From Good to Great: Managing an
Effective International Web Site
Digital Economy Forum 2006
Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
October 6, 2006
Nick Harrison
Editor-At-Large
World Bank Web Site
The Local Impact of a Global Challenge




How one large institutional site evolved, and
the lessons that may provide
Processes for analyzing the state of the site
and how to move it forward
Empowering users
New directions for greater impact
http://WorldBank.org
Management Approach
Let the Mushrooms Flourish
To Each His Own Site
A Plethora of Publishing

The Bank’s internal content management system
has logged over 175,000 content items on 1,283
sites since 2003. These items were published by 932
individuals.

In 2005 alone, over 76,000 content items were
published. A small number of publishers tend to carry
the burden — 86 percent of the content items are
posted by 26 percent of publishers.
An Active and Growing Site

In one six-month period, the site served some 45
million pages views to over 6.5 million individuals
and recorded 8.2 million visits.

In any month, it attracts about a million unique
visitors, who view eight million pages during 1.4
million visits.

It ranks among the 10,000 most visited on the
Internet. Its ranking increased by 11 percent from the
last detailed analysis, in November 2004.

Over 300,000 downloads are recorded each month.

Bank staff account for about 7 percent of page views
Over 900,000 pages from other sites have links pointing to the Bank
as a source of relevant information on development.
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2,000,000
1,800,000
1,600,000
1,400,000
1,200,000
1,000,000
800,000
600,000
400,000
200,000
-
Room for Improvement
Too Much, Too Soon?
The Bank offers about 1,040 sites. Of these, 54 percent have fewer
than 10 visitors per day.
46 , 4%
187 , 18%
Fewer than 10 visitors per day
11 to 50
554 , 54%
50 to 300
More than 300
252 , 24%
The Long Tail Question
Most traffic (77 percent of page views) is served on 10
percent of the sites.
10.0%
9.0%
8.0%
7.0%
10% of sites, 77% of traffic
90% of sites, 23% of traffic
6.0%
5.0%
4.0%
3.0%
2.0%
1.0%
0.0%
1
86
171
256
341
426
511
596
681
766
851
936 1021
Are People Finding What They Want?
In any given month, 6.4 out of 10 visitors are coming
for the first time, while 15 percent can be considered
“frequent visitors,” having visited more than five
times.
70%
64%
60%
50%
40%
30%
21%
20%
10%
5%
4%
3%
1%
2%
Visit 2150
Visit 51100
Visit >
100
0%
Visit
Visit 2-5 Visit 6-10 Visit 11number 1
20
A Powerful Draw, But How Sticky?
A large number of visits consist of single page views,
while about 20 percent look at more than five pages.
60.0%
50.0%
48.4%
40.0%
30.2%
30.0%
20.0%
11.6%
10.0%
6.8%
2.7%
0.3%
21-50
pages
Over 50
pages
0.0%
1 page
2-5 pages 6-10 pages
11-20
pages
Searching for Development
Almost half the traffic (46 percent) comes from search engines,
followed by visitors using links from other sites (28 percent) and,
finally, direct access where visitors type in the URL or follow a
bookmark on a browser (26 percent).
Typed/Bookmarked
26%
28%
Search Engines
Other Web Sites
46%
Content Production
The Swiss Cheese Approach
Over half the Web staff are site managers or content providers.
About a quarter provide technical support as webmasters. Editors
constitute 16 percent. Marketing is the main activity of 3 percent.
Prim ary Web-related Functions
28%
25%
Site Manager
(Planning/Oversight/
Quality Control)
Content Provider
(Writing/Approving)
Editor
(Scheduling/Packagin
g/Writing and Editing)
3%
16%
28%
Marketer (Audience
Analysis/Metrics/Pro
motion)
Webmaster
(Production/Technolo
gy Support)
Web work constitutes an additional duty for the majority of
people who contribute to sites. Well over half spend under
20 percent of their time on related tasks.
Tim e Spent on Web Work
90-100%
80-90%
4%
3%
70-80%
2%
60-70%
2%
50-60%
40-50%
30-40%
20-30%
10-20%
<10%
3%
5%
7%
14%
20%
39%
A Range of Staffing Patterns
Scatter-Shot Results

The site offers a wealth of content across competing pages and
within variable navigation structures.

