Clarifying Your Purpose and Creating Website Goals
Clarifying Your Purpose and Creating Website Goals
Many brands walk into website design knowing what others in their niche are doing and trying to emulate that. Unfortunately, if you copy what’s already out there for websites, the best you can hope to do is be equal to existing websites. If you want your brand to stand out and do new things, you need to go into website creation with a goal-driven mindset. Instead of setting up a website and ticking all the boxes that marketers recommend you tick, you can craft a strategy for success.
Why Do You Need to Clarify Your Website’s Purpose?
By knowing the purpose of your website, you can make decisions, create SMART goals, and make design decisions that work in your favor.
To explain this, we’ll look at two theoretical companies.
The first company is a plumbing company based in rural Maine. The purpose of their small business website would be to support their existing business, drive local search traffic to their contact information, and improve local brand awareness.
Now consider an eCommerce company that sells bathroom linens to hotel chains. The purpose of their website would be to improve national brand awareness and make sales.
Although both of these companies are in the bathroom industry, their websites have very different purposes. Once they understand the purpose of their site, they can begin to design a website that supports that purpose. For example, the plumbing company might design a website that shows a map of areas they support and they might highlight their “About” page, whereas the eCommerce company would want to make navigating their product offerings and setting up billing contracts their top priority.
How Do You Set Strong Website Goals?
Once you know your website’s purpose, you can begin setting goals. We recommend SMART Goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
Ask any website owner the goal of their website, and they’ll likely give an answer along the lines of “drive more organic traffic to my website” or “increase brand awareness” or “make more sales.” These are generic goals. Specific goals, on the other hand, point to how you’re going to do those things. Are you going to increase your social media presence? Improve newsletter open rates? Change your website’s Google rankings?
Your goal needs to be something you can measure. This helps you evaluate whether you’ve been successful. If you just say that you want to “rank higher in Google,” it’s pretty difficult to decide when you’ve accomplished that task. But if you say “I want to rank 2 spots higher in Google for X keyword,” you can determine exactly when that goal is achieved.
You want to have success in your business. So your SMART goal needs to be something you can actually achieve. Words like “best” or “number one” are rarely your friend in these cases. Look at what you’ve achieved in the past, and create a goal that is doable and that will further your business overall.
You want your overall goal to support the purpose of your website. So, for example, the plumbing company we discussed wouldn’t want to create a website goal of “selling 3% more toilet seats,” because even if they have toilet seats, the purpose of their site isn’t to sell things — it’s to improve local brand awareness.
Your goal needs a deadline. Having a hard line in the sand about when to achieve a goal lets your company know if you’re on track. If you complete a goal far in advance of your deadline, it’s a sign that you should set more ambitious goals in the future. If, on the other hand, you accomplish the goal far after the timeline you’ve given yourself, then either your goal was too ambitious or the strategies you used to accomplish your goal weren’t as successful as you were hoping for.
How Do Your Goals Impact Your Behavior?
Goals work as a roadmap for your company. Having a limited number of attainable goals helps you make decisions about your company at every step in the website process.
Let’s look at our two pretend companies again for an example.
Our plumbing company has set the goal: “We want our site to rank in one of the Top 10 spots for Google for the keyphrase ‘Maine plumbing company’ within one year.”
Based on this goal, they know that their focus should be spent on things like search engine optimization, peppering their content with local keywords, and paying attention to what competitors in their niche are doing. They might spend this year’s marketing budget on Facebook ads targeted to people who live in Maine — but they certainly wouldn’t spend this year’s budget on improving their newsletter, because that is not in service of their ultimate goal.
Now let’s consider the linen company. They set the goal: “We want to become the sole bathroom towel provider for one new hotel chain by the end of the quarter.”
Based on this SMART goal, they would spend the next quarter focusing on advertising towel packages. They might draft content that shows why it’s best to have one committed towel provider for your hotel, or they might spend time attending trade shows for hotels. But they know not to worry about localized keywords or promoting their toothpaste line right now — those tasks don’t support their SMART goal.