How to set SMART website goals

If you’re an established business there’s a good chance you’ve got a website.


Is your website successful?

What does success look like for your website?

These are important questions to answer for any web project.

Building a website without smart goals and expecting results is like playing golf in the dark – You might somehow get lucky and find the hole, but you’ll probably just end up in the woods.

You’ll appreciate this message on a deeper level if you’re already looking to rebuild your existing website because it’s not getting you results.

What does your business really need from your website?

Getting more traffic to a website might be great. But if that traffic doesn’t take action it doesn’t do diddly squat for your business.

Before you build your website you need to know what metrics really matter. Interview all the stakeholders to find out what they need from the new website – your marketing department, sales, customer service, HR, operations, website manager.

If you’re a one man army, you head up all those departments, so put each department hat on and answer the question.

Common stakeholders’ interests for a successful website include:

  • Generate leads and sales
  • Increase repeat business and brand loyalty
  • Increase advertising revenue
  • Support sales teams
  • Improve customer support and satisfaction
  • Enable efficient website/content management
  • Automate tasks and reduce costs
  • Increase business profitability

Find a reference point

To set realistic goals it’s best to have something highly relevant to compare it to.

If you’ve already got a website. Great! You need to know how well it’s doing compared to where you want it to be.

If you want to get a 10% increase in leads after the redesign. You need to know how many leads you were getting on your current website.

If you don’t have a website, do your best to research and guesstimate what sort of metrics you can expect for your niche.

Once you have your goals written down, you need to re-set them…as SMART goals. (if you hadn’t already guessed, it’s another one of those acronym buzzwords we use in marketing – but it’s a very useful one)

So, what is a SMART goal?

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-bound, and it’s a popular method for setting business goals.

Introduced in the 1950s by management icon Peter Drucker, the SMART method has been used by managers, teams and departments around the world to set the criteria for assessing whether a project is successful.

Here’s a simple guide on how to set SMART goals when building or redesigning your new website.


Your objectives must be clear and quantifiable – allowing you to assess whether the website design is successful or not. Don’t just say “the new website should have better conversion rates.”

Good Specific Goals

  • Increase lead enquiry conversion rates by 20% by implementing strong call-to-actions relevant to each page.
  • Increase customer satisfaction by 20% by creating a better website user experience.


Make sure that you set goals that can be tracked and assessed to check whether the goals have been met. If they’re not measurable there’s no point in setting them. Good things to measure include conversion rates, bounce rates, time on site, customer satisfaction.

Good Measurement Tools

  • Conversion rates, bounce rates, “time on site” etc can be measured using web analytic tools such as Google Analytics or Kiss Metrics
  • Customer satisfaction can be measured using online surveys and other metrics before and after the site redesign. Be aware that regular customers may get used to navigating your old website, so it may be a good idea to delay the customer survey until they’ve had time to get used to the new site.


Everyone wants to be the next Google but it is better to set short-term goals that are achievable. For example, aiming for a 100% conversion rate is next to impossible in most scenarios. It’s better to describe your goal as an increment instead of an absolute number.

Good Achievable Goals

  • Industry averages suggest that a conversion rate increase of 7% is realistic. We’ll achieve this by creating relevant call-to-action buttons on each page, and add testimonials and client logos for social proof.
  • A 10% increase in leads can be achieved by using paid advertising and SEO to increase targeted traffic to the site.
  • Usability testing suggests that UX improvements to the website can result in a customer satisfaction increase of 10% or more.


Not all objectives benefit your company. Before setting a goal, ask yourself: Is this goal good for the company? In what way? Does it advance our mission statement or is it just something that sidetracks the web team? Remember, a website is just one aspect of your organisation. Review your company’s strategic goals and align website development objectives with the overall targets or specific campaigns outlined in your company’s game plan.

Good Relevant Goals

  • An increase in leads of 20% is aligned with next year’s marketing KPI’s of generating 20% more leads than last year.
  • A 10% increase in user experience customer satisfaction is aligned with customer service’s goal of improving overall customer satisfaction by 10% over last year’s survey results.


Always define your objectives with a timeframe of when you expect to achieve it by. Although you expect some sort of immediate benefit from a new website, you should also factor in that some tasks will be achieved over time such as driving more traffic or conversion rate optimisation tweaks.

Saying “increase conversion rates by 8%” has no time-frame making it a poor goal

Good Time-bound Goals

  • We’re aiming for a 20% increase in website leads. 10% we expect to achieve immediately after the website redesign is launched. The other 10% we expect to create over 6 months using SEO to drive more targeted traffic to the site.

So that’s it…now you know how to set SMART goals for your next website project. If you want to ensure your new website is successful don’t skip this step. Now go ahead, talk to your departments and set yourself some SMART goals for your new website project. Write them down. Measure them. Find out if your website really is a success.

If you find you’re struggling to set these goals. Get in touch with a web design company that can help.

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