Set a Clear Goal

Nothing's more important for web site success than this commandment:

Have a clear goal!

After all, that's the key to success in anything!

Consider making two goals clear:

Your goal

Your goal for the site may be stated clearly in your site slogan. But probably not – if the site slogan suggests a goal at all, it's likely the goal you intend a visitor to achieve.

How about your goal? Why are you making the site? If it's "just to blog" or "just to post my best Land of the Lost fan fic stories", then a goal-achievement guide isn't necessary. Post some blog entries or a couple Will & Holly tales, and that's it – "goal" accomplished.

But that's not really all you're after, is it?

More meaningful goals for a site can be anything. Such as:

  • Generate revenue
  • Build and lead an online community
  • Make info on a charity available online
  • Create an online portfolio for artwork

Make it specific

For many goals, the above still isn't enough. Get more specific:

  • Generate revenue from site advertising and associate services
  • Build and lead an online community centered around a forum and user-submitted photos
  • Make info from all current print brochures of a charity, plus annual letter, available online

Make it measurable

Still not good enough for some purposes. If progress can in any way be measured, make that part of the goal:

  • Generate $1,000 per month from site advertising and associate services
  • Build and lead an online community centered around a forum and user-submitted photos, with 300 active members in first year

The more specific the goal, the better the odds of success!

Get to the root

Ask whether you're really getting to the root goal. "Be a resource for chess players" isn't very specific. "Be a resource for new chess players looking to find teachers" is better. "Be the #1 resource within 2 years, for new chess players looking to find teachers" is better yet, though still lacking in measurability. "Be the #1 resource, defined by largest member community, within 2 years, for new chess players looking to find teachers" is getting very nicely specific and measurable, leaving only some work to do on what competitors you'll measure yourself against.

But... why do you want to build this #1 resource? To sell ads? Promote a side service? Just scratch a hobbyist itch?

To really make things clear, pin down your real goal, and separate that from strategies to get you there. An example:

Goal

  • Generate $1000 per month from site

Strategies to get there

  • Income from site advertising
  • Income from associate services
  • Forum to build community
  • ...

Go from there, fleshing out the strategies in detail.

Goal for visitors

Consider your visitors' goals. Those may not match yours; "Help Ernie Schmidt achieve $1000 per month revenue with his website" is not on many persons' minds as a goal. 

Visitors' goals might be something like these:

  • Read interesting news
  • Be entertained by games and puzzles
  • Find great bargains
  • Chat with fellow hobbyists

Have a clear picture of what visitors will want to get from the site, and make sure your goal is compatible with theirs.

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