When designing and building a website it is tempting to go straight to the fun parts of website design, figuring out the creative and functionality.
Before this, one of the first things you need to do is determine how it fits into your business model. A model is not static and should improve overtime. By adding a website, your processes will change and therefore influence your model for the better. This of course, all depends on the goals and objectives of your website, and your business.
Not having goals is like going for a drive in a car without knowing the direction and your destination. You will just keep driving aimlessly hoping you will get somewhere while wasting your time and investment in your car and fuel.
The goals for the website need to be clear and achievable. Ideally, they work best if they follow S.M.A.R.T rules:
Need to be clear and specific so you can focus your efforts and be motivated to achieve it.
Can be defined, tested, measured, and compared with older results.
Needs to be realistic and attainable.
Does it matter to the business and does it align to other goals.
Does it have a target date so you have a deadline to work towards.
Most topics for your website goals will be geared around marketing and sales. Therefore knowing how your prospects become clients or customers will significantly influence the purpose and objectives of your website.
Here are some common website goals and objectives for small businesses and organizations and why they are important:
Establish Creditability and Expertise
Many companies sales come from existing relationships and referrals from past clients or customers. When a prospect hears about a business for the first time which offers a product or service they are interested in, they typically will want to gather more information. The easiest way to do this is perform a search on the internet for the businesses website.
A website for this type of visitor needs to promote the company and foster confidence and trust in the business. The website needs to show professionalism and expertise in the industry. One way to do this is by publishing informative articles that educate your visitors. This not only brings in website traffic but helps to show why the business is an industry leader.
When creditability and expertise are achieved, the prospect will most likely then convert into a client or customer by completing the websites call to action (like reaching out and contacting the business for more information).
Generate Leads & Sales
The goal of the website may be to act as a gateway to the businesses services. A company may run ads online or through traditional media like radio and print, and point their target audience to visit their website for more information. When the prospect visits the website you can educate them on the products and services you offer and how they will solve their problems.
Landing pages and Call to Action pathways (or sales funnels) can be used to steer prospects to take that next step and convert into a customer or client. This can happen either right on the website with a purchase through the websites online store or by reaching out to the business directly by phone or email.
Brand Awareness & Manage Reputation
A website is a good way for businesses to increase the awareness of their brand and help manage their online reputation. Increased prominence in the search results by concentrating on search engine optimization of the website promotes brand recognition and gives the impression that the business is foremost in its industry. Having your business search result appear before others about your business also allows you to better control the narrative and reputation of the company.
Adding testimonials or portfolio items on the website gives social proof that your business is successful and has many happy clients. Recommending what review services prospects can use to see others comments on the business also helps as it shows other proof from a trusted third party service like Google, Yelp, Clutch, or UpCity.
For nonprofit organizations, websites also becomes a recruiting tool to find volunteers and donors. Just like with Generating Leads and Sales, the purpose of the website is to educate the prospects and motivate them into action.
Automating & Streamlining Processes
A website can save the business time. With the right software and integrations the website can automate certain processes freeing up employees time to be used elsewhere. It can be as simple as automating your newsletter to let the website handle adding and deleting subscribers, to complex systems like a website that allows online ordering for a restaurant.