Planning Your Business’s Website like a Pro: Primary Goals
There is no more important aspect of your website creation than the planning of your primary goals. A great design, quality coding, and good SEO won’t mean anything if the user doesn’t know what to do on the site. Thinking through and setting your priorities can mean the difference between sinking money into a useless site or having a highly effective marketing tool providing high ROI (Return on Investment).
You can either work through the list below on your own, or you can contact a web developer to help guide you in through this process. A good developer, like a good workout coach, can provide insight into your website’s goals and the most effective way of achieving them.
Listing All Possible Goals
Deciding on your website’s goals might seem at first glance to be an obvious and basic step to website creation. However, you’ll probably find that your first response is a plethora of options: you want them to sign up for your newsletter, go to your physical store, call you, email you, shop for a product, leave a comment on a post, sign up for a club, and the list goes on.
People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.
So to get started, write a list of everything you want a user to do when they visit your site. This could include items like visiting more than one page, downloading a white paper, sharing an article on their social media, or reading the entire page of content.
Now that you have a list, look through it and mark which items will provide the best ROI for your company. If you have a users who comment on your posts frequently, but no one calls you for business, then despite a great community building setup, you aren’t getting any return on investment. Unless you have a way of monetizing this or your return on investment isn’t money, you’ll want to focus on a different website goal.
Keep in mind that your top priority might not be what you’re currently advertising or the largest part of your business. During this process you might find that your business would improve financially by highlighting a service you didn’t previously highlight. Or you might find that your focus is wrong: are you focusing on page views when your business only grows when users contact you?
Let’s take a look at an example:
Truxton’s American Bistro recently went through a re-design with White Fox Creative. On their old website, they had a slideshow at the top that provided 3 Call to Actions (CTAs) in succession. The first was for joining their online “club” for getting discounts, their second was for advertising their full bar, and their third advertised their new specials.
After talking through their website’s goals, we came up with a slightly different list: sign up for the bistro club, rent a private room for parties, and hire them for catering. But upon further discovery, they realized that their number one goal was to bring potential customers into one of the actual restaurant locations. The primary way customers decided to visit their restaurant was after they looked at the menu.
Now, instead of having 3 call to actions in a rotating cycle (statistics show these are highly ineffective at driving user actions), we now have one call to action leading them directly to the menu. As you move down the page, we highlight the Bistro Club and the catering. You can view their new website here.
When sorting your website goals, the end result should be a numbered list – with your most important goal at Number 1. Keep this list handy through the rest of the planning of your site to make sure you stay on track.
Translating Priorities to CTAs
Now that you know what you want people to do on your site, in order of importance, you’ll need to create “Call to Actions”.
Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.
Call to Actions, or CTAs, are the way you tell the user what to do on a page. For example, if you want to have them sign up for a newsletter, you could write “Sign up for my newsletter!” or “Get Free Tips and Tricks about …” or “Be the smartest person in your office”. Each style of CTA appeals to a different type of person with their own set of goals.
A priority for your business might stay the same for many months or even years, but the way you entice a user to do that action will change.
Questions to ask for creating effective CTAs:
Who is Your Audience / Ideal Customer? You want to customize your Call to Action based on your audience. If your audience is a younger millennial, you’ll phrase it differently than if your ideal customer is a 50 year old expert in the industry. Make sure your writing style, while reflecting your brand, also matches your ideal customer’s expertise level.
Take time to delve deeply into their motivations and your Call to Actions will be far more convincing.
What is their motivation / What are they motivated by? Perhaps the most important thing you can understand about your audience is why they come to your site. Go deeper than the initial “they want to find a good recipe” or “they’re looking for a fill in the blank“. Why are they looking for that specific thing? People don’t visit recipe sites to find good recipes, they visit them to be seen as a good mother/father; or because they’re concerned about their children’s or their health; or because they want to be admired by their neighbors at the annual neighborhood BBQ. Take time to delve deeply into their motivations and your Call to Actions will be far more convincing.
Should you include an image in this CTA? it can include a person: smiling /reading /concentrating /talking /laughing. Or only the product you’re selling. What emotion is that image supposed to invoke in the person viewing it? Images are powerful. They can radically change your CTA and the resulting conversion rate.
An example of the power of CTA Images – Barack Obama’s Campaign
When Barack Obama was running for President, he utilized some developers/designers/UI experts to help him with raising money. On the page asking people to give to his campaign (the goal), he put the form on one side and an image on the other.
They tried out several different images including him looking at the camera, smiling, not smiling, and looking at the form itself. They found that when he was looking at the form, the conversion rate (or number of people giving money) increased about 10%. In fact, over the course of the campaign, the team working on his CTAs managed to increase the conversion rate by 49% total, leading to millions more donated to his campaign.
Your initial CTAs can be good, but you’ll never know if they’re the best unless you try out variations. A/B testing is a technique used by experts to test multiple variations of CTAs. There are two different ways of doing A/B testing.
But first, let’s define conversion rate and calculate your website’s current conversion rate. Conversion rate is the number of people doing the action you want them to do / divided by / the number of people visiting the page or seeing the CTA. For example:
80 people clicked the button
6000 people saw the button or visited the page
So your conversion rate is 80 / 6000 = .013 = 1.3% conversion rate.
You should generally aim at a conversion rate around 5%. However, a harder action like buying a product, will lead to lower conversion rates; easier actions, like sharing on social media or liking a page, can lead to much higher conversion rates.
At the end of the day, your goal is to increase your conversion rate. If you increase it, you’ve succeeded.
Over the course of 20 months, the [Obama Digital Team] executed about 500 A/B tests that increased donation conversions by 49% and sign-up conversions by 161%.
There are two way of running A/B tests:
The Poor Man’s A/B. You’ll want to start with a baseline CTA. Consider carefully the options available and come up with the first one you want to try. Depending on how large your audience is, you’ll need to leave this CTA in place for long enough to get enough information on how effective it is. Now tweak the CTA slightly or use a completely different one – your choice! Leave this one up for the same time or number of users and check out the conversion rate.
The Standard A/B. In this setup, your developer will use coding to show a CTA to 1/2 the people visiting the page, and a different CTA to the other half. After a significant amount of time, check out your conversion rates. Whichever one is better, keep that one and start your A/B tests again.
You can run more than two at the same time, though most people default to the two options for website tests.
Review Your Progress
While setting your primary goals for the next year can have a huge effect on your business, the most effective goals are revisited throughout the year. Start with a monthly review; but as you’re tracking CTAs and working through A/B Testing, a check every week or bi-weekly can be far more effective.
Ideally, this process of watching and reviewing your website’s progress should be handed off to your business’s website developer. If you’re looking for someone to handle it for your company, reach out to White Fox Creative at 661-306-4443 to see if we’d be a good fit for your company.
Happy New Year!