Our focus on enterprise web development results in a lot of time spent thinking of creative ways to integrate business objectives into a site design. Websites can provide much more than just an attractive facade.
The lynchpin - as we've discovered is the case with most online pursuits - is a systematic and analytical approach that first maps goals to concrete web metrics and then constructs to facilitate the achievement of those goals.
The first step in constructing a website that helps drive profit is to evaluate how the site can be leveraged to accomplish business objectives.
At the small business level, goals are generally simple and straightforward; there may be only one, or - at most - a few, decision makers whose voices need to be accounted for and objectives are normally of the "generate leads" variety. Traffic is typically arriving from only a precious few mediums, and the visitor experience is both shallow & linear.
At the enterprise level, building effective websites becomes a more complex and convoluted venture. Most often, there are multiple departments, decision makers and interests at play. It is not uncommon to be juggling dozens of independent (and sometimes incongruent!) objectives across a landscape where key influencers are hesitant to make many sacrifices.
On top of this, the development of enterprise-level sites needs to take into account the reality of multiple online and offline marketing initiatives that are driving traffic to a website. With the continued maturation of the Search Marketing industry, and its general acceptance as a mainstream & viable marketing channel, it is quite common to see a home page receiving less than half of a website's total entrances.
So, in order to build a site around the achievement of specific goals, multiple goal funnels need to be assessed, developed and tested in order to ensure that conversion rate is being maximized.
Once the inherent organizational complexities have been reconciled, quarantined or overcome, the process of constructing a goal-oriented website at the enterprise level relies upon a few basic fundamentals.
- Identify, inventory & prioritize business objectives.
- Map those objectives to concrete web activities. These metrics are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Start with these KPIs, and work backwards to design a site that supports their achievement.
With larger organizations, there may be many business objectives. Or, more likely, there will be a few objectives with multiple avenues by which they can be achieved. It can be a laborious and resource-intensive process, but a website will be more effective at facilitating business pending a systematic assessment & development cycle.
At the same time, it would be shortsighted to ignore the qualitative visitor experience for the sake of quantitative visitor metrics; the left and right brains need to cooperate to create a goal-oriented site that also provides for positive visitor interactions.
In simple terms: websites should guide visitors "on-rails" through an intended experience without making them feel trapped, and manage to look good while doing it.
It all begins with application of foundational web analytics principles to the web design process: define business goals, map the goals to web activities / metrics, and build to maximize the occurrence of those activities. A terrifically simple concept, often terribly complex in execution!
Is a Growth Driven Design strategy the right approach for your next web redesign? Learn more in the ebook: A Web-Dev's Guide to Growth Driven Design.