Setting goals for a website makes building or renovating it much, much easier. The decisions made by the designers and developers will become clear when the objective is followed. Imagine you go to a restaurant and ask the server to choose what you will eat. You may be disappointed by what food ends up on your plate and how much the bill is for. Although they can help with experienced guidance, the choices of what is needed should not be made by the website agency alone. A good collaborative effort between your agency’s experience and your own goes a long way to developing a presence that is cohesive and effective.
If you don’t have a goal, you will never know if you have succeeded. A measurable objective should answer the questions of what, how much, and when. Even if your goal is clear, you still have to choose a target. The amount of visitors to your site will obviously be very important, especially in the beginning. But as you progress, you can add other objectives. For example, a goal to gain 100 new subscribers per month, get 20 new organic contacts within the next 3 months, or sell 10% more products by the end of the year are all measurable benchmarks from which to determine success.
Websites are meant to be living and breathing. Unlike billboards, once you establish the creative and pop it up alongside the highway, changes are either a nonstarter or expensive. Making small, incremental changes to your website can further your goals. When you do make an addition or change to your site, have a clear and specific intention so you can know if your change gives the results you want. The time you put on your site will be better used because you will only change what will bring you closer to your goals. By taking a little time to measure your results, you will have a clearer idea of what works and what does not.
Mapping the Flow
Users don’t just immediately jump to your website and perform the actions you want. Setting up a desired path sequence can lead the visitors through your site so they will more likely accomplish the goals you set.
In order to design the best possible user flow, you need to understand the visitor and his or her motivations. What needs or desires do your visitors have? What do they deem important and what are they emotionally attracted to? Why do they need your services and what will it take to propel them towards an action?
Creating a website catered to your user is critically important to activating them and moving them along their buying journey.
Focus on the interaction between your website and the user. Each page gives an opportunity to converse with the user and have them react to it. As each stage of this conversation progresses, it is important to show something the user will want to interact with and influence what the user sees next.
For example, a hotel wants to increase the amount of booking from their website. They may decide to entice the user to action based on an emotional response. They promote their lush amenities including a luxury spa attracting the user to more detailed pages. During this exploration phase, the website will fill the wants and impress the reasons the user needs their product. At this point the website should present a booking form and encourage the user to take action.
Measure, Observe and Improve
To make the user flow really work for boosting conversions, you must base it on customer behavior. Use actual customer research to determine the tasks that customers want to perform, what matters to them and why. User testing will help you understand them better and how they actually use the site. It will help you identify user stumbling blocks and flow tangents.
Remember, once a website launches, it is not done. It should be an ever evolving communication tool between you and your customer. Building it on a framework of user goals will ensure a more successful tool and less need for it to need adaption in the future. A clear set of objectives makes a website the best it can be.