What is goal-driven web design (and how can it help me)?

  So what’s goal driven design? Here are the 3 key pillars, plus a free worksheet and a rapid-fire lesson on the 8-E’s of goal driven design to get you started.

Hey, how many Facebook groups are you in? Because I’m in 58, and that seems like way, waaay too many. And I’m only active in a handful of them, which begs the question, “Why don’t you just leave those other groups, Meghan??”. Great question. And the answer is, “Because they’re incredible for user research and getting to know your ideal client.”

And getting to know your ideal client is 1 of the 3 foundational pieces of my goal-driven website design process.

What is goal-driven design?

Goal-driven design is my signature term for improving the user experience of your site.

So what is User Experience (UX)? It’s about creating a delightful experience for your website visitors that gets results for your business. There's a reason people come to your site and you want it to be easy for them to find what they're looking for.

At the same time, your business has goals and you want your website to work toward those as well. It's a strategic balance of your users’ desires with your business’ needs. So it's not really about aesthetics, it's about the goals. And that’s why I call my process goal-driven design.

The 3 foundational pillars of goal-driven design are:

1. Your business objectives

By establishing the business objectives for your website before you start designing it, you’ll be able to tell if your website is moving your business forward AND what you can do if it isn’t.

Getting clear on your business goals will also help you with your website layout because you’ll know what to prioritize and how you want your visitors to flow through your site.

And, just like in setting 90-day or 12-week goals, we want your goals to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Let’s look at some examples of business objectives for your website:

  • Vague: “I want to get more website traffic”
  • SMART: “I want to have a 200% increase in returning visitor traffic within 30-days of re-launching my site.” – Oh, hey, that’s one of the EXACT results I got for a client 😉

2. Your dream client’s desires

Equally (if not more) important than clarity around your biz goals is understanding your dream client’s desires. When it comes to your ideal client, you need to understand who they are, of course. BUT this is less about the demographic, census-survey understanding, and more about the psychographic, I-totally-get-where-you’re-coming-from kinda knowledge.

Let me give you some examples. Here’s a screenshot from one of my favorite online entrepreneurs. In it, you can see a snapshot of her “Ideal Client Avatar” worksheet questions.

 An example of what most people consider an "ideal client avatar" exercise.

Now, like I said, I seriously love everything this girl creates but I don’t find this method of creating an “avatar” to be particularly effective.

Here’s why: things like a person’s age, education level, or even the magazines they read don’t matter when you’re selling to them. Sure, knowing this info will give you the ability to drop fun references in emails or on Instagram posts, but it’s not getting to the core of how she’s feeling and what those feelings look like. And selling effectively is about feelings.

Take a look at this conversation I was a part of recently in a Facebook group. It illustrates this point beautifully.

 Feelings like "overwhelm" look different to different people. The key to hitting home with you ideal client is to understand what those feelings look like in her behavior.

You can see that while one person identified the feeling of “overwhelm” with the behaviors of bouncing around without focus, the other person had a completely different default behavior when it came to feeling overwhelmed. Instead of bouncing around without focus, she withdraws, shuts down, and stops moving.

So, is your dream client more like person A or person B in the example above? Because that’s exactly what we need to know. When it comes down to it, you need to have the answers to these questions:

  1. What does she want (what are her big goals)?
  2. What is standing in her way?
  3. What is she feeling/thinking because of that barrier?
  4. What does that feeling look like in her behavior (what’s she saying / doing)?
  5. What is her current environment like and how is that impacting her?

Those 5-questions are what you’d ask to create what is known as a customer empathy map. And, if you’d like a easy-to-follow worksheet to really get to know your dream client, then I’ve got one you can download!


3. Your unique brand message

The last pillar in forming the foundation of your goal-driven website is your unique brand message. This is your positioning statement. It’s what differentiates you from the competition and helps establish your expertise.

In the workbook I mentioned above, I include a super easy plug-and-play recipe for crafting your standout brand message.

I also urge you to take a look at your competition. Pick 3 competitors and look through their websites to see how you can differentiate your brand and offerings (pssst: my signature service actually goes through all 3 of these foundational pillars so you can get customized 1:1 strategy for less than the cost of most courses).

Rapid-fire lesson: the 8 E’s of goal-driven design:

  • Empathy: Before you can design an effective website, you’ve got to have empathy for your dream client and understand her desires.
  • Emotion: Once you understand her, you can connect to her on an emotional level (check out that screenshot example above for a refresher).
  • Education: Knowing and understanding your dream client’s goals and her current struggles, create free content to educate her and give tremendous value.
  • Ease: Make it as easy as possible for your potential client to navigate your site and find what she’s looking for. The idea is to remove any friction and guide her along the journey through your content in a way that aligns with your business objectives.
  • Engagement: Because you get your dream client, you’ve connected with her on an emotional level, you’ve provided her with educational content, and made it easy-breezy for her to navigate through your site (dare we say, even “enjoyable”), she’s much more likely to engage, re-engage, and share your content with others.
  • Empowerment: When we lift up others, we lift up ourselves. By empowering your gal with the know-how to implement some tiny changes and inch toward her desired result, you’ll be building a loyal community member and advocate.
  • Evaluation: In order to make sure that all of our pieces fit together and are working properly (moving our business toward its goals and our dream client toward hers), we need to analyze and test. This is not a set-it-and-forget-it scenario but, rather, a continuous iteration and improvement (kinda like life).
  • Evolution: With time, after going through your test + tweak method, you’re going to learn so much more than you knew when you started this process. And you’ll naturally evolve to that next stage of business.


If those 8 “E’s” are feeling overwhelming right now (whatever overwhelm looks like to you), don’t worry. Start with those 3 foundational pillars and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a website that connects, compels, and converts. (I fucking love alliterations.)

To get that free workbook I mentioned, outlining these foundational website pillars, just enter your deets into the box below.