Clearly communicating your website’s features to the user will help fulfill your goals.
It is easy to get carried away when designing a website. With the constantly emerging technology, business models and website designs, it’s easy to blurt out “Let’s do em’ all!” at a staff meeting.
Whoa. Hold on, there.
Your website should strive to fulfill specific business goals by allowing users to fulfill their goals.
This relation between your goals and the users’ is called your website’s strategic intent, and it needs to be clearly communicated to be effective.
Your goals could include:
- Capturing visitors’ email addresses
- Selling products, memberships or subscriptions
- Generating advertising revenue
- Driving traffic to a partner’s website
Directly related to those goals are the users’ goals, which would be:
- Viewing relevant content
- Subscribing to an email newsletter
- Buying products, memberships or subscriptions
- Viewing relevant ads
- Viewing related websites
By keeping your website’s strategic intent simple and enabling users to fulfill their goals easily, you will fulfill your goals. Offering too many options will cloud your strategic intent, and users won’t know if their goal can be fulfilled.
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Forbes.com, for example, has a clear strategic intent. The website is based on free content and generates revenue from advertisements and subscriptions to the Forbes print magazine.
That gives the publishers two main goals: to sell advertising and subscriptions.
The users’ have three goals: to read free content, buy subscriptions and maybe view advertisements.
The simple strategic intent at Forbes.com is unambiguous and it allows users to quickly fulfill their goals, and in turn, fulfill the publisher’s goals.
By focusing your website’s strategic intent, rather than having it offer every feature on the Web, it will deliver a clear message to users who will better interact with your website and fulfill your goals.
Forbes.com is a great example of a traditional print publisher that is very successful online. You can read our full review of its website design, or you can read our Forbes Media Network case study that is based, in part, on our interview with Stevenson “Steve” Forbes Jr.