Is a page on a site really free? The easy answer is “No”. Every page on a site has a cost and some pages cost more than others. What challenges site owners is to quantify the cost of a page that adds up to the true cost of the site and its ROI value.

When each page is given a cost it changes how site owners and marketers think of page content and how the content on the page is managed, refined, and optimized.

Define the Page

Traditional marketing targets information to the customer based on where the customer is in the decision or purchase cycle—it’s the sales funnel. The sales funnel can be easier to identify for transactional pages (there is a shopping cart), but for non-transactional pages, it can be more challenging.

Define the page objective:

a. Inform: purpose is for the customer to read, watch, etc.
b. Transition: purpose is to disambiguate and route customers to the appropriate page(s)
c. Convert: purpose on these end-node page(s) is to generate leads, buys, registrations, trial software, etc.

Once you’ve identify the objective for each page, make sure that the call-to-action aligns to the page objective. If you’ve identified that the primary objective on the page is to generate trial software downloads, don’t confuse the customer with too many links or divergent call-to-actions. Less is more.

Define the Costs

Now it’s time to look at the costs for the different page types. Depending on your site, you may even define further segments of page types. For example, press release pages, which are to “Inform”, may have different costs associated than a careers page that has the same “Inform” page objective. Focus your attention on the three core page types, and then further segment as needed if there are distinct cost differences.

Costs to include:

  • Resources to create the page content: resources to write the content, create graphics or images, publish the content
  • Management of the life-cycle of the content: frequency of content pages to the page

Resources are easier to quantify, but the management of the life-cycle of the content on the page is often forgotten. Using the example above, a press release page may have very few edits after the page is published, while a careers page may have several.

Average your costs to obtain a cost per page. Not included are the hardware or other IT costs that may be needed to support your site. You may include these costs too and allocate an amount to a page.

Bring it Together

Now that you’ve defined the pages on your site and have defined your costs, let’s bring it together. Put the numbers behind the page. This includes not only page traffic, the page views, visits, etc., but also the click-throughs on links available on the page. Play attention to the primary call-to-action links. If the page objective is to generate newsletter sign-ups, how many sign-ups were received? If the page objective is generate sales, how many sales were completed from a buy now page?

In the end you will be able to measure the value of the page based on page objectives, traffic and costs.