Setting Website Goals - An Introduction
It is common for many organisations to measure their online "success" largely via the number of visitors their website receives with the focus of many organisations being to get as many people as possible to view their website.
If your website traffic is growing it can indeed often be good news. However if you are paying to advertise on other sites, using Google Adwords or participating in any other paid for promotion then more traffic is not necessarily good. It depends on what those visitors go on to do.
As with any marketing endeavour the goal of your online marketing campaign should ultimately be to boost sales.
This may occur immediately via someone making a donation or buying a product online or it may occur via a sales lead from a contact form or someone signing up to your mailing list - this is referred to as "conversion". The goal of any online marketing campaign should therefore be to increase the number of conversions on your site. If you are offering a range of products for sale you may also want to try and boost the value of conversions - i.e. get people to buy goods or sign up for more profitable products.
Website traffic is obviously important - if your traffic is low then clearly there are serious limitations on your site's conversion potential. However, an equally worrying situation would be that your marketing efforts drove a lot of traffic to your site but no-one ever went on to buy anything. The latter situation could in fact be worse - if you are committing a lot of resources to your online marketing effort you could in fact start to lose money.
Online marketing and conversion rate optimisation involve constantly monitoring how people find you, what people do on your site, identifying problems, coming up with ideas to resolve them and then testing them to see if your ideas work. An essential part of this process involves setting goals for your site and then measuring how changes you make to your marketing or to improve your site impact upon these.
When setting goals it often helps to think about them financially where possible. Think for example about how much profit you make on an average sale, the associated online marketing costs and spend some time thinking about what are reasonable "customer acquisition costs" for the products or services you offer.