Start with clear, measurable goal(s). First, determine what it is you truly want to accomplish with this project. I know this sounds too easy. What is the purpose of the site? Who is the audience? How will you measure success? The more you prepare, the greater the results.
Some things are more effective than others to measure. For example, the number of website “hits” might be impressive if the number is large, but it doesn’t really mean all that much. A single person that spends time on the website and goes through two dozen pages might be counted as 250 hits! Measuring the number of visitors and/or completed on-line forms are of more relevance.
Deliver a great user experience. What does this mean exactly? Help people get to where they want to go – and do the thing(s) they want to do QUICKLY and EASILY. Successful sites marry needs/goals of visitors with your overall business goals.
Write clearly and succinctly. The best sites use simple, friendly language. If your site cannot be understood easily, chances are that your visitors will not come back very often – if at all.
Launch and update as needed. Rarely can successful sites be built in one try. Instead, launch something that initially meets your baseline needs. Let’s get something out there and solicit feedback. You may be too close to it and the feedback you receive will allow for improvements. What pages are the most popular? What words are being searched for most often?