One of the things I really focus on when designing a website for a client is the success of their business. This is the #1 most important part of the process. After all, if your website is not bringing you any business or helping you achieve your goals, what was the point of building it?
So one of the first questions I ask folks is: what are your goals for building a website? Or in other words, what is the main thing you want people to do when they come to your website? Should they buy a product? Sign up for your mailing list? Book an appointment with you?
For many folks, this is a hard thing to pin down. They'd like the website to do several different things for them and don't want to choose which one is more important. They want people to book an appointment, sign up for their mailing list, and buy their ebook. All are important so all should get equal focus, right?
But the reality is, you only have a few moments to get people's attention when they come to your site. If they can't tell exactly what you're about and what they should be doing to work with you within the first few seconds, you're going to lose out on a lot of potential clients. People are more likely to take action if there aren't a lot of choices to choose from. Have you ever gone shopping for something and had a very hard time choosing which item to pick, because there were too many choices?
Exactly my point.
This is why you need to pick a primary goal and make that the focus of your front page, while secondary goals can be featured elsewhere on your website. Remember, too, that websites in 2015 are no longer static entities. That means the content should be updated regularly, so if your primary goal changes, no problem, just update the front page!
Once we've established your primary goal, we have to identify how we'll know if we've been successful. If we don't follow up on this, how will we know if your website is serving the purpose you built it for?
For example, if you decided your primary goal was to increase the number of bookings you get, you could ask every new client how they found out about you and what led them to book an appointment. A very simple question that should take them no longer than a few seconds to answer. If they say that they found you through your website and booked an appointment because they felt you could help them, that is a sign your website is successful.
Another primary goal small biz folks often have is to improve their search engine results. But in order to see if you've been successful, you have to track if people are finding your website through searches. One way to do this, of course, is to do the same as above: ask new clients if they found you through a google search. But another is to track your search results in software such as Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. If you're using WordPress, there are good plugins that integrate these services for you, such as those by Yoast. Other options include Jetpack for WordPress, or the fantastic services by GoSquared, which are free for websites that get smaller amounts of traffic.
Have you been tracking the success of your website? Use any tools I haven't mentioned? Let me know in the comments!