It’s the New Year! We made it! I don’t know about you, but 2017 was rough for lots of folks. It seemed almost like a year of Murphy’s Law. You may be relieved to have that year in the rear-view mirror as well. How wonderful it feels to have a fresh start, both personally and professionally! It’s time to evaluate your life and goals, and your website goals should be no different. Now that we’re nearing the end of January, let’s make sure those website goals are in line with what you need.
Whether it’s a professional website or solely a blog (or a combination of the two), evaluating your website from time to time is a must. This is the perfect time of year to do it. Making resolutions for your blog or website at the new year is a great way to start analyzing website goals and how you are going to meet them.
5 Steps to Making and Meeting Website Goals
1. Align with Business/Organizational Goals
When I meet with a new client, I rarely discuss their website before I ask about their goals. Not just their website goals. These are the goals for the entire business or organization. It is only after understanding their short and long term goals that I begin discussing the website itself. Your website should directly advance your organization’s goals. I create a plan for the website goals that aligns itself with the organizational goals. Otherwise, what’s the point?
2. Be Specific
You’ve probably heard this advice in relation to personal goals. Broad resolutions and goals don’t work. How many times have you broadly resolved to “lose weight” and failed? Now, if you make a specific, measurable resolution like “go to the gym 3 times a week”, you’ll probably have more success. Not only is it a goal, but it’s one that has a plan built in. Will there be weeks you don’t go three times? Probably. But you have a goal and a plan to meet it. Sure, the larger goal is to lose weight, but you’ve given yourself something specific to DO about it.
Website goals are exactly the same way. If your goal is to “Start Blogging”, that’s great. HOW are you going to do that? “Blog at least twice a month” is a more measurable, specific goal. Don’t just resolve to drive more traffic to your website. Craft a specific statement that will achieve that result.
3. Be Honest
The new year is a very introspective time. People are looking inside themselves and deciding where they need improvement. This is not the time for denial or justification. You have to be honest with yourself. The same holds true with your website. If you’re not honest, however, you’re not the only one losing out. In many cases, your customers or supporters lose out too. This is the time to take an honest look at your website and decide what needs improvement. Is it user friendly? Can visitors find pertinent information quickly and easily? What do you want people to be able to do or achieve from your site? All of these questions require honest answers before you can realistically set website goals.
4. Get Feedback
You probably are so used to looking at your site that you don’t even see it anymore. It’s kind of like that big area on the ceiling where the pipe burst and we hadn’t painted yet. It’s like a giant cloud of drywall mud. Attractive, right? We didn’t even notice it anymore. When visitors came for the first time, their eyes were drawn right to it. That’s when I would think “Yeah, we really need to have this painted…”. It took someone else noticing the imperfection to draw my attention back to it.
For this reason, you need to have someone (or more than one someone) look at your website and give real, honest feedback. Your eyes are no longer reliable where this is concerned. Find someone you’d trust to go bathing suit shopping with you and be honest. Ok, that was more an analogy for us female persons, but you get the idea. Fresh eyes are the key.
5. Ask For Help
If the whole thing is beyond you and you don’t have time to deal with it, that’s ok. It may be time to ask for help. A professional website designer or developer may be just what you need. Even if it’s just for a consultation or for some direction, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Many, including myself, offer free consultation about your site. In those cases, you have nothing to lose and may realize you have much to gain. If business is good, you’re probably too busy to worry about your site and need to be free to do your thing. That’s when outsourcing your website may be just what you need. If nothing else, a professional can offer that “fresh set of eyes” I mentioned before.
Whether it’s just time for freshening up or for a brand new site, this is the perfect time to evaluate your website and how it’s doing. So work on meeting and keeping those website goals, and keep swimming along!