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Website Purpose - Establish Purpose or Achieve Nothing

We all know you need a website.  As a small business, a website lends credibility and provides another means by which potential customers can find you.  Business owners have now realised that a website is the in-thing - you know, the bling on their pimp suits - and are splashing out small fortunes on fancy-pants web designers and developers.

What you don't know (but will know at the end of this post) is that having a website designed with no specific, defined purpose is going to get you nowhere.   It's the web design equivalent of trying to shoot a bottle cap with a shotgun, from a hundred metres away.

Why Does My Website Need a Purpose?

If a client phones us up and says, "'Yo dawg, I want a website" we say, "cool, why?" 

If you can't tell us why you need a website, you're wasting your money.  "Because we don't have one yet" is not a good enough reason, either.  If you're considering having a website designed (or you already have one but haven't done this) it's important that you sit down before you brief your designer and have a long, hard think about what you want your website to achieve:

  • Do you want to generate leads?
  • Is the purpose of your website to encourage online sales?
  • How about getting people to sign up to your newsletter?
  • Perhaps you want people to subscribe to your blog?
  • Or is your website simply meant to showcase an online portfolio?

It's usually best to make sure your purpose is focused on something involving user actions (signing up, becoming a member, contacting you, etc.). The reason for this is that user actions are measurable, and so you can gauge the effectiveness of your website and marketing efforts. 

Our website's purpose is to get visitors to request a free quotation on their design needs via our online form.  Almost everything we do on the website is focused on converting visitors on our website into leads via that online form.  Once we have managed to steer the visitor towards completing that action, that person is in our sales funnel and further efforts are then started to move them successfully through the funnel. 

Website PurposeCan you see why establishing the purpose of your website before you design the site is important?  If you know what you're trying to achieve, your web designer can design all the appropriate elements focused on achieving that specific action. 

You could have all the traffic in the world, but if your website is not helping those visitors do something, they're going to end up doing nothing instead. 

Whether you're planning on having a website designed, or whether you've already got one, now is a great time to start thinking about and defining a purpose for your site.  How is your website going to move a visitor through your sales funnel? 

Make sure that next time you phone us up and say, "Yo Dawg, I need a website" and we say, "cool, why?" you have a great answer for us!  

Have you already defined your website purpose? Do you need a bit of help doing it? Let us know in the comments!

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Mark is a co-founder of Red Giant Design Studio whose passion lies in business and entrepreneurship - more specifically the branding and marketing thereof. Mark enjoys helping other small business owners grow and market their businesses.

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