3 Questions for Creating Successful Goal-Oriented Web Sites

Goal-oriented web sites start by asking these 3 questions

Create a goal-oriented web sites starts by asking yourself these 3 questions

So you’ve decided to build a web site to represent your business. That’s awesome, but before you can build a web site you need to figure out where this web site is going to fit into your overall business plan. It’s true that your business has already set the theme of your web site, but knowing what you are selling is only the first step. Now you have to find out who is buying the products or services that you sell and you need to understand how this audience makes purchases. Once you know the answers to these two questions, then you can decide what job to assign to your website. Maybe it’s going to capture leads for you to follow up on to bulk up your sales. Maybe it’s going to convert leads into sales. Or maybe you aren’t selling anything at all, and you merely want to create a hub that informs and educates your audience. Knowing the purpose of your website will give you the insight that you need to build a successful website. Here are 3 questions for creating goal-oriented web sites.

Question 1: Who is your audience and what are their goals?

One of the earliest questions I ask about any web project is “Who is your web site for?”

Ideally, we think to ourselves, that our web sites should have something for everyone. But the reality is that your business and service is only going to profit from a very specific group of people who are looking for a very specific thing. Getting to the heart of those specific qualities is the key to making a sales conversion.

For example, let’s say that you’re a contractor who does home remodeling. That’s a big subject matter and it covers a lot of ground and you might be tempted to think your website will cater to anyone with a remodeling need. Let’s test that theory by applying a specific user example. I’ve created two user personas, Jim, and, his wife, Leslie.

Jim and Leslie are a couple who’ve been married for 14 years. Jim is a business professional with a comfortable income, and Leslie is a homemaker who works from home as a medical transcriptionist. This upper-middle-class pair of customers are looking for a bathroom remodel, and they know they want a larger spa-style bathtub, a separate stand up shower, and light-colored marble tiles.

One day Leslie stumbles across Home First Remodelers web site and is captivated by the home page’s hero image of a large white house with Roman-style columns. The exterior of the house hits all the style tones that Jim and Leslie have been looking for. They get excited, and as they dig into the web site, they find indoor shots of the same style- and they think they have found their remodeler. But as they dig deeper into the gallery of Home First Remodelers web site they notice that there are no images of kitchens or bathrooms. Our couple comes to the conclusion that there are no remodeling shots with any plumbing work whatsoever and have to make a choice…do they call you for more detail or move on?

We may be tempted to think that our users will give us the benefit of the doubt. But the reality is that if a web user doesn’t feel that you are a good fit for their needs they will simply move on. The data doesn’t lie on this issue, online shoppers will shop until they feel confident that there needs and concerns are met. By creating user personas and performing market research we can create an understanding of who we are targeting. If we’re underselling our talents, we can correct that by finding holes in our marketing plan and if we’re neglecting to be clear about our specialties then we may be making things unnecessarily harder on our users.

Question 2: How does your audience make purchases?

Now that we know who our audience is, how does our target audience make purchases? If you’re offering goods, this may be as straightforward as creating an online store and making our products available for browsing. If that’s you, then congratulations, your web site pretty much defines itself!

When you’re selling a service, though, your website might not be so obvious. In the example of Home First Remodelers, closing a sale probably happens at the end of a face-to-face meeting and submitting a written estimate of the services requested. By knowing that this is how a home remodeler makes a sale we know that the web site this company need is not an e-commerce site. This web site will need to be given a more specific job related to how the customer in its industry makes a purchase.

Question 3: How do I assign a job to my goal-oriented website?

As I mentioned, online stores are about as straightforward a job as you can give a web site. But with our example web site, Home First Remodelers, we’ve established that a store won’t do much for the company’s bottom line.

Instead, what Home First Remodelers probably needs is an online 24-hour salesman. This online salesman will be responsible for getting the customer excited for your service and then provide a means for making the introduction. This is where you need to decide how you want your potential-client to meet you. Do you want the client to call you? Send you an email? Or maybe send you an email with a detailed list of what they are looking for?

Or perhaps Home First Remodelers is looking to have a web site set up for post-service education. In this case, the sales for the remodeler are coming from other means of advertisement and they are looking to support their clients with after-care instructions and troubleshooting tips to aid in future calls for service. Or it might just be a touchpoint so that clients will know when you are running service specials. All of these are valid jobs to assign your web site, and while you may not see their revenue-generating potential these types of jobs will help to reinforce and build return customers.

The company needs to ask itself what place the web site serves in the company’s business plan.

Now that you know the answers to these questions, you are ready to build a goal-oriented web site.

Bring the answers to your questions together, and create a plan.

So now, I’ve shared with you the three questions I try to start every new web project with, and now it’s time to bring it all together for your business. The key to these three questions is knowing who your audience is and creating an avenue to communicate with them in meaningful ways.

By knowing what your audience wants and how they expect to engage with your business is the cornerstone of successful marketing. Answering these questions will tell you what features you can’t live without, prepare you for building effective copywriting, and help define your calls to action (CTA). When you know the answer to these questions you are ready to begin website planning and getting your written copy in order.

Jason Usher

Jason has been studying design and web programming for over 10 years. He's a big fan of brand-oriented design with an emphasis on value for value growth. When he is not neck-deep in market research, he enjoys photography, time with his wife and kids, and a good movie.

Leave a Comment