Strategy & Partnership

How to set effective goals and objectives for your website

Adele Button
  • 22 Aug 2017
  • 5 min read

In every aspect of our lives goals are important. Why? Because they help us to focus and achieve what we want and provide ways to measure what success looks like.

Dart hitting a target

Top performers, world-class athletes and successful people set goals. They have a vision that they work towards to get maximum results. Goals mean you are in control, and they will motivate and give you something to strive for.

Websites are no different. If you don’t have a vision and clear goals and objectives set from the get go, then it is very likely you will end up with a solution that is not fit purpose and does not achieve what you want.

Your vision and objectives should form the foundations of your website project. They should be something that are referred to throughout the project. They are also crucial if you need to build a business case and demonstrate to senior management the value it will bring.

Here I will walk you through the key steps you need to take to set out your vision and define objectives for your website project.

Define your vision statement

Your vision statement needs to be a clear, focused statement with clear intent that your team can relate to.

Your first step should be to define your vision statement. This is a high-level view of what you want to achieve with your solution - it’s primary purpose. Everything you do going forward should ultimately contribute towards your vision. Your vision statement needs to be a clear, focused statement with clear intent that your team can relate to. Ideally it should be no more than two sentences and I would recommend you keep it simple and afford buzz-words.

When defining your vision you may want to engage with various stakeholders across the business. Your website is a business solution and can impact multiple departments so it is important you don’t just think about the website from one perspective. Ultimately though the vision for your website should be aligned with your over-arching company vision and strategy and form part of your on- and offline marketing strategy.

Benchmark

Once you have a clear vision in place, it is important that you understand how your current website is performing. Before you can set realistic goals and objectives for your new website you need to know how the current one is performing. It’s good to get an understanding of where you are now compared to where you would like to be with the new site. This means you will be able to recognise what good looks like and be able to measure success more effectively.

Be SMART

Now you should be ready to set some clear goals and objectives. Your objectives will need to support your vision to ensure it will be met.

These objectives will form the framework into which your website’s requirements need to sit.

Objectives need to be measurable, and a good method for setting your website’s objectives is the SMART model. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results Orientated and Timebound.

These objectives will form the framework into which your website’s requirements need to sit. They will also give you structure to baseline go live metrics so that the required improvements can be tracked and proven when successful.

You could consider grouping your objectives into themes, for example:

  1. People 
  2. Solution
  3. Customer
  4. Process
  5. Financial
  6. Technology

Here are some other suggestions for you to consider:

  • What benefits will the solution realise?
    • Consider benefits such as time, efficiency, cost, take-up, retention
  • How does the solution fit with other online/offline marketing initiatives?
  • What does the solution aim to deliver? – think of its likely users
  • What other associated activities/systems/processes will benefit from the introduction of this solution?
  • What offline activities/processes are required to dovetail into this solution? – you can create some objectives around these too so you have a holistic set of objectives.

To make the objectives measurable, consider:

  • What does success look like – first off, mid-term, long-term?
    • What will the solution have achieved – 6-months post-live, 2 years, 5 years?
      • If you have an ecommerce website consider uptake in conversion rates, transaction rates, sector revenue or maybe basket size
      • Search ranking will have increased by y
      • Time on site will have increased by x
      • What kind of customer take up are you aiming for?

Below is a simple template that you can use for your objectives.

Ref. By doing this activity We will achieve this outcome/benefit Which we can measure using this metric
1 Improving the customer/user journey during the checkout process We will decrease our bounce rate, increase our basket size, better profile our range/brand/offering

By x% in the first xxx

By £x in the first xxx

2 Attract and recruit new employees We will make the application process simple and intuitive increasing the number of applicants per role  By x% in the first xxx
3 Attract new customers We will increase traffic by improving our organic search rankings By x% in the first xxx

How we work?

Setting goals and objectives can be a tough process but you don’t have to go it alone. As your digital partner, we would be involved from the beginning of the process to help you to define your objectives using our established Ridgeway Delivery Framework.

Once you have SMART objectives we will work with you to prioritise requirements that dovetail into specific metrics which in turn dovetail into the objectives that have been defined to meet your vision.

This means your requirements will be focused and fit for purpose which ultimately means you will end up with a solution that meets your needs and delivers the desired results.

If you have a digital project you would like some advice on or want to discuss get in touch.

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