Marieke van de Rakt is the CEO of Yoast. Her main focus is on growing the company. She is really passionate about maintaining open and friendly company culture. Marieke is also heavily involved in the marketing of Yoast and with Yoast SEO Academy: the online courses platform.
Having a site for your business is quite common nowadays. Chances are that you’ve also created one to make sure that people can find and contact you online. But have you really thought about the goal of your website? And is this reflected in the structure and content of your site? Writing a mission statement for your site can help you keep this in mind while making improvements on your site. But it’s also a great way to communicate your values and brand to your audience.
Why should people visit my website, read my posts or buy my stuff? What’s the purpose of my website? You should be able to answer these questions in a heartbeat. In this post, I’ll explain how a mission statement helps you grasp the goal of your website and how to write a great mission statement that communicates what you have to offer.
What is a mission statement?
Your mission statement consists of the ideas you have about your site and your company. Every business owner has certain expectations of their potential customers and site visitors. You want them to read your posts, or to buy your products. Perhaps you want to inform or entertain them to eventually improve their lives with your awesome products. We realize that a goal can be to sell as many products as possible or have lots of visitors on a site or blog, but a mission statement goes further than that. A mission statement is unique for every business, it’s the reason why it exists and what it wants to accomplish. What problem it wants to solve for its audience.
So, before you start making any other improvements to your website you’ll have to think about your mission statement. Do not think too lightly of this. It’s really hard to have (and keep) clearly in mind what it is you want to do. And what the goal of your website is. This is actually a problem we still see on lots of websites. Businesses that do not make clear what it is they offer and what makes their offer so special. Make sure to focus on clarity first.
How to write a clear mission statement
Take the time and literally write your mission statement down. On a piece of paper, on your laptop or iPad, whatever works for you. It’s important to understand that your mission shouldn’t revolve around making more money, it should be focused on what you can offer your audience. To give you an example, this is Google’s mission statement: “Our company mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
As you can see from this example: your mission should be short, long-term and reflective of your products or actions as a business. Make sure to focus on the value that your products, services or blogs can have for (potential) users. Also, try to find the balance between being clear but not so specific that you’re limiting yourself or the market you’re in. For example, our mission is SEO for everyone, and not SEO for everyone in Europe, or SEO for everyone in the US.
To help you formulate the mission statement and goal of your website, we’ve created a list of questions you should be able to answer:What can people do with the products or information you’re offering?What makes your products or business unique?How can your products/services enhance your clients’ lives?Why should people buy your products/services and not your (e.g. cheaper or better known) competitors’? Or why should people read your information and take your advice instead of information on another website?What’s the reason you’re offering these products/services or information, besides making money?
Use these questions to ask yourself what the goal of your business and (with it) of your website is. Also, don’t be afraid to change it along the way, as changes in your market can ask for changes in your mission and what you have to offer. When you’ve written down your mission statement, make sure to discuss it with your employees to make sure everyone agrees and your mission statement reflects your brand. Once your mission is clear to you and your team, you’ll be able to communicate it much better to your audience!
Ways to communicate your mission
Once you’ve written your mission statement, you need to make sure that it’s reflected on your website. It’s a good idea to create a page that tells people about your business and mission. But it doesn’t stop there! You need to make sure that your mission is reflected on your other pages as well. That’s why you should have another look at your introductory content, your headlines and images.
1: Mission statement page
Does your site have an about us page or section? If the answer is yes, great! Create a mission statement page to tell people what your business is all about, or add your mission statement to your about us-page. If the answer is no, consider adding an page or section that tells people more about your business and team. This doesn’t just do wonders for branding, it also increases visitor’s trust in your website. Take a look at our mission page if you’re looking for inspiration.
2: Optimize your introductory content
You might be wondering what your mission statement has to do with the rest of your content. But composing a mission statement gives you more insight into the value that your products or services have. What makes them unique and how they can help your audience. It’s important to check whether this is reflected in your (introductory) content.
Why? Because the online world moves fast and the people using it also move fast. Be aware of the fact that you literally have a few seconds to get your most important point across. People’s attention span is really short, particularly online. So make sure to tell the important stuff first and tell it quickly. What is your website about? What do you ‘sell’? Make sure this text is really clear and adapt the language of your audience. Focus on your homepage and landing pages first, as these are the pages where your visitors enter your website.
3: Think about your headlines
Another way to communicate your mission to your audience is to make good use of your headline and tagline. The headline is the title of a page or post. A tagline is a small amount of text which serves to clarify a thought. Make sure that headlines and taglines clearly communicate the core goal of your product and write them from a user’s perspective to get their attention.
If possible, try to write your headlines in an action-oriented way. You can do this by using verbs and sentences that imply an action. For instance, we could have a headline saying: ‘Keep your site optimized with the Yoast SEO Premium plugin!’ This shows people one of the core values of our plugin, and making it active will motivate a lot more people to actually try it.
4: A picture is worth a thousand words
Don’t underestimate the importance of great and authentic images. They can also help you make the mission of your business and site clear to your audience. For most products, it is easy to find pictures that reflect the purpose of your website. Think about what you want to tell your audience, keep your mission in mind, while choosing your images.
If you are selling candy, make sure to put pictures of tasty candy on your homepage. If you’re selling solar panels, you could definitely take some great shots of your panels right after placing them or happy customers in front of their house. For those of you that sell things like consultancy or plugins, it can feel difficult to find suitable pictures. Try to think about what images support the message you’re trying to send or images that are recognizable to your audience.
5: Be consistent in your communication
As you can read above, it’s important to keep your mission in mind with everything you do and create. That’s why you should make sure that your content, headings, images and site structure match the mission statement on your site. This is also the case for your other ways of communicating, such as social media posts, customer service, offline store, advertisements and what else. Make sure to create an experience that’s the same on every page or any other way that people come into contact with your business.
Final words on your mission statement
Businesses are born of ideas, some of which are great, some are not. But they’re all born out of the idea that what you have to offer is special, and adds something to the market. That is your mission! And that mission, that goal, that promise, should be well reflected on your website! That’s why it’s important to write down your mission statement, but also communicate it to your audience.
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