It’s January and the tradition is to set New Year’s Resolutions, but I haven’t done that for years now and here’s why you should consider stopping too.
What I encourage you to do instead is to set goals, both for your small business and for yourself. While you should set year-long goals and projections like, income and sales, you also should break down your goals and have specific goals for each quarter.
Setting Website Goals
Now, let’s discuss how this applies to you and your small business. When starting the design (or re-design) process, one of the first questions I ask my clients is, “What is your goal for your website?” While it seems like an obvious or simple question, a majority of them actually have a hard time articulating this. They have considered what they as the business owner want, but they haven’t considered the most basic principle and that is, who is the target marketing and what is it that they want?
When first asked, what their website goals are, these are usually the top two answers:
- I just want a website, so people can find me online, and I can look like a “legitimate” business.
- I just want my website to look better, so I’m not embarrassed to show it to people.
Don’t get me wrong, those are certainly starting points and valid goals, but a website goal needs to go much deeper than that if you want it to do the hard work of marketing for you 24/7.
A Website is NOT Just About Looking Good
Sure, that’s a crucial part to a website that engages your potential customers, but if it doesn’t function properly, it doesn’t matter how good it looks.
What does “Function Properly” Mean?
There are some obvious answers here. For example, it loads properly across multiple devices, the links and buttons all work, and people can add things to the cart and check out (if that’s an option). But you must look at your website with your business goals in mind too.
The first step of designing a website, is setting goals for it. Part of that includes knowing your target market and appealing to them. Another part is knowing what you want your site to do and say once those eyes land on it.
Imagine someone that had never heard of your small business before landed on your website. What impression would they get? Is your messaging clear: can they quickly decipher what you offer and what you’re about? Are they taken on a customer journey that engages them from “Hello” to “take my money”?
Without you having to explain it, does it identify your business and who you serve, how you help them overcome a pain point or fulfill a certain possibility?
Every business is different, and therefore will have different goals for their website. A service provider may want a lead to book a discovery call while a product-based business may want a lead to turn into a customer by purchasing a product. But you must determine how you want visitors to your site to act, in order to design a website that facilitates that behavior.
Examples of Website Goals
Start at the very beginning. The first thing to consider is who is your ideal customer. Your goal should be to design a site that appeals to that market. Make sure you’ve started with your market research. You may consider, what are their problems that I have the solution to? What colors are they drawn to? What is the overall feeling you want your website to evoke in them?
Then, there are the obvious functionality goals. Do you want customers to be able to buy a product or schedule an appointment? Do you want to collect their email address by offering them some sort of lead magnet or incentive offer? You must first determine what the customer journey is, in order to lead them through that process, using specific calls to action.
Assessing Your Success
It’s not enough just to set your goals, of course. If you don’t take the time to assess your website’s performance against the goals you’ve set, you’re skipping a critical step.
I highly recommend, that you look over your site as a first-time visitor, but as someone who is too close to the business, and without a true fresh set of eyes, it’s easy to miss even some obvious things. You may think your messaging is clear, as it makes complete sense to you, but what about someone unfamiliar with your business?
Again, it’s important to make sure your website is functioning properly across multiple devices. What does that entail? Is your website mobile-responsive? How does it work on a large desktop, vs a small laptop, vs a phone, or a tablet?
It’s important to keep in mind your customers and where they are viewing your site. You can look up your exact analytics if you’re tracking with Google Analytics (and you SHOULD be), but on average, 50% or more of your website views will come from a phone. It’s critical to optimize your website so that users get an optimal experience, no matter their device.
This doesn’t have to be overwhelming and you don’t have to go out and beg, borrow, and steal all the devices you can get your hands on to see for yourself.
With all of these things in mind, I’ve developed a custom Website Audit, specifically to help small business owners, like you answer these questions. A two part process, the first part includes a video review of your website and its functionality. The second part is a signature checklist I designed to make sure you’re speaking to your target customers, following compliance guidelines, and I even give you notes and suggested improvements.
Is your website meeting your goals?