The website design process can help you solve business problems, but first you must know what they are. Without problems to solve and goals to measure, you’ll never know whether your website is benefitting your business.
But what is a “business problem”? And how do you go about setting goals the right way? Let’s start by looking at some examples of things people usually say when I ask them about their website goals:
- “I need to drive traffic”
- “I want to show up on Google”
- “My competitor’s website looks cool, I want one that looks cooler”
- “I need a website because it’s expected for a business to have one these days”
The problem is, none of these tell us what the actual problem is we need to solve.
What is the change you want your website to create for your business? Getting clear about what you want your website to do for you will more than likely just take some slight tweaking in how you think about it.
Avoid tactical thinking
To illustrate what I mean by tactical thinking, here’s an example: “I need a website for my new book so I can be found on Google.”
But do you? Getting visibility on Google is a tactic for being found online. We’ve all heard how important SEO is, so we assume that’s what we need. But ranking high on Google for competitive keywords is very difficult and costly, and it’s more important for certain types of businesses than others. If you’re an author, being visible on Amazon or Goodreads may be more important because that’s where people do their research when they’re trying to find their next book to read.
So a better way to frame the business problem would be, “I need to reach new customers who are looking for their next book.”
You don’t need to be a copycat
Copycat thinking is something most people do, it’s super easy to get caught up and even become overwhelmed by it. Marketers bombard us with messages about what we “need” and “should be doing” every day:
You need to be on every social media channel and posting consistently. You should be blogging. You’ll never grow your business unless you build a mailing list. The most effective way to create a platform is to host a Facebook group. All you have to do is post 37,000 times a day on Twitter.
What you don’t need is to copy what other people are doing. Too many people make the mistake of putting the cart before the horse, and that’s a huge reason why we get so overwhelmed thinking about how to market our businesses online.
Come back to your business problem and work on setting great goals. The “how we achieve this goal” comes next in the process.
How to frame your business problems and set good goals for your website
The goals you set for your website should be measurable, actionable, and focused on the end result rather than the tactics used to achieve them. Start with your business problem and then frame it as a goal.
Here are some examples:
The business problem: I don’t have enough clients
The website goal: To generate leads
The business problem: People don’t know my business exists
The website goal: To raise awareness about my business
The business problem: People have a hard time understanding my product/service
The website goal: To communicate what my business does/sells so it’s easy to understand
The business problem: Formatting, printing, and mailing out my monthly newsletter is too costly
The website goal: To reduce overhead by publishing my content online