Is your website fit for purpose?
By Al| 3 April 2020
What are your goals?
The first thing I ask a client when we meet to discuss a new project is, “What are your goals?”. It may sound like corporate fluff designed to make clients feel good, but it’s actually a critical question that is surprisingly overlooked a lot of the time.
Some people will come to you with a clear idea of what they’re after and why they want it, but others say things like, “Because our old website looks outdated,” or, “We only have a Facebook page”. While both of these answers may be reasons to look at a new web project, they don’t relate directly back to the business goals or strategy.
Your website needs to do more for you than just be a contact page with some pretty pictures. I recommend coming up with three key outcomes your are looking to achieve with this new web project. These goals will be different for every business and will depend heavily on what it is you do.
Here are a couple of examples of three key outcomes for very different businesses:
Mike Lane, photographer
- Website needs to serve as a lookbook showcasing previous work (this will show visitors that Mike is an experienced photographer and increase his credibility)
- Mike wants to generate leads for photography work via online booking/contact forms (using forms allows us to track leads and conversions)
- Encourage social interaction with visitor via Instagram and Facebook feeds on website. (This can help to make users feel a more personal connection, especially with smaller businesses. If users love your work they may want to share it will their friends. Turn your followers into raving fans.)
The Catcher in the Pie, cake decorating supplies
- The client currently has no inventory control and no complete catalogue of products they sell. They want the website to serve as their catalogue and stock management system (using e-commerce component).
- Website needs to increase online sales conversion by 20 sales per week.
- Client is wanting to build a contact list of customers we can communicate with regularly with news, sales and promotions.
In the above example, we have two very different businesses with two very different goals. One is service-based while the other is primarily product-based. One is looking to drive enquiries, while the other is encouraging users to buy online. Try not to get too bogged down in “how we’re going to do it” and focus instead on “what’s the end goal”.
If you’re dying to have a newsletter signup on your website, step back and ask why. What is the end goal of that newsletter? Are you doing it because everyone else does it and sounds like a good idea or is it to turn those readers into customers?
Try using the Five Whys if you’re struggling to narrow down your website goals as you might find that two very different features have the same goal. (For example, having a contact page and a booking form may both have the same goal of receiving an enquiry from a potential customer.)
Remember, at the end of the day your website needs to do more than just be a glorified Yellow Pages ad, it needs to create a return on what you’ve put into it. Thinking hard about what your business needs out of your website will help you see a return sooner.