What is the purpose of your website? Have you ever thought about it? In today’s digital world every business knows that a website is important. Sadly, few actually take the time to really define it’s purpose. Certainly we all know that having a website is smart and intuitively we know that it helps us connect with customers.
But have you ever actually defined a specific purpose for your website with specific goals that you can measure. How are you measuring it’s success? Thinking about your website as something beyond just an online brochure can set your website and your business apart from your competition. It also can ensure that your investment in a website is getting you the return you need to make the investment worthwhile.
If you are planning to build a new website or redesign your current website, it is essential that you define the website’s purpose While each business has it’s own definition for a website’s purpose, there are four basic ways that your website can be used to help communicate your message to your customers. I’ve also included some suggestions on how you can measure each goal. A website can have multiple purposes, and the best websites have clearly defined purposes for multiple goals.
A recent study by Fleishman-Hillard that the internet has become the major influencer when it comes to makeing purchasing decision. Consumers are using the internet to do more and more of their research before purchasing products and services. In fact, eighty-nine percent of consumers turn to Google, Bing or other search engines to find information on products, services or businesses prior to making a purchase.
This presents an opportunity for you to positioning your business as the expert in your field. It also helps build credibility, awareness and and more importantly trust with potential customers. A website is a powerful education tool that should be leveraged to connect directly with your customer.
How to measure: Although not a perfect barometer, the traffic to your site is positively correlated with this goal. In addition click through rates and social sharing can act as a measurement. The more content you produce that is educational in nature, the more likely your site will be indexed by the search engines which will lead to more traffic.
Page views and time on site are two more The more pages your visitors see and the longer they stay on your site, the more likely it is that they are engaged with your content.
Showcasing your brand is another way you can use your website. This can be done through the design of your site as well as through the content such as on your About Us page or your Product/Service pages. This is your time to show how your brand stands out from your competition and why you deserve to be the chosen.
How to measure: Measuring how well your site expresses your brand is typically done through the use of quantitative or qualitative research. Ultimately, you want to ask research participants how well your website expresses the attributes that define your brand. Finding the gaps in perception of your website brand and your actual brand will give you a starting point in how you can improve your website’s brand.
Your website is also a great tool for capturing leads. This can be done a few different ways:
o Through an email newsletter sign up form
o Through the Contact Us form
o By a phone call
o Through an exchange of info for a free download of an eBook or whitepaper
How to measure: If the purpose of your website is leads, then you should be measuring how many leads your website generates in whatever form that may be. This is easier said than done. To make things easier, you can set up a dedicated phone number and email address for the website which would help measure the number of leads that come through on these channels.
Many companies are using their websites for e-commerce. The purpose is sales. The trick is to build your website so that it is optimized for sales. This means that you don’t just have a site that allows people to buy online but a site that maximizes the sales potential of your site. This can only be done with an almost religious focus on the metrics to make sure every page on your site is moving your customers down the sales funnel towards the end goal of purchasing your products.
Furthermore, increasing speed and increasing response time on image assets will play a supporting role in delivering the products people want in the impatient frenetic pace that is e-commerce.
How to measure: The simple answer here is the dollar value of sales that come from your website. But, as mentioned above, an e-commerce website requires constant measurement, design flexibility and experimentation with all of the pages on your website. Make sure you define each pages’ purpose and measure accordingly.
So before you start your next website project, define your website’s purpose and set in place measurements that allow you to determine if you are meeting those goals.
This list is by no means comprehensive. Join in the conversation. Let me know in the comments below what your website purpose is and how you measure those goals.
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