Setting Measurable Goals for your Website

Is your website successful? Yes? No? How do you know? Have you considered that question at all?

When we start talking to a potential client about their new website, I always ask them two initial questions:

  1. What do you want the user to do when they come to your website?
  2. How will you know if they’ve done it?

And for a lot of people getting started with their first website, these are questions they aren’t sure how to answer or had never considered. Their answer is typically, “I want people to see what I offer.” And that’s true, you do want people to do that. But the goal shouldn’t be to just “see” what you offer, you want them to buy in, to take the next step. We need a goal we can measure. And while we can measure the number of people who visit your website, and we can measure the number of pages they view, the point is lost if that person doesn’t become your customer.

We’re here to help you figure out the answers to those two questions, choose a measurable goal, so you know if your website is working for you. In order to know if your website is doing what you want it to do, you need to have goals. What is it you want the person who lands on your website to do? This can be easy, such as if you are selling mugs and your goal is to get people to buy mugs. You know if they are buying mugs because you will get orders.

Not only will you know if your website is working if orders start rolling in, but you can also use analytics data to see what percentage of your site visitors are actually buying your products. Then you can use that data to figure out what’s not working and what is working so you can make adjustments to increase sales. Tracking sales and seeing results in that way is easy….

But what if your goal isn’t to sell something? How do you measure that?

Think about what you want from the user. Do you want them to hire you to clean their carpet? Wash their windows? Make them a website? If you offer a service, then the most common measurable goal is a form submission. That way, you can measure the number of times that form is submitted, you can compare it to the number of people who visit the site, the number of page views, and learn what’s working and what’s not working. This goal is lead generation, getting people to fill out a form. The reason is that we can track how many people land on your site and then fill out the form.

What about phone calls? What if what you want are people to call you? This is a measurable goal as well, but it’s a bit more complicated to measure and can be expensive depending on what method you choose. Of course, you can always ask people how they heard about you when you answer the phone, but there are also call tracking programs you can get that will track visitors from your website to your phone. Those aren’t free though, so something to consider when deciding how important that data is for you. I’m a big fan of data, and being able to use that data to make meaningful choices to help businesses.

Website GoalsWhat if you don’t want people to contact you? 

Sometimes, making a sale or a getting a lead for a service isn’t the goal. You might have a blog that you write and the goal is to generate traffic so you can sell ads on your site. Your goal is to get more traffic so you can have more people click on the ads. In this case, you would measure your goal in the traffic you get to your website and you would do that using a tool like Google Analytics to measure the number of visitors, the length of time on the site, the number of pages they view, and even more in depth information about your visitors, such as age, gender, and location,

You have to have proof  to your advertisers that your site is getting traffic if you want to sell ads. If you want to make money at AdWords, you need more people to generate clicks on those ads. If nobody clicks on those ads, you won’t make any money.

Other measurable goals:

Subscriptions: You may be looking to get subscribers to your newsletter, so your measurable goal would be the number of people who subscribe to your newsletter.

Downloads: If you offer any kind of downloads, free PDFs for whatever you may want people to read, then your goal would be to get those downloaded, so it’s important to track your downloads too. Using a plugin like Download Monitor will allow you to track the number of downloads. You can also track downloads in Google Analytics but it takes a little configuration to do. (I’ll cover that in another blog post.)

Get Followers: Your goal may be to use your website to increase your social media following, so knowing the number of your visitors including the number of people who

It’s so important to figure out how to know if your website is working for you. If you don’t have a specific, measurable goal for your website, how will you know if it’s working? How will you know if you should make changes? What’s the point of having a website if it’s not helping you? Your website is no longer a set it and forget it thing. Over 80% of customers will do online research before making a decision. Knowing how your website is performing is vital to using it to get results.

Need help with how to measure your online goals? Let’s talk more about your website.

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Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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