Have you ever thought about defining a vision statement for your website? You may already have a clear mission statement for your business but your website could benefit from having a clearly defined purpose-driven statement too.
What is a vision statement?
Vision statements share the heart of what your business is all about and reinforce the objectives of your website. They are intended to act as a guide for designers to make decisions based on your website’s purpose.
Having a clear goal is key to encouraging your site visitors and that starts with clearly articulating your company’s vision.
Why you need one
Your vision statement will be the driving force behind your business strategy. It acts as the link between your values and goals. When business strategies are being crafted, they should be viewed through the lens of how they support executing your vision.
Knowing your aspirations for the future is critical to ensuring your goals and strategic planning are in alignment and the work being done on a daily basis is moving you in the right direction.
To be effective, your website should have a clear purpose that is instantly recognisable. A good designer will be able to take you through the process of good design. They will understand what messaging you should display, which pages to include and how to display them. However, this all comes from the core scope and purpose of your site.
Here’s an example from a project I worked on recently:
“One Turtle Studio sells abstract photography prints whilst encouraging site users to be creative and eco conscious. The website’s goal is to not only get the attention of potential customers, but to also go with them on a journey to help them rediscover their creativity and then help those users through the buying process.“
See how this defines the scope and purpose without actually getting specific about how the purpose will be achieved? This is what you want from a good vision statement.
Here’s how to create your own vision statement, and why each part of the process matters.
How to craft one
You started your business with a vision that you wanted to share with the world and communicating your vision is a cornerstone of building your brand.
While having a mission statement is an integral part of ensuring you have guidance for your business in the present, a vision statement should also be drafted to address where your business is headed in the future.
When building a website, a vision statement can act as a guide. From the content you include to the images you select, everything should be reflective of the vision and goals of your business.
A vision statement communicates your future aspirations in one succinct statement that can easily be shared with your website visitors and in marketing campaigns.
It starts with your why
The first thing to ask yourself is why you got into business in the first place. Doing this will help you clarify your business goals, which will later on help you clarify your website’s goals. Simply putting some words around the purpose of your business can work wonders for sorting out your long-term vision for what the website will say and do. Think about the basic purpose of your business and that can help you narrow down the same thing for your website.
What’s your competition doing?
Spend a few minutes researching the competition to uncover their site goals, and how they present them. For example, one competitor’s website might be focused on getting the user to contact the company. Another site might be centered on getting the user to reserve a spot through a calendar or call a sales person.
Let’s say your goal is to get people to contact you. Driving users to a form on the website, then, is likely a good solution. How is your competition doing it? How does their website design motivate users to take that action?
It’s good to be different
Now that you know what your competition is doing on their sites — how they’re presenting themselves, how their sites look and behave — you can form a plan to make yours different and better. And being different is the best thing you can do. When all the competition is saying the same thing, the one who says something unique is often the one who wins.
Scope it out
Now it’s time to note down a list of the types of content that should be on the site to drive users to contact you — what role each page plays in that objective, how much the website can do in the short term and what it can do later.
In other words, you can define the scope of your website. In doing this, you set up some boundaries for all the decisions you’ll make next. A defined scope helps you understand context for the benefit of the site users.
Write your vision statement
Be specific. A vision statement should clearly demonstrate the company’s future direction. It starts with two simple words: goal clarity.
Make it relatable. You want everyone to see your vision statement, identify shared core values that they aspire to and understand the goal.
Keep it short. You want your vision statement to be memorable, so keep it to one or two sentences.
The last step is to write it all down and communicate it to everyone involved with the site’s design. Vision statements can be just a paragraph or two, like the one at the start of this article. (In fact, if you make it any longer, you decrease the odds anyone will read or remember it.) The very act of writing it down reinforces the objectives in your own mind. Communicating it solidifies your overarching vision and becomes the guiding light for everyone involved.
Now that you understand the key components of creating a vision statement and why it’s critical for your business and website, you can create a statement that is both unique and aspirational. By using your statement as a guiding force for your business strategy, your customers will see what your brand aspires to be in the years to come and your web designer can build a site focused on where you want to position yourself in the years to come.