Today, there’s no shortage of companies selling the promise of do it yourself, easy to build websites. Even a Google search for “How to build a website” returns results supporting this narrative with posts emphasizing topics such as domains names, hosting, content platforms, and site design.
Make no mistake, these topics are important and worth every bit of time you can dedicate to them. Although important, they represent a false starting line.
What’s your foundation?
I get it. That’s the fun stuff. And we’ll get to the fun stuff, but first we need to build a foundation.
The foundation of a successful site is built upon objectives, not technical mechanics like web hosting. Without a clear objective from the start, every decision made about hosting, design, and platform are nothing more than guesses left to chance.
This oversight is among the central reasons companies find themselves “building a new website” every few years. Most troubling about this cycle is, while the aesthetic design of the site improves, the business results of the site remains stagnant.
Websites rarely drive business results without a clearly defined purpose. Driving business results requires asking the essential question of what do you want your website to do?
A Good Objevtice
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but your answer must include two things.
First, your answer must align with a business objective. That objective could be anything from increasing CRM contacts to selling more products, or virtually anything in between.
The second component your answer must have is a measurement. This measurement should align with your stated business objective, not a web metric like number of hits. If your business objective if to increase CRM contacts, your measurement might align with the number of email newsletter signups. If your objective is sales driven, your metric might be to drive website lead form completions.
Whatever your objective, your measurement should align with it.
How you define those two simple, yet all to frequently overlooked elements, is the foundation of your website. Think of it as a mission statement.
Building Upon a Solid Foundation
All decisions related to your website should be weighed against this website mission statement. In the simplest of terms, this mission statement is the measuring stick all decisions should be measured against. Ideas that support that mission statement should be explored. On the other hand, ideas that do not directly support that mission should be discarded.
With this foundational information, you can effectively plan your website to achieve a specific business purpose. Without this insight, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself relaunching your website, again, in a few years.