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Stop doing websites

November 12, 2008

To whom it may concern,

Please stop doing websites.

By website, I mean a place that people go to once to get information. You’ve seen these people in your analytics package (and if you don’t have the decency to have an analytics, then really, stop doing your website.)

The people come, give your page a hit, and then leave. Never to return. In my opinion, you and all the people out there doing websites like it’s 1999 are sort of wrecking the experience.

Now, instead of doing a website, think about what kind of tool you will offer your consumers. The people who for that first second, decided to come to your site. Look, think about it. Is Google a website? Is Facebook a website?

Google in 1998

Image via Wikipedia

No, these are tools. In Google’s case, it’s a tool for finding things (like this blog). Facebook is a tool for connecting people. YouTube is a tool for connecting people’s videos to people. These aren’t websites. They are something entirely different.

They don’t think about why someone will come to their site, they think about why someone will come back.

That’s what you should me making. Not a place where someone can learn ‘about us’, or ‘company history’, or ‘mission’. Those things are about as relevant to someone who comes to your site as what you had for breakfast this morning. So be relevant. With a tool that makes them come back.

“But I sell widgets”, you plead. Anyway, it’s different in B2B. B2B sites must exist for the engineers/purchasing people/customers.

I disagree. Just because someone is at work, and it’s their job to find you, that doesn’t mean you have to bore them to death with an online brochure. In fact, you’re in an even better position to give your customers a tool to do their jobs. That’s something that will ensure they think of you first.

My advice, get rid of anything from your website that seems like about us, company history and mission statement page. Go to Wikipedia and update that instead. Then think about why someone should come back to your site.

When you have that figured out, you won’t have a website anymore.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2008 9:40 am

    Excellent point of view. There is a lot of truth in what you say for certain types of web applications.

    Please keep in mind that not all web sites are part of a marketing plan that has a purpose of creating a following. Some web sites are designed to be a part of the decision making or purchase process of products that have a life cycle of years. They may lead you in the post-purchase process to another web site that is focusing on retention or consumer relationships, but we advocate that you create web sites that fill the need of the marketing process your audience is most interested in at that moment. This avoids a common problem of information overload which often leads to web sites with poor performance.

    I.E. I want to buy your product but I land on a page that is designed to influence 13 different audiences because you are trying to be all things to all people.

  2. November 13, 2008 1:59 pm

    No, I agree. This was a rant at its finest that painted many things are relevant with the same irrelevant brush.

    My rant was because we’re about to embark on the redesign of the kind of website I think should be totally re-thought. I pitched some rethink ideas, got turned down, and thus, will in populate the internets with a site I would rather wasn’t there.

    Still, a fella’s gotta eat. And while I think it could be done better, it’s a place to get more info about a complicated product.

    But at least I made the client think. Which I know you’re doing.

  3. November 13, 2008 3:02 pm

    Well, it was a might good rant then! 8)

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