Part of the website design process is to establish what you want your website to achieve. Once you know this, setting and monitoring the website’s objectives is key to its long term success.
By having clear objectives from the start, you can stay focussed on what the website is designed to achieve, not just what you think should be improved at a given moment.
Your goals also form the backbone of your website marketing. For example, if your website is all about getting people to download brochures, then you know that your social media campaigns, email marketing and other forms of traffic acquisition, will all need to be centred around this goal.
There are five main areas that objectives fall under, so the first step is to define what your website can offer each area.
Go through the steps above and think how the website can achieve each one. Don’t get into too much detail just yet as this will be covered when you devise a content plan later in the website planning process.
The way in which you measure objectives needs to be meaningful and not just based on visitor numbers. For your website objectives to be useful, you need to create goals that relate to each one.
These goals could then be tracked with your website analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) and / or set up as reports so that you can see if your website is achieving the desired results.
Some examples of measurable goals that you might create are:
Once you have goals in place, you can devise the tactics required to achieve the goals. Below are examples of our website goals and the tactics we employed to achieve them:
You can see that by having tactics in place, you already start to make decisions about your content plan. This in turn will influence your wireframes and ultimately your website design.
Proper planning isn’t just important when designing a website – proper planning designs your website for you!
A lot of goals, especially ones based around content and interaction, can be tracked using web analytics such as Google Analytics. Find out more about how you can improve your website performance with Google Analytics goals.
There are also other tracking tools such as heat maps and live recording that can provide even more information on how your website functions in relation to its objectives.
By defining and setting your objectives and goals you can gain valuable insights into the real performance of your website. The data you acquire will let you evaluate what is working, what isn’t, and where improvements should be made.
This approach allows you to remove subjective decisions from the evolution of your website and instead have a focused marketing tool based on informed decisions that you can back up with data and reports. So next time someone asks “how’s our website doing?”, you’ll be prepared.