Your Website’s Purpose

Your website’s purpose will help you make some of the decisions required to organize the pages of your site and measure its success. But do you know what you site’s purpose is? Think hard about what you want your website to do for you – it’s purpose in being.

I’ve touched on different types of websites, and knowing what type of site you need, but the purpose is even a deeper question.

Why Think About Purpose?

When I first started freelancing, I assumed that when a client came to me, they would know the purpose of the site they wanted created and they needed help with selecting the right way to achieve that purpose. Instead, I’ve found that so many people know they need a web presence, but don’t really know why and that leads to problems.

Why Not Just Build a Site?

Clients often come to me and ask me to build something when they don’t really have a measurable objective in mind. They think that I can build them 5 pages that look great and they’ll be set. But really, I’ve found that just can’t work.

Even though I’ll work hard at building, and my client will get a pretty site, those kinds of projects will stall. It will be nearly impossible to get content for the site. No one will know what to write! And, we won’t know how to organize the pages of the site so that we achieve some sort of success.

I’m tired of building things that don’t help my clients, and so I’m not doing it anymore. Each project I take on, from now on, has to have a plan to benefit my client. The easiest way I can do this is to do some work with clients prior to building a site to make sure we approach the project with a purpose in mind.

Questions to Help You Think About Purpose

1. At a high level, what do you want to get out of this project?

For most small businesses, in one way or another, this is going to be more money. You might say that really, you just want to promote awareness of the need for custom knit cat booties. But, then if I were to ask you why you want to spread awareness, I’d bet your answer would have something to do with selling more of those cat boots rather than general goodwill towards cats.

2. Based on how your business is set up right now, what are some ways to bring in more money from a website?

So, this is still high level, but if you agree that you want to make more money in your business, think how a website could help. This could be anything from increasing awareness of your brand/product to increasing the average online sale amount.

Ideas (and really, this is just a small few):
-increase awareness
-online portfolio
-educate potential customers
-educate/help existing customers
-gather potential customer leads
-convert leads into customers
-find potential employees (job board)
-direct potential customers to brick & mortar location
-sell services directly
-sell courses directly
-sell products directly
-online shops

3. How will you measure whether the website is achieving its purpose?

It’s easy to talk a good game about how your website is going to benefit you and your business. And once your site is built, it’s pretty easy to leave it alone and forget about it. But it’s important to measure whether it’s doing its job or not. For even the most successful site, you can’t “set it and forget it” – you’ll need to monitor and make adjustments over time.

Here are just a few metrics you can use to measure the success of your site. Use this example to come up with what makes sense for your site and business.

-If you want to increase awareness, look at traffic numbers
-If you are gathering leads, check out email subscription numbers
-If you are trying to increase sales to existing customers, look at average customer lifetime values

4. Put all of these together in a website purpose statement and use it to guide your website development.

Use this format: “Our website’s purpose is to help our business make more money through gathering potential customer leads. We will measure success by number of email subscriptions.”

What Next?

Does your website have a purpose? Is it achieving its purpose? How are you measuring its success?