages, and other metrics that can help you understand what visitors are doing on your website.
What your organization chooses to do with web analytics is completely up to you, and should be customized to fit the needs of your website. Understanding current visitor behavior is the first step in improving the experience for more people in the future.
How do you measure success related to your website traffic? What did your organization do to improve your web based communication this World AIDS Day?