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How to Make Great Website Goals

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This post is part of the Website Foundation Series. To keep following along, subscribe to our newsletter or rss feed.

I’ve prepared a visual presentation to accompany this post.
You can view it above or download the pdf here.

In my last post, I covered why setting goals for your website is important and how to start thinking about the most important question of all: why does your website exist? The most fascinating answer I’ve received to this so far is, “To tell the world I exist too“.

Now, we’re going to look at different types of goals and how to evaluate if they’re worth keeping for your business.

Soft vs. Hard Goals

In my last post I mentioned that not all goals need to be measurable to be effective. However, they’re a good start if you need solid evidence that you’re moving in the right direction. From this point on, I will refer to qualitative goals that are not measurable as “soft” goals and quantitative goals that are measurable as “hard” goals.

Soft goals work best for the following things:

  • When determining your branding, voice, or personality
  • Determining customer satisfaction (although there are ways developed to measure this)
  • Making delightful experiences
  • Evaluating whether experiences are rewarding enough
  • Research and finding patterns
  • Fulfilling personal aspirations and dreams

Basically, you can think of soft goals in terms of how others feel about your business, your brand, your services, or your products. It’s the quality of experiences that can’t easily be quantified.

Hard goals work best for the following things:

  • Tracking sales and leads
  • Tracking subscribers
  • Measuring the ROI of your advertising or marketing efforts
  • Getting a rough gauge of interest on your site
  • Seeing how well your social media outreach is working
  • Tracking SEO efforts
  • Tracking your cart abandonment rate
  • Tracking your churn rate
  • Tracking the amount of downloads

Hard and soft goals work best when in harmony with one another. Think yin and yang, peanut butter and jelly, bacon and everything…

How to Evaluate if a Goal is a Good One

As you might guess, the process of selection differs depending on what type of goal you have.

For soft goals, using one or more of the following criteria may help you decide if it’s worth keeping:

  • Does it make people feel good about your business?
  • Does it make people want to join your culture?
  • Does it align with your values?
  • Does it fit your brand guidelines?
  • Does your intuition feel right about it?

And here are some criteria you can use to decide if your hard goal is worth keeping:

  • Is it measurable?
  • Does it require too many resources?
  • Does it have a high lifetime value?
  • Is it the most profitable?
  • Will it occur in eventual leads or sales?
  • Does it have an ROI or measure an ROI?
  • Does it cut costs?

The one benefit of measurable goals is that they are easier to prioritize by simple calculations. I’ve put together a basic starter Spreadsheet in Google Docs that will help you find which hard goals are worth pursuing and which should take top priority. Download it here.

In the next post I’ll share some ideas about what you can start doing with your newly devised goals. Hint: start preparing yours now if you want some special help next week directly from me.

Do you have questions so far or is there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

This post is part of the Website Foundation Series. To keep following along, subscribe to our newsletter or rss feed.

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My passion is helping organizations and small businesses fulfill their mission by connecting with their customers in a more meaningful way. I love to make and improve things. Cheese lover. Cilantro hater.

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