Goals are the backbone of your website, and they should be the backbone of your web design. User experience is the practice of comparing a user’s interaction with your website versus the intention you desire for that user. Not enough web designers utilize strategy in their design decisions for a client, and not enough clients understand websites enough to even ask. Yet, it is vitally important to the success of your business to create SMART goals for your website.
What are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are used all over the place, not just for websites. You can make SMART goals for your business, your sales team, heck, even your life! SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example, “earn money through my website” is a goal but not a SMART goal. It isn’t measurable, time-based, or specific.
Good examples of SMART goals for your website are:
- “in the next three months, collect 15 leads for consulting through the form on the consulting page”
- “in the next six months, sell 200 books”
- “in the next three months, raise $10,000 in donations”
See the difference between the vague “I want to earn more money” versus the SMART “in the next three months….I want to accomplish X”?
Why have goals for my website?
The reason why a business should set goals for the website goes back to one of the first things I encouraged you to do: think of your website as an employee. Employees have goals and metrics upon which you measure their progress and success, and so should your website. Without trackable goals, you won’t know if your website is working for you or not.
How many goals should I have for my website?
Two. One primary and one secondary. Yes, there’s some flexibility with this, but, typically, a business or non-profit will have one primary goal and one secondary for a specific period of time. Start with these boundaries and see where it takes you.
But it’s my first website…
I encourage even first-time website owners to set SMART goals. While, we don’t know what their website and corresponding marketing efforts will achieve, we can still set goals. Goals force us to track what actually happens. Goals also get us to ask what we want to happen. Finally, these initial goals help us figure out what is achievable.
So if you are building your first website, start with three-month goals. Then, you will have a benchmark for reality.
Walk me through it, please.
Be clear about the goal. You need to focus your efforts and motivate your team (and yourself).
Pro-tip: Answer the four W questions while crafting your goal.
- What do I want to accomplish through the website?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
Measure numbers. You need specific numbers to track or you won’t know if the website is successful or not.
A few of the things you could measure:
- product purchases
- form submissions
- e-newsletter subscriptions
- volunteer sign-ups
- event registrations
- blog post shares
Your first year in business with your first website probably won’t generate $1,000,000 in revenue. Yes, it’s possible, but it’s not probable. Get realistic about your goals.
- What do I need to accomplish?
- What do I want to accomplish?
The more often you set goals and track progress, the more you’ll know what’s achievable. Go ahead and push yourself to new heights, but be realistic when setting goals.
- Is the goal in line with the mission and vision of the company?
- Does it match up with the interests and constraints of your buyers/donors?
- Is it the right time?
- Does it contribute to the overall goals of the company?
Every goal must have a target date. This helps prioritize other tasks and gives a solid timeline. I recommend setting three-month goals for the website. Three months is long enough to produce change, run ads, create a new marketing campaign, but short enough to feel manageable and stay motivated.
You may find six-month goals to be more appropriate for your organization, and that’s fine. The point is to set goals and track them.
What if I don’t hit my goals?
The first question to ask is “why?” Were your goals unrealistic? Did they not get buy-in from the team? Was there no supporting plan in place? Was there not enough traffic to the site? Is there something wrong/lacking with the product or service?
With the information you collect, you can form hypotheses about what you might need to change, and then you can test them.
Set more goals and continue to monitor.
Now, you should have all the tools you need to create SMART goals for your website. Go ahead and set a primary and secondary three-month goal.
Goal creation doesn’t have to be a big, overwhelming thing. Start small, don’t overthink things, and keep going.
Talking things out can be helpful. Contact us for help with your website’s SMART goals!