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When thinking about creating or making improvements to your website, most people automatically jump to the tools that they want to use or the things they want to change right away. And I know how tempting it is to do that but you need to slow down. You are skipping a step that is vitally important. You must first answer this question: “Why do you want or have a website?”

Without a solid answer to this question, everything else is premature.

You might be thinking that the answer to this question is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be asked. However, I think it’s just the opposite. I think the question is so obvious that most people forget to even ask it.

Think back to when you started your current job. What is the first thing that you need to know? “What is my job description and what are my responsibilities?” Without a clear answer, how could you know whether you were doing a good job or not? If you were hired to be the janitor, it doesn’t matter how well you answered the phones everyday – you wouldn’t be doing what you were hired to do.

Your website is exactly the same. It needs to have a clear job description. Your website is a member of your team, just as much as any salesman, manager, or CEO is.

You can think of everything that we will be doing as a job evaluation. We are going to be sitting down with our website and having the hard conversations about its job performance, talk about what it’s doing well, and talk about what needs to be improved.

But these evaluations are only possible if it’s job description is clearly spelled out.

Okay – so what is it? What is your website’s job description? Why do you even have a website?

If you are a for-profit business, the answer has to eventually be “to make you money”. If your website is costing you more money than you are earning, you should shut it down. Well, these days, your company needs a website, so we’ll get around to fixing it. But in general the point remains, if there are aspects of your business that cost you more money than they earn, you should get rid of them or change them.

So the reason you have a website is to make you money. But since this is the goal of every part of your business, it’s too general to be helpful. We need to dig deeper. Some potential answers may be:

  • To generate leads for your sales people
  • To convert leads into paying customers
  • To get views or clicks on advertisements
  • Or even something as simple as to tell people how to contact you or find your business.

I don’t know what it will be for your website but it will probably be something like one of these.

So take some time and think about why you have a website. Think about it’s purpose and it’s job description. Only once that’s clear can we call our website into the office and have a job evaluation. And turn it into a valued employee.

– Alex