Late last year I began planning for a major update of two websites, but I was really hungry for some metrics about A/E/C websites. Metrics that I couldn’t find anywhere! So I polled several dozen colleagues from the Society for Marketing Professional Services, and received some useful insight. A comprehensive survey about the current state of industry websites it was not, but yet it provided some interesting opportunities to benchmark my company’s sites with others.
Roughly half of the participants were from engineering firms, with the balance representing architects, A/E firms, and general contractors/construction managers. Firm size ranged from less than ten to as many as 2500 employees. Slightly fewer than 50% of firms represented employed 10-49 people, with about a third of participants representing firms with 50-250 employees – meaning that the data shared was mostly from small and midsize firms, with no mega-firms represented.
I was curious how “current” the websites were, and found that only 15% of firms had updated their website in the past two years; however, almost a third of firms underwent a redesign in 2012. A quarter of firms had not redesigned their website within the past five years.
When I asked about the size of the websites, the answers were all over the board. However, almost 40% of firms fell into the 25-49 page range, with another 15% in the 50-99 page range.
Surprisingly, half of firms participating do not have an active blog on their website! Of course, if I’d asked this question a few years ago, I’m sure that the vast majority of firms would not have had an active blog. For those firms that have a blog, almost 60% update it twice per month, or less. However, 18% reported that they post new blogs more than once per week. When it comes to bloggers, slightly more than 40% of firms reported that they only have one company blogger, while 30% have 2-4 bloggers and another 30% have 5-9 bloggers.
I queried about how firms are driving traffic to their websites, and the top two responses were LinkedIn and e-mail marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Search Engine Optimization, and Blogging followed in that order.
When it came to analytics, the responses were varied, as you’d expect with a smaller sample size; however, I made some general observations. When it came to website sessions, 250-499 and 1000-1499 sessions per month were the most common. But ten percent of firms saw less than 99 sessions per month while six percent of firms experienced more than 5000 sessions per month.
One of the areas in which I was particularly interested was whether or not firms were getting leads from their websites. Approximately 40% of participants noted that their website has never generated leads. Among firms reporting leads, one-third receive one or two leads annually, while 13% each reported 3-4, 5-6, and 7-10 leads per year. The outlier was one firm that reported more than 25 leads annually! The value the leads ranged from $5,000 to $1,000,000, but it doesn’t seem like this metric is accurately tracked by most A/E/C firms.
This mini-survey was a great start, but it left me longing for more! Fortunately, the SMPS Foundation has launched research about what makes A/E/C websites tick! Foundation researchers are diligently working on A/E/C Firms and the Web: The Seller’s Perspective as the inaugural report in their new Quarterly Reports: The Informed Strategies Series.Watch for the report later this year at www.smpsfoundation.org.