How to set website goals to accomplish the best results
Defining your website goals and objectives is the right point to start a new website design. But, when thinking about building a new website, it is tempting to jump straight to the fun parts like choosing photos or designing your homepage. You have probably already started looking at other websites for creative inspiration. Fancy features and designs should not be your priority when it comes to building your new website. There are many more important things to deal with first. The goals and objectives of your website, for example. Pretty is not a website goal.
You should align your website goals with your business goals, and especially with your marketing goals. In return, obtaining your business goals increasingly depends on the productivity of your website. Your website is an important marketing tool for your business. It serves as a virtual equivalent of your physical business for internet users. When you want to learn more about products and services you need or wish for, you usually turn to an internet search. And, you end up on some producers or sales company website. What you find there will pretty much determine whether to accept their offer. Or you will keep on searching. The same goes for your potential customers.
Your website is the cornerstone of your business. It is where people form their first impressions about your business and your offering – and it can mean the difference between someone buying from you over your competitor. Therefore, if you want to sell more, you need to create a website to help you manage it. That is the desired result you want to achieve – your broad goal.
Introduction to website goals and objectives
When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to accomplish. Think about this as the mission statement for your aim. To achieve something in business, as well as in life, you have to set your targets. You need to know that you want to run a successful company. Or that you wanna become a pilot. You need to have something that is a month, three months, or three years in front of you so that you know you are moving in the right direction.
But, the problem with having a long-term goal is that it makes it hard to decide what to do every single morning when you wake up. You can not say like: today I am working on my company success. That is just too big to swallow at once. You need to break it down into smaller, byte pieces. And that is where the science of SMART comes in.
Objectives are essentially the particular actions you can take to achieve your main goals. Typically, you would use the SMART approach to define and measure specific objectives. There might be several objectives for each of your main goals. For example, if your website goal is to build brand awareness, one objective might be to increase website organic traffic. The other one can be to increase your content sharing.
Marketing strategy is shaping your website goals
Business goals can be pointed to revenue, sales, customer service, operational efficiency, or human capital. Marketing goals usually support the revenue and sales business goals. Some may be accomplished in a shorter time. Others may take longer to get to your desired outcome.
According to HubSpot, marketing goals can be broken down into five main areas: to raise brand awareness, to generate high-quality leads, to grow or maintain industry leadership, to increase customer value, and to empower your employees to become brand ambassadors.
Your marketing goals should be closely aligned with the needs of your business. But, every business is different. For example, your company has a market to penetrate, a product to launch, or sales to maintain. Your goal could be to increase your brand awareness. You need to have your brand heard, seen, and recognized thru-out the market.
Once you have your marketing goals set, you can define the strategies, projects, and tasks needed to accomplish those goals. Many small businesses practice marketing activities based on what everyone else is doing rather than on their business needs. Marketing strategies like Facebook advertising, Google Ads, content marketing, social media, and email marketing are effective marketing strategies. But are they the right ones for your business?
Website goals framework
Translate your business and marketing goals to web-specific goals that are tangible and compelled by the realities of what your website can and cannot achieve.
For example, your business goal is to increase the revenue target by 100,000 USD in the next year. To get there, you need to set specific marketing goals. Let us say you need 250 qualified leads to convert 50 new customers within the first ten months. The marketing strategy you set to reach that goal includes several channels – social media, newspaper ads, direct mailing, sales visits, and website signups. Therefore, your website goal is to generate 100 out of 250 qualified leads needed within ten months. That means gaining ten qualified leads per month from your website.
By definition, a website goal is the desired result you want to achieve when building or redesigning your website. Your goals will vary based on your industry, products or services, and many other factors. Here are some common website goals that fit most businesses:
- Establishing brand recognition,
- Generating leads,
- Retaining clients.
Although a business website is primarily a marketing tool, your website goals are limited only by your needs and capabilities to put it into practice. For any e-commerce website, the obvious goal would be to sell products directly. Common website goals for Human Resources are to help attract and recruit new employees. They also want to help support current employees.
If your company provides support to existing customers – improving customer satisfaction through better user experience and service might be a good customer satisfaction goal for your website. Quite often, there is a possibility to optimize processes and automate tasks. Marketing automation, CRM, applicant tracking system, document, and asset management are just a few examples. Therefore, here you can find some more website goals.
How to determine website goals
A practical way to determine your website goals is to start with your business goals. Then, evaluate your marketing strategy set to achieve those business goals. It is always good to consult other departments as well. They also can find benefits from building a new website. Here are some questions to consider with your team:
- What business goals you want to support and what to improve?
- Which marketing goals can be affected by website design or redesign?
- Which departments could use the website to achieve their goals?
- How will a website help us achieve those goals?
Analyze your answers and write down the conclusions. They are your starting point for defining your website goals. It could happen that you and your team were very creative and managed to find many possible goals. In that case, evaluate the impact of each website goal on your business results. Divide your goals into immediate and stretched. Immediate goals should be attainable within a three to six-month period. Stretch goals, on the other hand, are more aspirational. To reach a stretch goal, you must put in a lot of time and effort, and even have a bit of luck.
