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8 Steps to Ensure Success With Your New Website

8 Steps to Ensure Success With Your New Website

The most important part of any new website is that it accomplishes its goal, and there are certain things anyone can do to make that happen. Simply follow these 8 steps to ensure success with your new website!

1. Craft a mission statement.

Think of your website’s mission statement as the backstory to a fictional character. Even though you might not explicitly tell readers the character’s backstory, it guides and influences everything that character does.

Your mission statement will guide and influence every decision you make with your new website. You don’t necessarily need to share your mission statement with viewers – though you certainly can – but you need to know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Without a mission statement, every decision you make for your new website becomes scattered. Viewers will pick up on that, and might not stick around because of it.

As an example, Lifehack’s public mission statement is:

“Lifehack is your source for tips to help improve all aspects of your life… This site is dedicated to lifehacks, which is a phrase that describes any advice, resource, tip or trick that will help you get things done more efficiently and effectively.”

This is their guiding clause. Everything the company does and everything an editor publishes is done in response to this statement. A mission statement helps everyone involved fulfill a common goal, and is necessary to success with your new website.

2. Research your competitors’ choices.

This will come into play a lot when designing your new website. Take a look at a handful of other websites that are generally doing the same thing(s) as you.

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What are they doing that you like, or that you dislike? What can you learn from them, or do better?

If you don’t know your industry well, you need to do some research there. But you definitely need to learn from others in your same space.

Most brands do what they do because they’ve learned it’s a good way to do things. I promise you they each made plenty of mistakes along the way.

Doing this research – seeing what you can copy and what you can improve upon – will give your new website a jumpstart. It will keep you from making some of the same mistakes others have, and it will help you better understand how your new website can be successful.

3. Choose the right website builder.

There are plenty of places that help you build websites, but they’re not all meant for the same thing. Some builders specify in e-commerce, some in blogging, and some in photography and design, among others.

The most popular website builders seem to be WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. They each work wonderfully for millions of people, but one of them might or might not be right for your specific needs.

If you don’t have much website building experience, it will be good for you to look at who the best website builders are for your situation. Whatever your goal is, having the right framework to build upon is critical to ensuring success with your new website.

4. Pick an easy domain name.

When choosing a domain name (your website URL), practicality will almost always beats creativity. If you can meld the two, you’re doing great, but it’s a risky attempt.

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The reason being practical is better than being creative is search engine optimization (SEO). When someone searches Google to find an answer or a product, Google’s goal is to provide that person with the most relevant results.

If someone searches for, say, “running shoes,” a website like NewRunningShoes.com stands a better chance of being found than a website like SpeedyKicks.com. The first is naturally more relevant.

Can you win with creativity? Sure. But it usually takes more work and more money than if you’re practical. Keep in mind, your domain name is essentially your brand. It’s okay to spend a lot of time coming up with a good name. In fact, that would probably be best.

There are always exceptions to this “rule,” but you should generally make it easier for people to find you. Be simple, be relevant, and you’ll stand a much better chance of finding success with your new website.

5. Create your logo.

In truth, creating a logo is one of the more important steps to success with your new website. Name one reputable brand that doesn’t have a logo…

Creating a logo gives you a certain level of clout and legitimacy that’s needed to succeed. If you’re not sure what your logo should be, try answering these questions:

  • What have others in your space done? You don’t have to copy what others are doing, but you can use their decisions to help you make your own.
  • What do you want people to think when they see your logo? And how can you design something to create that impression?
  • How easy will your design be to understand, now and down the road? You want to make sure that your logo will always send a clear message.

Now that you have a better idea of what your logo should be, you have two options. You can start your logo yourself, or you can look into having a professional designer create one for you.

6. Make it easy to share and subscribe.

Traffic is the currency of the internet, and you need a lot of it to ensure success with your new website.

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Two things that help immensely are making your website easier for viewers to share with others, and making it easier for viewers to subscribe to your new website.

Social sharing buttons, email subscribe forms, and prompts or call-to-actions around nearly every corner are needed to get your website more traffic. Fortunately, there are a handful of tools you can use to do this well.

SumoMe and GetSiteControl are both popular choices that come with a suite of widgets like social sharing buttons, subscribe form pop-outs, and many other customizable features to help you drive traffic to your website.

Pick one, pick both, pick something else entirely, but you need as much help as you can get because you need as much traffic as you can get.

7. Update your website regularly.

You should be adding new items, posts, and updates to your website as often as you can without sacrificing quality. That could be anything from one new blog post a week to 100 new items every day! Just do what you can.

Updating and adding content to your new website does several things. It provides something to share with your email subscribers and social media followers, which can bring you more traffic.

In most cases, updating and adding to your website creates new web pages, which creates more opportunities for people to find your website.

Regular updates like these also send signals to Google and other search engines that you’re being active. This generally prompts them to send you more traffic.

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Basically, updating your website regularly should bring you more traffic, which is necessary to ensure success with your new website.

8. Get people talking about you.

You’ve done all the right things to get your website setup, and to get those initial visitors. But in order to grow, you have to get the word out to more people. The best way to spread the word is to get people talking.

Reviews are generally the easiest way to get people talking about you, because, well, you’re directly asking them to. Just prompt your customers to leave you a review on Google+, Facebook, or whichever platform is most applicable.

You can also offer incentives to customers or users who get their friends on board, such as free or discounted products. And then social sharing and email subscribers (covered in point 6) are great for spreading the word, too.

If you haven’t read it yet, the book Contagious by Jonah Berger is a must. He breaks down how and why people share things in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand. Of course, understanding why people do things is an important step to getting them to do the things you need.

Now that you have these steps to ensure success with your new website, the only thing left for you to do is put them into practice! Follow these steps, and one day soon you’ll be recounting the story of how you built a successful website. Who wouldn’t want that?

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Kenneth Burke

Director of Marketing

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

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