Setting Website Goals

SMART. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Timely.



What would you like to accomplish?

Set a quantifiable business objective for your website (make sure there is a concrete number attached to it). Examples include:

  • Increase the number of qualified leads by 20%
  • Improve the sales conversion rate by 5%
  • Improve customer satisfaction by 10%

The conversion rate is one of my favorite metrics because it measures the true performance of the website (output) and is not affected by external factors, such as fluctuations in traffic (input). I also prefer setting relative goals (10% more leads) as opposed to absolute numbers (1,000 leads) because this also measures website performance regardless of fluctuating inputs (traffic). 

The ultimate goal is to obtain a Profitable Conversion Rate & Know Your Numbers.



How will you know it is accomplished?

Establish concrete criteria and methods for measuring progress toward each objective. Common measurement methods include:

  • Tracking qualified leads through CRM
  • Tracking the conversion rate through Google Analytics
  • Surveying customers before and after the website redesign

Measuring is the key. If you can’t measure, you can’t tell how your website is doing and, therefore, you can’t improve. Some KPIs are tricky to measure. 



Can it be realistically accomplished?

Is the objective realistic and attainable? Objectives set too high or too low become meaningless. Compare your goals to your current numbers and ask yourself if they can be realistically accomplished. Most importantly, how are you planning on accomplishing these goals? Strategies include:

  • Engaging our target audience through unique value propositions and more effective calls-to-action are projected to produce a 10% increase in lead flow. An additional 10% can be accomplished by driving traffic to the website using paid advertising and SEO.
  • Industry averages suggest that a conversion rate increase of 5% is realistic and can be accomplished by featuring better quality product photos, videos and customer testimonials (social proof).
  • Usability testing suggests that UX improvements to the website can result in a customer satisfaction increase of 10% or more.

You should always start by looking at the performance of your current website to determine if the new goal is realistic. Ask yourself: is doubling the number of leads or going from 0 to 100,000 realistic? If not, set a less ambitious goal. Remember, this is a preliminary goal. 



Does this match your business needs?

Why is this goal important for your business? Will it help reach your company’s vision and mission? Does it match other stakeholders’ needs? Examples:

  • The 20% increase in website leads is aligned with next year’s marketing department goals of generating 20% more leads than last year.
  • The 5% increase in sales through the website is aligned with the company’s goal of increasing revenue by 10% next year.
  • Improving customer satisfaction by 10% is in line with the CEO’s initiative to improve the customer retention rate by 10%.

Again, beware of vanity goals. Make sure that there is a clear path from what you want your website accomplish to the business objectives of your company (or departments). When in doubt, run these goals by your stakeholders.



When would you like to publish the website?

Set a timeframe for the goal. Is 6 months reasonable? A year? Establishing an end point gives you a clear target. The timeframe must also be attainable and realistic. Examples:

  • The 20% increase in website leads will start with an initial 10% resulting from website improvements that can be realized 6 months from now with the website launch. The other 10% will result from driving additional traffic to the website through paid advertising and SEO that will take at least another 6 months before producing desirable results.
  • While the website redesign will result in an immediate increase in conversions, achieving a full 5% will require further tweaks and improvements that may take an additional 6 months, totaling 12 months.
  • The increase in customer satisfaction can be expected immediately after the website redesign (6 months from now).

You should always look at the “big picture”. Start with the time it will take to redesign your website, but also factor in that some effects, such as driving more traffic or continued website optimization, might not be immediate.

Write Down Your Goals

Now that you’ve learned the benefits of the SMART model, go ahead and set some goals for your website by filling out this simple worksheet with examples.

These guys are smart ;) ... see the extended article:

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