A year on GOV.UK

I’ve guest-blogged over on the Government Digital Service site about HMRC’s first year on GOV.UK.

I’m currently the featured post on their main blog, which is very kind of the Aviation House crew.

I won’t reiterate what I said there, instead I’ll add three extra details I didn’t have space for.


1. We decided which pages would form our “before and after” comparison over a year ago.

Someone I showed the numbers to suggested that we’d deliberately (and retrospectively) chosen pages which would have higher traffic on the new site than on the old.  In other words, they were suggesting we’d ‘fixed’ the comparison to make the new site come out on top.

This isn’t the case.  We chose a handful of pages on the old site that we knew would have (more or less) equivalents on the new site, and collected data for those old pages at the time (February 2013). So in fact the pages on the old site, not the new, dictated the comparison.


2. Increasing the traffic to the most important content was in my personal objectives for the year.

Specifically I had the target of increasing the traffic to the most important corporate content (that explains what HMRC is doing) by at least 50%.

These objectives were set in March 2013, which was before we knew exactly what the traffic impact of moving to GOV.UK would be.  So this was a bit of calculated risk-taking on my part, which seems to have paid off.


3. I can’t believe it’s only been 12 months

The move to GOV.UK meant a radical change to the way HMRC publishes corporate material.  Since the move, GOV.UK has continued to evolve, and at a fearsome pace.  See Neil Williams’s recent post on the development of GOV.UK for a flavour.

I can barely remember publishing to the old HMRC site – which, for me, would typically involve filling in form and emailing it to someone!


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