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Is your website a tool?

May 7, 2008

What is the number one goal of a website? I would argue that if you think of a website like a product, the answer is simple: drive people back to it.

Websites that are successful at driving people back to themselves are tools. In the case of a content rich site, it might simply be a tool for learning about the world. Or it might be a tool for keeping track of your world, in the case of Twitter, Facebook, and the blogs people read.

Think about websites that have a lot of traffic. Some of them are content sites that have built in RSS feeds that let people use another tool to access the content.

With me so far? Then lets makes websites better. Marketers doing websites for their clients should ask two simple questions.

1. “How will we drive people to this site.”

The answer could be search optimization. Or other marketing efforts like ads. What matters is that one doesn’t make a website and then not tell anyone about it. So tell people about it. Which leads to the second question:

2. How will the site drive people back.

This is where thinking about a site as a product is important. Marketers use communications to drive trial, but the product drives retrial. If the product (or service) delivers on the promise, then people will use the product or service again. Same goes with a website. Give people a reason to come back, and they will.

This is how both questions are connected. The website should deliver on the promise made in the marketing efforts. If it does, people will come back.

In my opinion, don’t waste energies (and money) on a website if you can’t answer those two questions. There are a bunch of other places to get a brand in front of people. For instance, if a site was going to have a company history section, scrap it and put it up on Wikipedia. If there is a ‘what’s new’ section, scrap it and start a blog.

Unless one can clearly answer both questions asked above, there are better ways to communicate online. The era of “have to have a website” is eroding with every new tool

3 Comments leave one →
  1. mozey permalink
    May 8, 2008 1:13 am

    Well, my site which i have launhced within the past month IS DEFIANTLY a tool site. I would even go further, and call it a utility site!. Here is what it does!:

    create lols that ANIMATE!!, woohoooo, check out my blog for endless examples, its soo much of a TOOL type site, IT DOES”NT EVEN HAVE A DATABASE!. why? i simply!, do not need one!, my requests per second went from 10 to 53 simply by avoiding the database layer!.

    BUT NO ONE IS USING IT!, i do believe that its a genious idea!, the next generation of LOLS, an entier new breed, where the lols are no longer written with boring white text!, you can chose south park font, family guy font, you name the font, its there. YOU CAN HAVE your own water mark!, i dont even want credit!. There is also a community images, which you can submit to!.

    It is frustrating to code ALOT, and not to average less than 50 hits a day!. incase your interested clipmann.com.

  2. May 15, 2008 2:46 pm

    iHype.com is set to introduce something grand to bloggers who are interested in making money

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