Your business website can't be successful without a plan. Before you launch, you need to have a clear and focused vision of what you want visitors to do. This way, you can create a plan for you and any service providers you hire to follow. How do you develop a plan? You start with setting goals.
Business website goals are statements about what you want visitors to do, the experience you want them to have and the accomplishments you want to achieve. Just like you can't increase your income without a goal, you can't build a successful website without a goal in mind.
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a business website. Your goals are going to differ based on the nature of your business, the type of marketing you're doing and your overall business goals.
It all comes down to asking one basic question – what do you want your website to do for you?
Here are a five different common website goals that you can use in developing your own plan:
You want to establish your expertise – Everyone “Googles” a company or service provider before they buy. What are your potential customers finding when they are searching for your name or company? If your goal is to make a great impression with potential clients or contacts that you've already made, you'll want to make sure that your site has a clear brand identity and displays that you are an expert at what you do – focus on the specific problems you solve and how.
You want to educate your audience – If your business involves something highly technical or not easily understood, you'll want to make sure there's an educational component to your website. Consider adding helpful articles, resource guides, checklists and other assets to educate your potential clients and build your credibility.
You want to gather leads – If your main goal is to gather leads to nurture and sell to later on, you'll want to design your website so it is easy to connect with each person who stops by. You can give away a free report or resource guide in exchange for your prospects' email address and name. Then you'll want to set up an automated follow-up system to stay in touch and build the relationship.
You want to sell products or services directly – Selling directly from your site, rather than having a consultation with a client, means that you'll need an e-commerce platform with a shopping cart to make ordering easy. You'll want clear descriptions of your products or service packages. Put all of the focus benefits and results your offerings create and you'll boost your sales potential.
You want to build your social media followers – Creating more connections on social media can lead to more sales. If this is your goal for your business – to gather lots of pre-qualified followers and build a relationship with them over time – you can use your website to encourage visitors to clickthrough to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Most business websites have one specific goal, but yours may have a combination of the above. Review your options, decide which goals are best for your website and make any changes you need to in order to transform your website and increase your profits.