Setting Goals for a Website; The most effective way of measuring performance

Why should websites set up goals?

Every on-line business has a business objective. A website is designed and set-up based on the business objective. Whatever be the nature of business, the business objectives should be very well-defined in order to derive the best out of its on-line presence. The need to have clearly laid out objectives and goals cannot be stated enough. The very basic reason of the existence of the business is because there is an objective behind it.

Depending upon whether a website is set up for, providing information, products or services, there would be goal(s) that each business sets for itself. If a business does not track and measure its on-line performance, there is no way of knowing how they are doing and what needs to be done in order to improve their on-line performance. One of the ways is to analyze the website traffic data. Typically an analytics tools can provide information and data that will help in taking informed decisions, and if you can set up goals based on what you expect your visitors to do once they arrive on your site, the data will make much more sense.

Some of the ways of determining the goals for your website would be:

1. For businesses that are selling on-line, the goals that can be set up are, the total number or amount in monetary terms for successful completion of sales from the internet or, tracking the number of successful conversion of queries that were received on-line…

2. For businesses that are providing services, the goals could be, receiving inquires, on-line registrations, downloading white papers (pdf), and more.

3. For businesses that are providing information, it could be tracking the number of visitors subscribing to their newsletters, or tracking the amount of time visitors are spending (sessions), and various other goals depending upon which of the steps are important for you.

These are some of the very basic measures that webmasters can use to track the performance of their web presence against the set expectations. One of the best ways of tracking and measuring is by utilizing free tools such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides an easy interface to track and measure the performance of your website on-line.
For instance, if you offer a newsletter subscription, your objective would be to increase your subscription base thereby resulting in a database of potential customers who have opted in to receive your newsletter. One of the goals could be to measure how many people successfully registered to your newsletter, or how many visitors used your contact us form to inquire about something.

The value assigned to each of these goals may vary. You may want to assign dollar values to each of these goals. For instance, a newsletter subscription goal value can be based on the conversion rate, i.e. what percentage of subscribers became paying customers. Several goals can be defined and measured in order to provide clarity in terms of how the website is measuring up against the expectations that were set. If the newsletters are not helping in converting potential customers, then it may be time to re-look and re-define the newsletter content and communication. Perhaps the purpose or the objective of asking people to subscribe to newsletters is not clearly articulated through the design and content, or there aren’t enough call to actions for people to take the required action. The path that people take and where they drop off most can provide more insight, it just goes on. It is amazing just how many things can be unearthed by going through the Google Analytics data!

If you are already using Google Analytics but have not defined any goals yet, go ahead and make use of this feature. It is easy to set up goals from the Analytics dashboard. The available templates can be easily configured for your business:

  • Revenue template is basically for setting up goals for order completed
  • Acquisition is for setting up goals for, successfully completing an activity such as account registrations.
  • Inquiry can be used for setting up goals for, contact us form, live chat, reading reviews.
  • Engagement is for social media goals, such as sharing content, adding to favourites, and more.

Measuring the performance of your web site is a continuous process. Tracking the results and optimizing happens on a continuous basis with the goals getting refined and reset many times over. Access to a good analytics tool such as, Google Analytics, is all you need for a progress/performance report that is backed by reliable data.

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