SMART Website Design Goals
by Andrew Millar
Before you hire a Web Designer to update an existing website or create a new one, it is always a good idea to have a clear picture of what you expect it to do for you. Website design goals are the best way to create a plan of action and to figure out that you’re getting what you wanted in the first place. It’s okay if goals change in the process of achieving them; let’s make sure we have a record from where we began.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that has long been used by strategists to objectify the planning process and it applies very nicely to website design goals.
It stands for Specific, Measureble, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. So now let’s create a goal to see if it fits the criteria: “I want to sell 10% of our summer inventory through web-related inquiries by the end of the season.” This goal is specific in that it refers to the selling process; it is measurable by the ten per cent figure; whether it’s attainable or not depends on the specific sales history of the company; it’s relevant to seasonal sales; and it’s timely: the summer season.
So far this may seem rather simple and self-evident so let’s drill down a little further to see how these criteria apply in website design goals. When we consider the specific and measurable goal of a ten percent share of the summer sales, we need to evaluate how to get there. Do we have a history of attracting customers through an online presence? If so, do we know how much they usually spend, what kind of products they buy, do they order via telephone or e-commerce, etc. All of this information is helpful in determining how many visitors we need to attract to produce a ten per cent share in online sales. The key to understanding the visitor/buyer is to create a profile of this average personality. What are his likes and dislikes, is it a man or women, what’s their average income, are they married, with children, what do they do for fun, kind of work do they do? Rounding out this image of your ideal customer/client allows you to begin to fashion a message that speaks to their wants and desires as they relate to your products and services.
I hope that you are beginning to see that the success of your website design is very much tied into the Smartness of your objectives and that these objectives are achieved through intelligent marketing. In every marketplace, the vendor (whether it be a school, an institution, a business owner, etc.) must know his product/service and his customer/client. It is no different on the internet. He first needs to get potential customers to his stall (website) in this marketplace. These consumers will self-select themselves when they use a search engine like Google or Yahoo to search for the subject of their choice. As a vendor you want that subject matter to be part of your website so the searcher can find you among all the others providing a similar subject/ service/product.
Now that he has found your website, you want to prolong his visit by offering samples of your wares. Examples of this may be free papers offering advice, descriptions of case studies, or even consultations or audits at no cost. During this process you are developing a relationship that is building his trust in your company and its products.
As you can see, establishing SMART Website Design Goals is the framework we can use to build campaigns that create results.