Once you've determined the general direction of your site—or its redesign—it's important to
what you expect from it. What, exactly, are you hoping your site will accomplish? What concrete goals should the site help you achieve?
will vary, depending on the type of site. But whoever you are and whatever your site's mission, you'll find it's critical—both for the project's health and your own—to define success ahead of time.
By stating your goals, you
Create attainable measures
of success shared by everyone in the organization.
Provide an objective framework
for making decisions.
Give company stakeholders a forum
to voice their expectations.
Force company stakeholders to sign off
on goals, freeing the development team to meet them as they see fit.
Help prevent meddling
by accomplishing the above.
By defining (and writing down) your goals from the outset, you accomplish both practical and diplomatic purposes.
On the practical end, goals create quantifiable, and hopefully attainable, goals for the project. Over the course of development, the project team can consistently refer back to them, ensuring that the project's on track and that decisions made along the way support the overarching goals.
On the diplomatic front, these goals create a forum in which all an organization's stakeholders can voice their expectations and demands of the site (or site redesign). By gathering
on the site goals, consolidating them into a short list, and then getting approval on these stated goals, the producer sets herself, her team, and her site up for success. They now know what is expected of them, and they have the freedom to effectively do their jobs.
for a new site
Reduce phone calls about hours and location
Reduce bad leads by clarifying what your organization does (and doesn't do)
Increase sales in store, or attendance at events, by using online promotions
Convert existing offline customers or members into online customers or
for a redesigned site
Increase pageviews after a redesign
Increase number of registrations, purchases, or other completed transactions
what kind of goals?
The goals for your site will vary, of course, depending on its focus, but they may include things like increasing revenue, cutting costs,
and retaining more users, developing leads for new customers, reducing phone calls, building a mailing list, or raising the company's profile.
Whatever the specifics, your goals should meet two basic criteria.
The web site's goals should be
to the organization's goals
so you can objectively gauge their success and track their progress
so the site can actually succeed.
This last point can't be stressed enough. Web sites may be powerful, but they're not magic. You can't expect them to right all your company's wrongs.
collaboration, p. 330.
how to speak the language(s), p. 329.