Creating a good website is important to many small businesses. Most of us don’t have a physical shop front or impressive office to catch people’s attention and so a website, alongside our social media business pages are what we have to rely on.
To make sure your website is working hard for your business, I highly recommend setting some goals to help keep you focussed on what your website is aiming to do and to give you something to evaluate its success against.
Before you set those goals, have a think about some of the following questions:
What are you trying to achieve?
As with any content, your first goal needs to focus on what you are trying to achieve with your website. If you put the money, time and effort in to creating one, then you want it to show results.
So, think about what is the primary aim of your website – is it simply to advertise what you do? Is it to encourage people to make contact?
If you are selling products via your website then think about how best this will be achieved…with ease, simplicity and, importantly, secure payments.
What are the main things to exhibit?
Many businesses have a lot to offer…whether that is a number of services or a selection of products.
Depending on the number of pages (which is something else to decide) you need to think what do you want ‘front and centre’ , i.e. on your homepage and on your main navigation menu.
Consider which things are most likely to catch people’s attention, as well as what they are most likely to be looking for.
Most people will give a website seconds to review it. If they can’t find what they are looking for or nothing catches their attention, they will ‘hit’ back and go to the next ‘results page’ item. There is a reason we call it ‘surfing the internet’ – people do at speed and are happy to criss cross back and forwards!
What do you want people to do?
As well as getting people to notice things about your business, you want visitors to stay as long as possible and ‘do’ something with the information.
The length of a visit is really important for ‘search engine optimisation’. The longer someone stays browsing your content the better it is.
Therefore, think about what you want people to do. What areas do you want them to explore? Think about the ‘customer’s journey’ and how this might work as they ‘travel’ through your webpages.
Consider also your main calls to action – at lots of different points – these can be getting visitors to:
- contact you to find out more
- visit you (if you do have a shop or office)
- sign up to a newsletter
- follow a blog.
How are you going to make your website a ‘good experience’?
Good user experience and navigation are vitally important. We know how annoying it is if a website takes ages to load or there are broken links or you find it difficult to find what you are looking for.
A simple menu is important, but think about the menu titles (and therefore page titles) – would it be suitable to make them more eye catching/funny/informal. Importantly though, are they clear to help navigation and is the ‘order’ correct?
Who do you want to visit?
Nailing down your target audience is really important. Is your website specifically for a certain segment of your clientele or are you going to have different sections for different audiences? For example, suppliers and customers; organisations and individuals; teachers and students.
This is fine to do, but you need to make sure everything is clear and obvious as to what is aimed at whom.
How often do you want people to visit?
As mentioned, a key role of most websites is to advertise a business and what they do. However garnering this information could be a ‘one visit’ job, so think about how you are going to get clients and loyal customers to revisit.
Are you going to write a blog? Are you going to offer website specific offers? Are you going to regularly exhibit latest works or projects?
Now, set actual goals
Grab a pen and paper and answer all of the questions above. Now draw up 4 or 5 goals for your website. Make them SMART. This means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Importantly have a quantitative goal, something like number of visitors in the first 3 months …you need to look at stats, number of visits, etc. You don’t have to be a statistical genius but if you are paying for a website it is useful to know if people are visiting it at all…and then, importantly, to see if changes and edits you make help drive traffic. Keep a note of when you mention your website on a social media post or in a newsletter and take look to see if visits and clicks increase in your website on the same day or the next day. See if changes to images, text or the addition of a blog post also have a positive affect.
Once you have set some goals, decide a time when you are going to reassess them and evaluate whether you have met any of them. And when you do, set some more!
Your website – the window to your business
Finally, make sure you create something you are proud of. Take the time to source high quality images, write great content and make the navigation and user experience the best it can be.
I am very happy to help with writing great content for your website. I love visiting websites, checking out innovative templates and being a ‘first time visitor’. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.