Back in the days, everyone and their dog wanted to have a website for any reason. Even just to display dog/cat photos.
But when it comes to business websites, there is investment and return involved. If you invest in the website, you expect to get a return on investment (ROI). And to get any return, your site needs to have a goal, according to which all the actions will be compared.
What is a website goal?
Basically any website can have a goal:
- inform family and friends of life happenings
- share news, thoughts and links about one's interests
- communicate with people across the globe
- have fun, entertain oneself and others
- make profit by selling information, services, software, etc
When you define the goal of your website, it should become more clear about:
- who your audience is
- what exactly you are offering
- what the benefits of your offer are
- what you need to have on your website
- where online and offline your audience roams
Ultimately, by knowing your goal, you'll be able to define the action your audience needs to perform on your website. It is the only or primary action you want your visitors to do. It can be anything:
- contacting you
- signing up for a newsletter, newspaper, magazine, etc
- downloading/buying software
- buying an ebook, article
- successfully using an online tool
- posting an article/post, commenting
- any other traceable action important both to you and your audience
How to define website goal?
As mentioned above, the site goal comes from the reason to have a website. You want the website for something? Then someone has to do something on the website. That action is your website goal.
Imagine that you can have only one action on the website. What would it be? That's your website goal. Beyond this definition, only you can define what exactly you want to do on your website or have other people do something on your website.
By defining the action you want your visitors to perform on your website, you make it incredibly easy to build your website about it, as well as to track your website and your audience progres.
How to benefit from the goal?
First of all, knowing the goal helps you define your actions you will need to do around the website:
- research your audience, market, competition
- research keywords
- structure the website
- design your website
- create content
- make the site easy to use (including accessible to people with limitations)
- promote the website
When you research the audience and the market, you see if the audience will be willing to do what you want them to do on your website.
Another important moment about having a clear goal in mind is that you'll be able to target at your audience precisely and neglect untargeted ideas, tips and whatever someone without the right knowledge will come up with.
By peeking at your competition, you check if there is anyone doing what you are going to do. If not, good. If yes, you can make your offer unique from scratch.
While researching keywords, you'll think what people using those queries were searching for and how likely they will be to complete the desired goal on your website.
The website design will depend on how the audience is succeptible to the visuals. If your target audience is women and you sell furniture or expensive clothes, you'll need a bright, fashionable website with plenty of high resolution photos. If you are targetting librarians, you might as well stick with text.
Depending on the goal, you'll create the content around it and your target audience.
Of course, making it extremely easy to complete the goal should be great. You can measure the time it takes to complete it, as well as the percentage of visitors that complete it (conversion rate).
By making your website accessible, you may also increase your customer base by 10-20% (the amount of people with disabilities in US/UK).
And, naturally, all the above, including the goal, will influence how successful you are with promoting your website, as well as the tactics you use to market it.
Just as well your site will be highly targeted and will be perceived as very useful to your audience, ultimately leading to increased conversions, whatever the conversion is.
Regardless of where you are in improving your website, having a clear goal in mind always helps.
If you don't have one (the goal, or both), investing time, efforts and money in the website will probably not pay off, unless you do it for entertainment, learning something new and other intangible personal reasons.
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