(Part 3) How to Build a Smart Website:
Charting your Course

Set your worthy goal.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” —Earl Nightingale

You know goals in a business matter. Did you know that goals matter when building your website, too? Among other things, your goals will help determine the layout and navigation of your website as well as what plugins you need.

Are you looking to build an audience with your website? Are you looking to generate business? Maybe you're interested in using your website to educate a particular community. Whatever your worthy goal, keep your goal focused, measurable, and time-bound.

Goal setting for smart websites.

Your goals depend on what stage you’re at in business.

If you are just starting out, your goal might be to build your email subscriber list. Your email list (with engaged subscribers) is a critical asset. In what other medium do you have a momentarily captive audience that allows you to drive traffic to your website alone?

If you’ve already got an email list, your goals may be around building traffic, getting leads, or increasing sales for your e-Commerce store.

Withstand the temptation to have too many goals at once.

This is perhaps the most important aspect of knowing your goals: It will help you FOCUS the energy you’re putting into your website. You have a lot going on. Your website is only one of your responsibilities—you can’t do it all at once. You must ruthlessly filter your website goals down to only one or two. Then do those well.

For example, let’s say you have a focus on building your subscriber list. (Speaking of which, this is our goal right now at Magnified Web. Subscribe at the bottom of this post if this information is helpful to you!) In this case, put all your efforts into creating the best possible content and then promote and repurpose it to better meet the needs of your audience.

If your focus is traffic, you would want to spend more of your time on the search engine optimization of your site so that your audience can find you on Google.

If your focus is leads (we believe this is much easier if you’ve already built an audience), put your energies into lead magnets on your site. A lead magnet might be something like webinar sign-up, a product demo, or an eBook.

A note to the beginner:

Many experts say your goals should be set just beyond reach. But, quick wins are also psychologically appealing—especially if you are new to the game. If snagging 100 or 1000 subscribers seems overwhelming, focus on getting your first five.

Then, in 30 days, evaluate your progress and set a new goal. Once you have some quick wins under your belt, you can start shooting for bigger targets.

Make your goals specific.

Set goals that are measurable and time-bound. For example:

  • 1000 subscribers to the newsletter or blog by the end of the year.
  • 500 people will watch the introductory video on the homepage of our website
  • 30 new leads will come into our website in the next 90 days

With your goals in hand, you can start charting the course to success using your Facebook presence, SEO, or developing new content.

Have you ever set goals for your website? Is it time for you to sit down and create some goals?

This is the third post in the series, “How to build a smart website.” If you’ve missed previous posts, check out the introductory article here and scroll down to the end of to find a full list of links to the other posts.


April Mann

April Mann used to be co-owner and Digital Marketing Strategist for Magnified Web. Now she currently works at ESRI as a Web Content Specialist. Get more from April on the Magnified Web blog.

April Mann, Co-owner of Magnified Web
April Mann, Co-owner of Magnified Web

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