Do you need a website or do you need the benefits of a website?

Published by Julian
on March 12th, 2018

We need a website for our business, because our organization needs an online presence.

That's a tautology, saying the same thing in different ways. It's not a web strategy or advancing your business plans. It's doing something, just to do it.

Pantheon’s Dwayne McDaniel gives a great talk about giving the client what they want, even when they’re not really sure what it is. It’s our job as web designers to help them articulate what their business goals are for the website and it’s not “get a website”. Clients want what the website can do for them, not the website itself. 

"We are not designing a chair, we are designing a human suspension system." - Kandace Brigleb at WooConference 2017

Websites can provide benefits to businesses, but those benefits need to be specific. They can be increased sales, an upward trend in conversions, a growing email list, and a bunch of other results. The website is just what drives those results. Don't get caught up in the features of a website, think about the benefits of those features. That's what's important.

  • Accessibility is a feature. Its proper markup of the website’s code that makes the site behave in a way that is predictable for people using assistive technology. (You can read about accessibility here, as well)
    • Increased audience share is a benefit of accessibility
    • Increased exposure to your brand is a benefit of accessibility
  • Search Engine Optimized content is a feature. It’s a bundle of tactics that make your website show up higher in search results when people search for a particular keyword.
    • Increased organic search traffic to your site is a benefit of SEO content.
    • Increased lead generation is a benefit of SEO content.

But how do you know if you’re hitting those goals? KPIs, of course! Key Performance Indicators. These are concrete, measurable things you can use to track progress. Social media referral traffic, email signups, abandoned cart conversions are all great KPIs. If it’s a real goal, a true benefit, it needs to be something measurable. And with a bit of work, you can find a way to measure nearly anything.

Nobody wants a website, they want to hit a KPI.

KPI's can act as mile markers on your journey towards your goal. Identify some key performance indicators that tell you how your website is advancing your business goals. Every month, check your KPI's and see if you're advancing towards your goal. If you are, great! Look for ways to support or amplify your efforts. If not, dig into your KPI and think about which specific, actionable things you could be doing to turn that trend around.

By identifying and tracking your KPIs, you have a specific area of your strategy to focus your attention, instead of "The website's not performing".

Check out Dwayne's full presentation at MidCamp (it's well worth the listen).

Do you need a website or do you need the benefits of a website?

Website design isn't just about delivering a website. It's about delivering the benefits of a website.

Work with Xeno Media

We know you'll judge us by the company we keep. That's just the way we like it. We would love to hear from you. If you would like to discuss your project, please call us at 630.599.1550 or fill out our Contact Form.

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