The first step to producing an effective website is to define the purpose. Your purpose should be a focused vision of what you want your Web site and users to accomplish. You should define a purpose statement that will guide the development team through defining the audience, developing the strategy, and creating the content of the site. The following questions will help you determine the site's purpose:

  • What is the mission or purpose of the organization or service represented by the website?
  • What are the short- and long-term goals of the site?

Defining a purpose statement that looks toward the future will allow you to accommodate for growth and change more effectively and establish a well-documented idea of what you want to do now and later.

After you define your purpose statement, develop measurable objectives to help track progress and determine the success of the site. Ask the following questions to help determine measurable objectives:

  • How will I know (quantitatively) if the site is successful?
  • What are the consequences if the site is not successful?

Clearly defined measurable objectives will help you determine what is most important to your users and focus development efforts accordingly.