Why is measuring the success of a Web site by the number of hits it receives idiotic? "Click-stream has become a lot more sophisticated," Kaushik said during a keynote address at a conference hosted by the Magazine Publishers of America trade association on Tuesday. "What you should measure is quality."
One way to measure the quality of a site is a low bounce-rate--or the share of visitors who move onto another site rather than continue onto other pages within the same site. What does a high bounce rate tell you? Visitors are effectively saying, "I came, I puked, I left," said Kaushik.
According to Kaushik, top publisher sites are so often poorly designed because they rely too heavily on HiPPOs--another acronym that stands for the "Highest-Paid Person's Opinion."
"Don't let your opinions get in the way of your success," pleaded Kaushik. Part of the beauty of Web sites, he said, is their "ability to be proven wrong fast."
Web sites are also "infinitely accountable," Kaushik said, unlike magazine print ads, which he described as "faith-based initiatives."
Publishers therefore must tirelessly test their Web sites to more effectively generate not hits, but "irrational loyalty, at scale," Kaushik said.
"You have massive, golden, authoritative content," Kaushik told attendees. Yet, acting solely in the interest of hits is a "fatal miscalculation."