There are 13 sites that address trade, published by eight
different Units.

Similarly, HIV/AIDS is covered by at least 10 sites published by
seven Units.

A similar spread of coverage can be found for topics such as
transport, gender, governance, civil society, etc.

Search and information retrieval remain as critical issues for a
majority of users.
The Road More Traveled
Top User Categories
Organizational groupings
35.00%
30.00%
25.00%
20.00%
15.00%
10.00%
World Bank
Staff
Media
Multilateral
Civil society
Government
Academia
0.00%
Private
Sector
5.00%
Hands-On Involvement







Work on Development Projects — 14.5%
Study Development — 14.2%
Manage Development Projects — 11%
Provide Technical Expertise — 10%
Provide Business Services — 9%
Teach — 7%
Concerned Citizen — 5%
What They Seek
Page views show the most visited areas:
 Country Pages — 22%
 Data and Research — 18%
 Topics — 13%
 Jobs — 12%
 Project and Operations — 11%
Slight Slowdown in Satisfaction
In 2004, 90 percent found it useful or very useful; this year 80
percent did so.
How useful is the site to your work?
2%
4%
14%
Very
Useful
48%
Neutral
Not really useful
Not at all useful
32%
Areas for Improvement
What would improve your experience on the site?
More relevant search results
50%
More stories about the impact of
World Bank projects
50%
The ability to customize content to
my needs
41%
More maps and geo-referenced
materials (GIS)
37%
Additional content in languages
other than English
37%
More Multimedia (photos, videos)
29%
More online discussions
29%
A Better Use of Existing Resources
Realizing the Potential
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Shift the Focus from Sites to Content and
Audiences
Create a Content Strategy for the Future
Staff for Core Competencies
Address the World through Many Languages
Adopt Technology that Adapts
Establish Governance for a Shared Purpose
From Sites to Content and Audiences
Organize content based on ways people look for developmentrelated information:



Demographic
Thematic
Geographic
Development professionals define themselves quite precisely as
belonging to demographic groups (economist / policymaker /
social scientist / etc.) with interests in a thematic specialty
(health / roads / private-sector reform / etc.) and often a
particular geographic area (East Asia / Benin / Yoruba Province
/ etc.) which in turn can guide the structure and presentation of
much of the Bank's available information.
Content Strategy for the Future
Evolve from the silo mentality to a user-centric
approach to better organize, present and
disseminate information, and to measure the
effectiveness of those efforts. The goal would be to:

Inform and engage interested parties about the
Bank's work at a high level of sophistication and
openness (the "operational core”)

Foster a greater understanding of the institution as a
Knowledge Bank / Global Advocate for Development
(to strengthen support for our institution).
Staffing for Core Competencies

There is a growing acknowledgement that specific
expertise is needed for planning, gathering, writing
and editing Web presentations in ways that meet
both the objectives of the institution and the needs of
its primary audiences.

Core groups of editors and marketers at institutional,
sector and regional levels could provide centers of
competency that would enhance the delivery of
content and provide guidance and support to content
providers and site managers across the institution.
Increased Language Coverage

An emphasis on improving content on nonEnglish sites is showing results and should
receive substantial additional support.

Traffic has increased significantly, notably for
the French site (up 55 percent during the 12month period ending February 2006) and
Spanish (a 30 percent increase over the
same period).
Adopt Technology that Adapts
Explore technology solutions not currently
available on Bank sites for benefits such as
better syndication of content, more openness
of data, better profiling/understanding of
users, better search engines, development of
customized pages, and dynamic serving of
content based on user profiles. All were
identified in the user survey as priorities for
the site.
Governance for a Shared Purpose
A structure to provide this unified approach would:
 Define overall content policy and editorial focus on a 3-5
year basis
 Coordinate and prioritize implementation of
improvements
 Recommend staffing and site management guidelines
 Act as a catalyst for innovation and technology
development
 Monitor quality and measure impact and periodically
report on the effectiveness of the Web
 Review related implementation strategies and work plans
 Serve as an advocate before senior management
Questions? Comments?
Nick Harrison
Editor-At-Large
World Bank Web Site
[email protected]
202-458-8002
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