Why Do You Really Want (or Need) a Website?
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Knowing the goals, intent, and purpose of your website before building it will help you reach your business goals and attract the right customers for your business needs.
One of the most important steps in setting up a website is to understand your end goal. What purpose will your website serve? What tangible results would you like to see? What do you need to run a functional business online?
Without goals, there is no roadmap, and without a roadmap, you’re likely to end up going nowhere in particular. Understanding your business goals will help shape how your site is built, what you will need, and how to implement it. A website is a business strategy, and for it to work it needs to circle back to your business goals.
Defining Your Business Goals
Your business needs goals — whether you are a new business or a well-established business — and these goals will vary depending on where you are in your growth. New businesses might focus more on building brand awareness, a business that has been up and running for some time might focus on generating leads and increasing revenue, and well-established businesses might focus on expanding into new markets, new audience segments (target market), or creating new products.
Business goals define what you (or your business) aims to achieve in a set period of time. By definition, company goals are company-specific and mean different things for different businesses, meaning they may apply to the company as a whole or just a specific area of the company (ie: customer acquisition, sales growth, organization, employee leadership, etc). Business generally outline these goals in a business plan that serves as the roadmap to success (this means that all decisions: marketing, objectives, strategies, etc.) should be linked back to these goals — including your website.
Creating Website Goals
Think of your website as a marketing channel as a part of a larger whole, its just one piece of the pie. Your website needs web-specific goals based on your business and marketing goals so that you can reach your long term goals. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART).
So what are website goals?
Website goals are specific actions you want a visitor to take on your website (before they leave).
How do I set website goals?
Start with your business goals and work backward.
Take a look at your business goals, what do you need to achieve those goals? (Ie: if your business goal is to increase revenue, what will it take to do that? Selling more products? Improving your management of customer relationships? Adding new online courses? Etc.)
Then consider, what actions do you need someone to take on your website in order to achieve those goals? (Fill out a submission form, purchase a product, etc.)
And finally, what do you need to do to make this possible? (Add submission forms, promote products, add a CRM, etc.)
Define Your Target Audience
Once you understand what your website needs to meet your goals, it is essential to begin considering what your ideal customer needs. In the same way that your business is not for everyone, your website is not for everyone. By considering your target market’s: goals, sources of information, demographics, challenges, and pain points, and their browsing habits you can begin to lay the foundation for attracting the right customer for your business.
Goals & Values
Our decisions are motivated by our goals and values. Your customer’s goals and values should be the main focus of your website and ultimately shape the content used to motivate your audience. To identify their goals and values, consider these two ideas:
What is my customer trying to accomplish (goals)
What is most crucial to them (values)?
Sources of Information
Consider where your audience gets their information, is it Facebook? Instagram? Do they prefer in-person events like classes or conferences? What online content to they read (ie: specific blogs, subscriptions, media outlets, etc)? Do they follow influencers (who do they look up to? Who do they consider thought leaders? Where are these influencers delivering their information?)?
These are facts about your ideal target market and they often include:
But you can get as elaborate as you would like including psychological traits, everyday activities, their background, and more.
Challenges & Pain Points
Everyone has pain points, everyone has challenges they are looking to overcome, by identifying your ideal customer’s frustrations will help you understand why they should use your business or purchase your product.
Do your customers use their desktop computers to browse? Are they an Apple user or Android? Do they browse at home, at work, on the train, or elsewhere? This will help you understand when and where users will see your content. By understanding their browsing habits you will be able to ensure that you are reaching your target audience in the most effective way possible to meet your business goals.