Many articles and books address web development: provocative website design ideas, SEO-friendly HTML layout assistance, common website usability mistakes, and more. However, all of this is primarily designed for website developers or for those who want to make a website themselves and mostly contain technical issues. This article addresses the non-technical issue that is the essence of your website development; the foundation of the project you need. Further, even if flawless in technical realization, without this foundation the result is an ideal, but absolutely useless, product.
Setting primary purpose of your website
Our actions are driven by motive. This is critical, and one fundamental element of judiciary. Details aside, we can specify the basic principle: every act should have a motive. The importance of motive is inexorably present in our lives. For example, what if a stranger offers you a car for $1? You would seemingly agree immediately; however, most of us will not exclaim “Deal!” Rather, we will feverishly reflect on the offer: “Why would a person sell a car for just $1? What’s his interest? Where is the catch?”. Thus we are trying to understand the action’s motive and that is more important for us than the act itself, because this is the basis of the act.
So, you suddenly think: “We need to make a website! Everyone else has one. All of our competitors already have one. We must follow the technological mainstream”. These thoughts cannot be considered as the motive because it does not specify the purpose.
As part of the business, every investment you make must clearly answer the question Why? Answers may vary.
Several rules should be used when setting your objectives:
1. The objective should specify its results
2. The objective should describe what will change when attained
3. The objective should be a measurable value of smth. and provide criteria for success
As far as a website’s purpose, it is often heard “to inform visitors about the company” or “to provide information about the products”. This response is not the purpose as it does not comply with a “measurable value” (although you can specify a certain number of potential visitors, this value means nothing). Most importantly, responses like this do not indicate what will change when attained. Imagine a situation in which “the provision of information about the product” is the objective. In this case, all company actions should be directed to its achievement; being attained, the project mission should be considered accomplished. There is no need for production, purchase, storage, services, etc. because the objective is sole to provide information about the product/service, not to gain a profit on sales or services. This can be understood as an advertising campaign with a colorful beachfront picture: a lagoon, pearly-white sand, palm trees bowed over the water, bungalows facing the beach, but without any contact information or hotel name. Using this approach, you will be able to meet the “provision of information…” objective. If the picture is of good quality, a lot of Internet users will download and install it as desktop wallpaper, while others may even print and place it into a frame. Will the objective be gained? Yes, it will. You can now gather the team to thank for the good work and say goodbye to.
The above example is deliberately exaggerated to demonstrate that the “provision of information…” isn’t itself a project objective, but may be a means for attaining the true objectives.
“Providing information” itself cannot be the objective, even when the obvious objectives are not seen: «Provide information about the candidate» – as a result – everybody knows him as if lived together for a life, but no one voted – would “the Candidate” be pleased with the result? PR-specialists have learned the first part of the lesson and went to another extreme – “Vote! Our # … ».
In a case where providing information is a major activity in itself, it still is not an objective. Media is an example. Despite the fact that it mostly provides information, the aim is profit (advertising, sponsored articles, influencing public opinion to …). Even news agencies do not intend to provide information as an objective.
Thus, to define the objective of website development, avoid sticky clichés and substitution for the objective by setting your company’s requirements and identifying the correct project objective and how it can be measured to determine effectiveness.
For example, if you consider purchasing new equipment, you can state: “In order to replace outdated equipment and improve performance and costs for its repair because now it is repaired more than working». The logic is obvious; it is quantitatively measurable and in contrast to “all others have”, can be analyzed in terms of feasibility and effectiveness.
In regard to this article, the objective is to help readers understand how to identify and formulate objectives of their website development and to attract potential customers and gain revenue from making effective and useful websites for these clients. And, if this article results in one or two new clients per month, a goal can be considered as achieved. To measure efficiency we can use a simple “reference” – every client which points to this article will get a small bonus. Together, we will decide what that bonus will be.
So, what is your website purpose?