Website goals are required to assure a successful website – Lessons from my January 9th Class

Summary: Many of the website packages that get sold don’t work. Some website design companies do not hesitate to sell you a failing website and leave you with a dud. How can you protect yourself? Before you spend money on a website, you must set goals outlining exactly what your website must accomplish. You can not expect your website design company to build you a site that works without your guidance.

I typically start all of my classes with some conversation about why students are attending. I was very happy to meet Mary at my class on January 9th. We conversed for several minutes, and one topic was particularly interesting. She has been looking at the website solutions being sold to businesses, and she asked me, “Does that stuff really work?”

I smiled, because it is an excellent observation. No. Most websites don’t work. If they did, I would not need have been interested in helping business owners improve their websites.

However, I want to point out that all the blame can not go to the website design vendors. Too often, companies asking for a website have no real idea what their website should accomplish beyond saying, “My website should help generate sales.”

This is true, a good website should help generate sales. But how this is accomplished for each company is going to be vastly different. Most web site designers have limited industry specific knowledge. Therefore, the company requesting the website must provide many of the deepest insights as to what makes a successful website design for their specific company.

How can your company do this? You must clearly identify the goals of your website, and hold your website designer to these goals.

What are good goals and what are bad goals? Let us examine…

Good goals: A good goal ties directly to customer’s needs and differentiates your company from your competitor.

  1. My website should answer the top questions my customers will ask.
  2. The homepage should unambiguously state what my company does.
  3. My website should be clearly organized and each page should be uncluttered.
  4. My website should contain industry and product specific information demonstrating my expertise and explaining my products and my services.
  5. The text on my website should contain all of my critical keywords at least once so that Google can index them.
  6. My website should contain all of the properly formated Title, Keyword, Description, and Heading tags that Google uses.

Bad goals: A bad goal is one that is prone to different points of view, highly subjective, and does nothing to differentiate you from your competitors. For example, goals such as…

  1. My website should look attractive. One man’s beauty is another’s ugliness.
  2. My website should be easy to use. That all depends on what you consider easy to use.
  3. My website should turn up high in Google. This is easier said than done. Your focus should be to have all the appropriate HTML tags used for your website and make sure your site text contains your critical keywords.

Before you spend money on your website, please identify the key goals for your website. Once you have identified these key goals you will be able to provide more productive feedback to your web designer. If you are designing the website in-house, specific goals will help you guide your own designs more accurately.

By planning well in advance, and outlining specific goals for your website, you will make sure that the money you spend on your website is money well spent. You will also help your designer to give you a website that is going to work.