If you have your own business or are heavily involved/invested in a small business, then you need a website, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. With so much business and communication happening online, you simply can’t afford not to.
However, because websites can accomplish so much as well as the sheer amount of choices you have in how a site is put together, it’s important that you define exactly what you want the site to accomplish for your business. Because that’s the trick: you need a website today, but you need to nail down what it’s to be used for.
Determining your target audience is an important step in defining web design goals
In order to better define these goals, ask yourself the following questions:
What Is Your Target Audience?
Right off the bat, this is the most important question to start with. Your website needs to appeal to the kind of people who are most likely to use your services or buy your products. So, put simply, your target audience is synonymous with your clientele. Your web design needs to reflect this.
What’s The Website’s Main Purpose?
If you own a business that sells a line of products, then clearly your website’s main purpose is to show these products and make it easy for users to purchase them. On the other hand, if you’re a consultant of some sort, or a professional who offers a particular service, the website needs to showcase who you are, what you’ve done, and what you can do.
There’s also the possibility that you want your website to be more of an entertainment portal or information resource center; a place to raise awareness, with the prospect of acquiring customers being strictly a secondary matter.
In each of these examples, the goal is different, so you need to have a plan that shows where the website fits in to your business plan and what kind of customer it’s geared towards.
Are The Design Goals Realistic?
Conventional wisdom (and well-intentioned motivational posters) tell us to aim high, but there’s a difference between optimism-fueled confidence and “no longer on speaking terms with Mister Reality”. If you’re a contractor and you want your website to increase your business, then perhaps shooting for a 25% boost in your clients gained via the site is reasonable. But of course, if you’re going to have goals like this, you need to ask yourself …
What’s The Timeframe?
A major push for customers, increased sales, or more website hits needs to be framed within a certain period of time; it can’t be indefinite. Like the goals themselves, the timeframe needs to be in sync with reality. In the above example of the contractor, perhaps saying “I want to see a 25% increase in jobs via online customers within the next quarter” would be a reasonable goal.
How Will You Know If You Succeeded?
That means that you need to establish parameters for defining success. Let’s say that you are putting together a website in order “to boost sales”. That’s great, but what constitutes sales being boosted? How much of an increase in sales does your business need to experience before you can announce that the goal has been met?
Learn As You Go
As things unfold, you can make adjustments to your goals based on trial and error. Experience is a good teacher. The best way to learn how to create (and meet) good goals is by making it a frequent practice. If you want to try tackling web design on your own, then check out these great web design resources.