In order to be most successful, your business doesn’t just need a website—you need a website catered to your specific goals and needs. And in order to make this happen, it’s crucial that you’re precise about what those goals and needs are. Do you know what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts? Does your website have a defined purpose?

If you’re unsure of your site’s specific goals and need help sorting them out and developing a site strategy to generate a real return on investment (ROI), this post is for you.

Why Your Website Needs Purpose

Before any discussion of determining a website’s purpose, it’s important to understand why it matters. Why does your company website need a goal?

  • Establishing Purpose Is the First Step in Accomplishing It: You can pour a lot of time and money into your website, but how will you know if it’s doing any good? By establishing a specific purpose and goal, you make it easier to measure performance and clearer to know how to move forward. So say you’re the company behind a GPS truck tracking system—when you set your purpose as enhancing your brand, you immediately have a better idea of what tasks and strategies to employ.
  • Focuses Your Efforts: When you know what your goal is, you have a better idea of how to reach it. Defining your purpose instantly focuses your efforts, revealing what tasks will actually move you towards success and which aren’t necessary.
  • Clarifies Your Message to Visitors: Without a defined purpose, a website can be in real danger of online multiple personality disorder. In other words, it’s always moving in a new direction, always taking on some new gimmick or strategy, and in the process, leaving visitors stumped as to what it’s supposed to be telling them. When you strategize ways to address a particular purpose, however, you refine your messaging and become clearer to your audience.

How to Determine Your Purpose

Once you know your website needs a purpose, how do you go about finding what yours is? Here are some specific ways to narrow it down!

  1. Ask: It seems simple, but asking yourself why your website exists is a valuable step in determining its purpose. Why do you have a website? What are you trying to accomplish? What would mean success?
  2. Specify: Say you want to have a website to boost business. What does that mean? Do you want to bring in new leads? Make more sales? Strengthen your image to potential clients?
  3. Consider Possibilities: Even within the business realm, there are many different reasons for websites. Sometimes a company will focus on just one goal; other times, several. Which one(s) applies to what you’re trying to accomplish?
  • Establish Authority: With a powerful online presence, a company can establish itself as a leader in its field, the resource that comes up early in search results online and a source of trustworthy information that meets the felt needs of clients. Blogging is helpful in this approach as it allows you to routinely publish new content in a way that’s engaging and connects with readers.
  • Enhance Brand Awareness: Some companies create websites primarily to get the word out about their brand and to amplify their other marketing efforts. In these cases, it’s crucial that the website match other company materials in terms of style and tone, and it’s also important that the name and logo be front and center.
  • Lead Generation: Websites can be valuable tools for collecting information from visitors, making it possible to keep marketing to them long after they’ve come to the site.
  • Direct Sales: Kind of like a live catalog, many retail and e-commerce sites revolve around some sort of online ordering system wherein visitors are able to make purchases directly through the website. Whether you’re selling educational materials or industrial-strength high heat welding gloves, this approach can cut costs by eliminating middlemen, paper, etc., as it streamlines the selling process.
  • Customer Support/Education: Websites can be power customer service tools, connecting clients with direct links to troubleshooting guides, frequently asked questions and live chat with support staff. Likewise, some companies use their websites to provide in-depth information or resources in an easy, user-friendly format.

What to Do with Your Purpose

Once you’ve established a clear, specific purpose for your website, you’re on track to create a site strategy that will deliver real results. Here’s how:

  • Let Your Goals Determine Your Actions: Let your website purpose determine everything you’re doing online. Is it your goal to bring in new leads? Focus on ways to attract targeted visitors to your site through SEO and other online marketing tools. Are you looking to enhance your brand? Use design and content that will reinforce users’ perceptions of you. Whatever you’re looking to accomplish, look for specific tasks aligned with that goal.
  • Break Goals down into Smaller Goals: Sometimes the overarching purpose of your site feels overwhelming but can be really manageable when broken into smaller chunks. If you’re looking to increase online sales, what needs to happen: a revamping of your ecommerce platform? Better product descriptions? A more user-friendly shopping cart? Then break those objectives into smaller ones.
  • Regularly Monitor and Adjust: As you put your strategy into place, continually track the success and failure of your actions. Do this with the mini-goals as well as the general ones. Then, as you see something’s not working, adjust until it is.
  • Enlist the Help of Marketing Experts: A marketing company can provide considerable help in evaluating your website’s success and failure, as well as practical advice on how to fix and improve your design, resources, content and more. If you’re serious about helping your website put its best possible foot forward, enlist the help of experts in the field!

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