Start with S.M.A.R.T. goals for website design and development
When you begin a website project, whether it’s a brand new site for a business or organization or a refresh of an existing site, you will have lots of decisions to make. When you find yourself at a crossroads of potential directions, excited about possibility and overwhelmed by the road ahead, always start with your values and lean on them to develop clear goals.
Clear goals align teams
Clear goals not only drive design decisions but they unify a team. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals (aka S.M.A.R.T. Goals) help reign in all the possible messages, actions, and design options at your disposal during a website project.
How else will you measure your return on your investment?
Or know what to focus on if you don’t start with clear goals?
Get more people to our website is not clear enough.
Neither is get the word out.
It sounds silly to call out these obviously vague goals, but when you aren’t a website designer yourself, it can be easy to think that a website is just a visual representation instead of a powerful connection opportunity between you and your audience.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Here are some examples of SMART goals:
- Reduce manual data entry by 50% this fiscal year by integrating CRM functionality
- Increase monthly page views to 10k before our Fall programming starts
- Get 100 new business prospects this quarter with an impressive lead magnet
- Increase online donations by 50% next year
Get clear and actionable advice about how to set up a website project for success with our free (and beautiful) resource.
But, can I have a bunch of goals?
We’re glad you asked.
Short answer: technically, yes.
But remember, you are up against a lack of attention and the clutter of messages that we experience in our digital world of information overload.
Break through with clarity.
Try to think of your website as a tool refined to do one or two things really well instead of a Swiss Army Knife that does a bit of everything just ok.
Sure, you can use a Swiss Army Knife to open a bottle of wine but few would elect to mangle their Vinho Verde if there was a better option.
If you need website visitors to take a specific action in order for you to meet your goals, then make it super clear that this action can be completed easily on your website.
Effective websites inspire action
This is why your website needs a primary call to action. This doesn’t mean your website can only accomplish one goal. But there should be a clear primary action you want your website visitors to take.
If you inspire your website visitor but they don’t know how to respond, then you’ve lost them.
Imagine you are selling your car and you don’t put a sign on the car in your driveway with a phone number and a clear intent to sell.
Without the sign, you are expecting your neighbors to take a huge leap of faith to risk trespassing and awkwardness to walk onto your property, kick the tires, and make an offer. (We don’t recommend doing this.)
Make it clear what you want people to do. And how they can take action.
Sure, some people will fish around the site to take action, but most people will just move on. Make it clear what people can do and how that action benefits them.
For example, if event registrations are your key indicator of success, then feature a clear call to action for your visitors to register for an event.
Pair a Primary Call to Action with a Secondary Call to Action
You can also feature a secondary call to action for visitors who are interested but not quite ready to commit to making a purchase or taking direct action.
For example, if your primary call to action is “Register” for an event, your secondary call to action might be “View Calendar” so your visitors can get a sense of all the events you offer. Do your job well and there’s a good chance they’ll know where to go the next time they want to go to an event like the ones you offer.
If the primary call to action is like an official dinner and movie date night, then consider the secondary call to action as an initial chat to get to know each other.
How do you know what Calls to Action to feature on your site?
It starts with setting goals that emerge from your values. And you can’t set goals without knowing who you need to reach to meet your goals—your audience—and what they want and need. This is why it’s important to know your audience and how you create the positive change you want to see in the world together.
If your values are clear and they are aligned with what your audience cares about, then they will see how your success helps advance your shared values in the world.
We are here to help
We’ve collaborated with many businesses and organizations to complete successful website projects. We know the difficulties. We understand the stresses. And we know what it takes to make a plan that leads to success.
We are sharing a comprehensive and helpful guide with checklists, key questions, and insight so you have everything, well almost everything, you need to develop a winning website plan that saves you time, money, and unnecessary frustration so that you get a beautiful and effective website—a website that makes it abundantly clear to website visitors that you understand their wants and needs (empathy) and that you are capable and experiences to get help them solve a problem (credibility).
A Successful Plan Helps You Succeed
And a successful website inspires action and sparks change.
Not only will a thoughtful plan help you save time and money, but it will make the experience more enjoyable for you as well.
We love designing websites and building brands for businesses and organizations. It can be a really fun and rewarding experience. It just requires taking the time at the beginning of the project to know who you are communicating to, what you want them to do, and what capacity you and your team have to invest in a powerful tool that can deliver a game-changing return on investment.
Need help designing your website?
Let’s talk. We’ve helped many people in your shoes.