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How to set Goals for your next Website

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Having an online presence these days has never been more important. If you are thinking about designing a new business Web site or improving an existing one, make sure how to make the website more effective and successful.

The first step in the development of a website is to set your exact objectives and goals for that website, to help you develop a more successful site in the long run. However, before setting goals, you need to make sure that the goals are realistic and achievable.

When developing a website you need to find your company’s strengths and how you can use them on the web to your advantage. It is important to know why you need a website as this helps you determine the success of your website. If you are developing a website for business purposes, you should keep these goals in mind:

Identify Your Company and get Your Message across

When visitors arrive at your home page, they want to know who are you and what do you do. Your home page should clearly identify your business and describe the products and/or services you offer. Be concise. You only have a few moments to grab the attention of your visitor to get your message across.

The next thing your visitors want to know is why they should buy from you instead of your competition. Explain your competitive advantage(s), describe the advantages you offer that wins customers and brings them back to buy again.

Use your corporate logo and colors on your site, they are an important part of your brand identity and they relate your site to your other marketing materials. Use a consistent layout for your website pages; Put your logo and navigation elements at the same location on every page. This lets your visitors focus on the content of your site.

Create a Site for the Target Audience, not for Yourself

I’ve seen many beautiful sites that just didn’t fit the target audience. A ‘over-pimped’ site with pinky colors may look great for a girl’s fashion-blog, although your client may love the look, it just does not feel right for a solicitor with a professional, corporate clientele?!

Your client can give you good insight on their particular audience, who they target and what customers they reach the most. One of the most important goals for successful website development is knowing who the audience really is.

Do your research and see what other similar companies are doing. You don’t have to do the same thing, but the feel your site gives to its users should be similar. Try to get all the essential information on how to make your online business succeed.

goals

Try to make a User-Friendly and Simple Design

A great user-interface and a simple (though visually nice) design, both are equally important and should go hand in hand. A good website navigation system is essentual for a successful and accessible website design. An ideal web navigation pathway should be well structured, easy to use and intuitive.

Being consistent in your navigation is key here — place both your primary and sub-navigational links in the same spot throughout the various pages of your web site. A good navigation is key for a successful site, make sure your main navigation is placed above the page-fold.

Writing a sitemap beforehand helps to determine where pages should go and what items should be placed together. Many sites often have too large of a navigation because they didn’t plan where information would fit best. Converge the navigation, determine what’s important and throw away the rest.

Keep It Simple and Stupid: Avoid any confusion at all times, a confusing website navigation will drive visitors (read: potential buyers) away. Use scripting and graphics sparingly and intentionally. Visitors don’t return to a corporate website because of the pretty images; they return for the content.

Include Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization means designing your site in such a way you’ll rank higher on search engine search results, to do so you will need to implement search engine optimization concepts into the design of your website. Search engine placement is a long term process and requires commitment to build unique content (text that people want to read) and quality links to your site. Your success should be the acquisition of new potential leads or customers through the website.

Provide Your Clients with extra information

Clients know their company better than you; listen to them outline the structure of the organization, its history and strategic direction. Take their advice on their industry, listen to what they say about their products or services. As a webdesigner you know how to organize the information in the most practical manner while keeping the characteristics of web users in mind.

On the other hand, coach your clients on items that are important for them to know and help them understand why they don’t need certain things that may seem cool, like a flash intro to their site, a cool javascript-effect as navigation or too much features/apps.

When designing a webshop, don’t make visitors search for a way to buy from you. The site should present the opportunity to order right up front, and the rest of the site should reinforce the desire to buy from you. People like to buy from someone they know, so tell them about yourself. Communicate your personality and expertience.

Conclusion

It is vital that you know what kind of website you are going to make; Is your website for informational purposes only, or will it be an online retail store? Or will it simply be a marketing tool to help you thrust your business to new heights of success? These are important questions to ask yourself and specific goals to set before you can develop a successful website.

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The points mentioned above are general goals for website design. If you think I forgot a important goal, please feel free to write a comment.

 

Author: Jan Rajtoral

Jan Rajtoral AKA Gonzo the Great is the Founder of and Designer at gonzodesign, providing design services across the full spectrum of Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Print and Advertising Design & Website Design.

17 comments

on this article: “How to set Goals for your next Website”
  1. Hi RC Sailboat Guide,

    Thank you for your comment, .. I haven’t heard about the marketing book?

    But I will make sure to check that one out, so thanks for the link! ;-P

    Cheers & Ciao ..

  2. Hi Son,

    .. exactly, my dear friend! That’s why the navigation must be simple (and stupid), everybody should know what to do when seeing the navigation!

    Thanks for making a valid remark, Cheers & Ciao ..

  3. Hi Kathy,

    In my personal opinion giving feedback or writing comments on someone’s post/article/whatever is the main reason blogs are developed and are being used ;-P

    Post in your blog about your projects or the progress, if you want some comments or feedback? Or post your projects on social networks like Flickr, Facebook, Behance, Forrst or Dribbble. It’s just a thought?

    Your portfolio should stay clean and focus only on your projects (see also: General Tips for Your Online PortfolioPosted: April 27, 2010)

    Thanks for your comment, much appreciated! Cheers & Ciao …

  4. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your comment, much appreciated!

    I do agree with you that SEO is important to focus on, but .. try NOT to write your content for the robots/spiders from the search engines!

    Keep your content personal and write for humans not robots!

    Cheers & Ciao …

  5. Hi Kathy,

    You also should think, before you design a site, how you want to maintain/update the website (more services/products or projects), .. true, so true! To think about the practical aspects of your site on the long run, is also very smart, cause a website is never completed in 1 time!

    User feedback is essentual when you are designing a blogging site, not that essentual (I think) when designing an online portfolio?

    Cheers for your comment, Ciao …