Website goals & objectives, why they are important and how to set useful ones

I am going to assume that you either have a website or you are planning to build one since you are here reading this blog post.

If I were to now ask you ‘Do you want your website to be really great?’,  I think I can also assume the answer will be yes. The problem is that a great website can mean many different things to different people.

I often meet small business owners who tell me about their websites after they find out what I do for a living. They tell me about how they spent a heap of money engaging a local designer and how happy they are with their site. It looks fantastic, their designer worked really hard getting it to match their vision and brand and it uses all the latest technology. Some of you may be thinking, that is what I’m after, I’d be happy too.

The problem comes about when I ask them what the main objective of their website is. The usual reply, ‘What do you mean? My business just needs to have a website. Everyone has one.’  To be honest, I’ve worked with really large companies (with million dollar turn overs) who have answered the same way so don’t feel bad if you also don’t have any defined yet.


“Begin with the end in mind”
Stephen Covey


Why you need goals and objectives

Running a website without objectives and goals is a bit like getting into your car and driving to an unknown destination without a map. You will just drift along, using up fuel and may not arrive anywhere in particular.

Without having clear goals that are measurable you will not be able to determine if your website is successful and that your investment of time and money has been worthwhile.


Goals help you to stay focused on what matters and will guide every decision.


You need to record your goals. Those who write their goals down accomplish more than those that don’t.
Have you ever tried to lose weight? I have on occasion tried to budge an extra few kgs. Every time I have used an app to track what I eat and how much I exercise I achieve far more results than when I haven’t. There is something about writing things down that makes you more accountable. Print them out and put them up on your wall!!

I have created a downloadable workbook so that you can record your goals. Download it now and fill it out as you go.


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I’m now going to walk you through the questions that I ask when I first start working with someone on a new website or a rebuild. The same questions apply if you are a multi million dollar company or a small business building your very first website. I don’t ask any questions about logos, graphics, content or technical platforms until these ones are answered.


1. What is your website’s main objective?

You need to be really clear on what the single purpose of your website is. There may be secondary objectives but you need a single primary objective.

To help you work out what this is you need to answer this question.

If a website visitor could only do one thing when visiting your website, what would you want them to do?

Some examples:

  • View the services page and book an appointment
  • Buy a product
  • Sign up to my free challenge
  • Join my email list
  • Follow my Facebook page
  • Understand my company and what we are about

Record the following:

  1. The main action you want someone to take on your website before they leave


2. What are your website goals?

Having a clear objective is great, but we now need to define our SMART goals. A goal is not useful if it is vague, generic and can’t be measured.  Only you can determine the right goals for you and your website and they should help to achieve your main business objective.


Smart Goals

S – Specific – It needs to be specific so you can work out how to achieve it

M – Measurable – This is the only way to track progress

A – Attainable – It should be achievable and realistic

R – Relevant – Should match the priorities of your business

T – Timely – It needs to be achievable within a specific timeframe


Examples of SMART Goals:

  • Get 10 new inquiries every month for the next 6 months
  • Increase my online revenue by 20% in the next 6 months
  • Increase the sales of product X online by 20% in the next quarter
  • Add 500 new subscribers to my email list in the next 3 months
  • Increase the amount of the average order by 15% in the next 6 months.


Note: You might notice that I didn’t include increase website traffic in this list. This was intentional as the amount of traffic your website receives isn’t really relevant if the majority of those visitors are not taking action on your website or are not your target audience. Having a goal to increase sales or signups is a lot more relevant. Increasing traffic to your site may be an action you use to achieve your goals though.


Record the following:

  1. Your SMART Goals  (Be careful not to set too many at once)
  2. Ideas for how you can achieve each goal
  3. How and when you will review and measure each one


3. What are the goals of your online visitors?

We still have one more group of goals left. These are the goals of the people visiting your website. It is important to understand who your ideal users are and what they are looking for on your website. You may have more than one type of user so you will need to think of the goals of each type as they will most likely be different.

These goals are crucial to developing the structure of your site, what functionality you require and the information you need to provide.

To help you understand what these are, you need to really understand your users.

If you already have an established business, this will be easier. You may be able to send out surveys or perhaps you receive emails or phone calls from people requesting features or information.

If you have a new business you may need to put yourself in the shoes of a visitor to your website. Think about the reasons they may have visited your website.

User goals examples:

  • Look up your business phone number and address
  • Look up your opening hours or postage rates
  • Find a product, read information about it, decide if it is right and then purchase it easily
  • Find up to date relevant information as quickly as possible
  • Enter information and know that it will be secure
  • Get a quote for a service or express interest
  • Submit an application (for a job, to become a wholesaler etc)
  • Sign up to receive regular newsletters
  • Get support (through online chat, form or by phone)

Record the following:

  1. Who are your main visitor groups (Eg. First time visitor, Return visitor, Wholesaler, Media)
  2. For each group, what actions would they want to perform on your website
  3. For each group, what information would they be seeking


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I would love to know – when you had your website built, were you asked by the developer/designer what your goals and objectives were for the site before you discussed the look, layout and technical platform?
Have you since analysed your data and gone back to your goals to measure the success of your website?


Now that you have your goals and objectives all clear, you need to make sure you can measure them. Without data you can not know if your marketing efforts and website strategy is effective. Check out this article to make sure you have everything set up to track your website visitors. Beginners guide to Google Analytics.

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