Setting Clear and Useful Goals for your Website

This post covers how to go about Setting Goals for your website and more importantly how to make them “clear and useful“!

If you are like most people then you are probably thinking that you have goal setting down and are pretty clear on how to set goals. Well that is probably correct. The issue is are you applying the same principles to your business website scoping / planning process and the ongoing management of your website?

An easy way to answer this is to think about your monthly performance meetings for your site/s.  How many times do you review statistics and information and discuss it based around your goals?

Like many of us you may well probably get caught up in how many leads or sales it generated at a high level but not necessarily did it meet the goals you set.

Some of you might we wondering why goal setting is up front in the process. Well imagine building out an entire website plan or scope and getting it quoted and approved only to realise you had completely missed something business critical. It happens. It is so easy to get caught up in the technology or design discussions that the core of what you are aiming to achieve is overlooked.

Many times people forget to outline the specific goal and generalise what they want.

“We need a more modern look for our company” is a design and feeling based statement but not a goal that means anything tangible to the business.

Imagine coming to me as your Car Broker and asking me to get you a car in the next two weeks for a very important event. You tell me you want it with less than a set number of kms on the clock and it should be red or white. You even suggest you quite like 2 or 3 types of vehicles. I go and rent you a vehicle that matches these specification, that you agree like the look of and have it sitting outside your office for you on the agreed date.

I leave the keys at reception for you and feel like i fulfilled my part of this deal. Then you ring me all upset telling me the car is not going to work properly because the reason you needed it was to get 7 people to an event all together.

That Mini I got you doesn’t work for the actual specifics of what you needed it to achieve.

The missing piece – what your actual goal and need for it was.

Take a listen to the video and think about your goals.

Here is the website-goals template.

If you haven’t read Part 1 you can here: You can write a better website scope.


Welcome to part two in the series on How to Write a Better Scope for Your Website or App.

In the previous post we laid the ground work of why the scope is really important, and there is also a video about thinking about how you cost out websites and apps as well. Hopefully you’ve had a look at those.

In this video we’re going to talk specifically about one of the most important parts of the scope, and that’s goals, and why the goals are so very important to getting a great scope.

So you might think you know everything about goals. In other areas of your life and in business you might have great goal setting regimens. We want to touch on these very quickly today, go through them, and give some guidance on why they’re so important and how you include them in your scope.

So why goals? Stephen Covey talked about beginning with the end in mind, and that’s pretty much what we’re talking about here.

The goal for your site is the destination that your scope will be the roadmap for. Without a destination you might as well just get in the car and drive. That probably makes you like 80% or 90% of people rolling out websites. They have loose goals, they just need a website. They need to get something fulfilled and they tick those boxes and move on. We’re not going to be like them.

The goals that we want to set here are going to help us stay really focused on what matters as far as the whole development and build process that will come later. So that’s why I want you to listen and focus on the goal.

There are only a limited number of goals that you can use in reality in the website; there are not 50 different types. So in general terms the types are sales, enquiries or leads, calls as you want to generate clicked calls or phone calls, sign ups or other forms of positive engagement. So that might be a download of an e-book, it might be sign up for a newsletter, a sign up for a product, or a webinar.

There’s a whole raft of positive engagement experiences that could go on on a website that might lead to future conversions, but they can be a significant goal. Traffic – less people are so concerned about generating raw random unqualified traffic these days, but maybe that’s a goal and this isn’t about telling you what your goals should be, it’s about helping identify goals and set them.

There are other types of goals, but these are the primary goals that you’re likely to be thinking about when scoping your website. For the exercise I want you to pick just one primary goal, and this is really, really important. Later on when we have to make some critical decisions in the development and design phases of the site and defining a scope, there can be conflicts, there can be issues that compete. So we need a hierarchy of goals that are most important to our business objectives that we are focusing on.

You can have a couple of other sub-goals, and when we go through the exercise, the template that I’ll give you allows you to do that. Obviously you can write as many as you want, but I really want you to focus on what these are and really nail down that primary goal. If I want to generate more sales then that’s what we want to focus on, and then there might be some other parts of the process that lead to that that we know, and we’ll get to those.

This is a hugely important part of the communication for the team that you are going to be working with. Everyone from copywriters to designers and developers, picking that primary goal and being able to identify it will really improve your processes.

Get specific. All goals are like this.

Not increase sales but a thousand sales of a certain product, or a thousand sales across all our products with an average spend of $150.

I want you to break down your goals into something much more specific like this. Unless there’s a really special need, we don’t want all the focus on a low margin accessory rather than the primary product that we want to sell.

So you really need to think about what goal and what specific goal matters more than others. Use some research if you really have got it. If you really know a lot about previous interactions on your site, what sells better, what you think should sell better, what your competitors are selling, use that knowledge.

Go look at your statistics, but get really realistic about these goals. It’s much easier to go from ten sales to twenty than ten to a hundred. So set something that’s achievable, but also within your goals of your business.

Let’s not get way, way out there unless it’s a two or three-year stretch goal. Make sure that they’re measurable, because that’s how we’re going to validate this whole process, both to your boss or the budgeting process. However we’re going to work on it we need to be able to say, look, we did this, we achieved that. Write them down. There’s a template that I’ve provided that you can use.

You can use your own documents, but if we’re going to be writing a scope, recording the information is really, really critical. So what we want to do is a really simple step, defining this, putting them on paper, but it’s really, really important about what comes next.

So quickly to recap, get really specific about what your new site needs to achieve. What is the goal? Have a primary goal. Use two other secondary goals, maximum. Set very specific measurable targets for them that are both realistic and important and write them down. That’s it.

We’ve covered the goals and that’s all we need to know right now. Download the documents. You can see it below the video in the attached post. Then in the next series we’ll be talking about site architecture and how we draft the blueprints for what the site will turn to. I really appreciate you listening.

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See our “Complete Guide to Website Planning“. A Free Online guide to help you set goals and plan your next website

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