By Justin Thareja on March 14, 2011 at 3:59 AM
It's amazing there are still business owners who just don't understand the fundamentals of owning a website. With all the buzz about technology and social media, the primary focus always appears to be on web design. True, web design is important. Especially when it comes to branding. But good hotel website design and layout is not rocket science given the plethora of open source solutions and software available on the Internet.
Truth be told, the success of any website will depend on more than just design. Besides, just having a hotel website isn't good enough anymore. If a business is spending money on a website, shouldn't there be some talk about a return on investment? With no cookie cutter approach to count on, we can take a look at some guidelines for establishing goals to measure that return.
⁃ Before you even start the design and development of your website, ask what you want to accomplish with your web site and what type of desired result you seek not only for you but also for your visitors.
⁃ Describe what you want to accomplish with as much clarity and detail as possible. If your goal is to provide information to the public or generate product brand awareness, don't just state that. Write down exactly how you are going to provide information or generate product awareness. You should also state exactly how and when you will evaluate your progress.
⁃ Break your website goal(s) into smaller, obtainable minor goals. For example, if you sell multiple products organized in multiple categories, then establish a goal for each category or each product web page. This will help identify areas of strengths and weaknesses on your way to evaluating your overall web site goal.
⁃ Establish goals you know you are actually capable of obtaining. If the goal is to generate new leads but you get very little site traffic, then set your sites low. Be realistic. It's better to reach your goal regardless of how small than to not reach it at all. That will allow you to better determine what works or doesn't work.
⁃ Set goals by time and/or importance into specified target dates. For example, if you are trying to sell products for the holiday season or communicating the latest product or service information to customers, then make sure you note your start and completion dates.
⁃ If your goal is to obtain new web site visitors and customers, then your site should be centered around the relevant keywords that new customers would use to search for your site.
Whether it's increasing traffic, converting customers or just simply sharing information, having clear, established goals and objectives will prevent you from performing unnecessary analysis. It will also help you better understand your hotel website's successes and failures and allow you fix and improve your web site. Otherwise, you will never be satisfied with the results regardless of the design.