Translating website goals into SMART objectives
The next logical question you might ask is: How can I make my website goals more actionable? Here is where objectives come into play. As we already said, objectives are measurable actions you can take to achieve your overall goals. Use the SMART approach and break your big goals into smaller, actionable pieces.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. SMART objective incorporates all of these criteria to help you focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your main goal. Let us take a look at each SMART of the criteria:
Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous.
Without defining what you are trying to achieve, it is difficult to outline the steps you need to make progress. A specific goal is one that in 10 seconds clearly explains to your web designer what you are trying to accomplish. Example: Increase the number of monthly qualified leads by 10%.
Measurable: Has specific criteria that measure your progress toward the accomplishment of the goal.
As soon as you attach a number to your goal, you will be able to track exactly how far you have come since you set the goal or how close you are to reach it. Example: Lead volume will be measured monthly as the number of CRM inputs and compared to the results we had before the website was built.
Attainable: It is possible to achieve.
Keep your goals realistic. Yes, thousands of new leads per month sounds great. But, it is unlikely to happen soon. Plus, would it be beneficial for your business if you have no enough sales force to follow that many leads, nor production capacity to deliver the orders? Example: The number of inquiries we receive by phone already presents some 5% of our monthly lead volume. If we extend our reach to the internet, it is realistic to double it in three months.
Relevant: It matching your business needs.
If you are selling your products or services, lead generation is the relevant goal for your business website. But, if you are starting the blog to earn on affiliate marketing, the number of visitors is much more important. Example: Increasing the lead volume will help meet the sales growth targets for the year.
Timely: Define the target date when this goal will be accomplished.
Without a timeline, you will not determine whether the changes you are making are keeping you on track toward achieving your ultimate goal. Setting a timeline is also key for internal alignment. When you are generating significantly more leads you will need to make sure your sales team can reach out to them. Example: We will increase the number of monthly qualified leads by 10% three months after the site is online.
As we already said, increasing leads is a common website goal. If you are looking to grow a business and increase your sales, gaining new leads is probably permanently at the top of your priorities. To archive that goal, you have to generate enough traffic to your website. Then, you have to engage your audience with relevant content. And, finally, you have to earn their submissions. Marketing qualified leads can opt-in to your mailing list, for example. Sales qualified leads can ask for an offer using the contact or order form on your website.
Here is the example of some common website objectives around the goal of gaining leads:
- Improve organic traffic by x%
- Increase referral traffic by y%
- Raise traffic from the newsletter by z%
- Improve time on site by x%
- Decrease bounce rate by y%
- Increase the number of unique website visitors by z%
Increase contact info captures:
- Improve conversions by x%
- Increase email signups by y%
- Raise contact form submissions by z%
Specific and measured objectives are the key to success, no matter what you are looking to achieve. Whether your goals are related to sales, marketing, or other business activity, using the SMART formula can help you succeed with your website.
How to measure your progress
Objectives are measurable, specific goals that you or your team needs to fulfill to achieve larger website goals. It would be difficult to determine the success of a website without using measurable parameters. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a metric used to measure and track your progress toward achieving specific goals and objectives. There is no one-fits-all answer regarding which parameters should be considered in detail. The KPIs that you should monitor on your website are dependent on what you are trying to achieve.
The number of website visitors is basic, but an important KPI. If you are tracking organic web traffic, then you will be measuring the effectiveness of your SEO. Referral traffic is a KPI that can help you understand where your web visitors are coming from, apart from organic search. The long session duration shows that the content of your website is interesting for visitors. Bounce rate shows what percentage of visitors left after visiting only one page. If many visitors immediately leave your page, this could mean they did not find what they expected.
Conversion rate is a more specific KPI. It’s a percentage of visitors who complete a desired action on your website. The desired action could be anything from completing an online form to signing up for a service or purchasing a product. Many of the website KPIs can be monitored using the free Google Analytics tool. But use it carefully and never rely on a single parameter. Just because the number of visitors is increasing does not necessarily mean that you will have more qualified leads.
Importance of setting your website goals and objectives
People often get caught up in how the website looks, and this focus overshadows how well it is performing. Here’s a simple truth: pretty isn’t a website goal. And, no matter how nicely it is designed, or how high it’s in search results, the website alone isn’t enough to drive your business results.
Tying the website back to clear marketing and business goals is critical. Too many businesses think about their website simply as a pretty brochure. In reality, a website is a tool that accelerates all other metrics throughout your business.
Your website should play a significant role in your marketing mix setup. But, just having a website is not enough. Properly setting goals anchored in business metrics ensure you’re building the right things and establishing a mindset that the website is an investment in business growth.
So, this is your chance to turn your website into marketing, sales, and service machine – so don’t rush it. If you do it right, it will pay you back much more.