I learned a long time ago that one of the biggest chal­lenges for a sales­per­son to make a sale is to get over the customer’s objec­tions and not add to the list of objec­tions. Simply put, a per­son could walk into a store ready to buy a prod­uct cash in hand but run into obsta­cle after obsta­cle in the store to the point they walk out not pur­chas­ing any­thing. I have. Let’s move to the 21st cen­tury. Web sites are increas­ingly becom­ing the first and often only con­tact point between a busi­ness and its cus­tomers. A web­site can throw up road­blocks or it can smooth a path to mak­ing and retain­ing cus­tomers. Businesses need to under­stand that their web­sites do matter.

Let me give you an exam­ple that trig­gered me to write this arti­cle. I am a cus­tomer of a par­tic­u­lar com­pany. I was con­tem­plat­ing the addi­tion of their stock to my stock port­fo­lio. But after deal­ing with their web­site I am hav­ing sec­ond thoughts. It felt like I was deal­ing with a site that was half baked, didn’t have the infor­ma­tion I was look­ing for, and gave me baf­fling mes­sages, like I didn’t know my own birth­date when in fact they should have been say­ing, “You already have an account with us (dummy).” Their site looks and feels like it was devel­oped by amateurs.

Now you have to fol­low my crazy rea­son­ing. If they don’t have the tech­ni­cal where­withal and desire to have a good web­site, then they may not have the tech­ni­cal skills or desire to han­dle my needs. I may not want to con­tinue using them. If oth­ers feel the same a loss of many cus­tomers poten­tial or exist­ing could cause a down­turn in their busi­ness. That would make buy­ing their stocks a bad thing. One nor­mally doesn’t make stock deci­sions based on a web­site, that is just stu­pid. There are com­pany fun­da­men­tals, P/E ratios, chart­ing, tech­ni­cals, pivot points etc that should be con­sid­ered. But in the end, some­thing as sim­ple as a poorly designed web­site could be the obsta­cle that turns me away from being a cus­tomer and own­ing stock in their company.

Now I am biased. I work on devel­op­ing web­sites every day. I believe I know what a good site is and I cer­tainly know what a good site is for me. It is one that func­tions well pro­vid­ing the solu­tions a cus­tomer needs. A good site doesn’t have to be extremely beau­ti­ful as long as it is func­tional. Scottrade’s web­site (scottrade.com) I find is ugly as sin. But I use it all the time because it does the job. Bing’s land­ing page (bing.com) is quite beau­ti­ful but I don’t use it. Oh, I guess the search engine is quite func­tional, noth­ing wrong there but being beau­ti­ful doesn’t make me want to use it… in some ways, makes me avoid it because it is func­tion­ally dis­tract­ing. Amazon’s site (amazon.com) isn’t ugly but it cer­tainly isn’t pretty either. But look at their sales! Their web­site is a well oiled machine mak­ing it easy for any­one to buy.

I have had clients that stress over how good it looks and com­pletely ignore how well it works. They have ignored my pleas to focus first on their customer’s needs. I have seen many of the web­sites com­pletely fail. I have had clients that had ugly sites but made a ton of money off of them because they put up very few road­blocks. The look of a web­site can and does throw up road­blocks to gain­ing a cus­tomer so I do rec­om­mend improv­ing the look with­out destroy­ing the func­tion­al­ity. But the lack of func­tion­al­ity will always throw up larger and harder to over­come road­blocks. A func­tional web­site can always be spiffed up a bit.

Businesses need to under­stand that their web­sites do mat­ter. I believe that there are sev­eral com­mon mis­takes that com­pa­nies make when it comes to devel­op­ing a web­site but the biggest ones come down to money. Having a web­site isn’t cheap. It costs a lot to develop and main­tain an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing site that func­tions well meet­ing the customer’s needs. But com­pared to other meth­ods of get­ting and retain­ing cus­tomers web­sites are extremely cost effec­tive. Unfortunately, many com­pa­nies don’t under­stand this, throw­ing too lit­tle money and very lit­tle other com­pany resources at devel­op­ing the site. The results are often a site that more or less looks good but has very lit­tle func­tion­al­ity. More impor­tantly, they haven’t allo­cated the money and resources to main­tain the site. As such, the site lan­guishes and becomes a major road­block. Instead of gain­ing and retain­ing cus­tomers, they push them away.

Ironically, I have seen sites that were pur­ported to have cost hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to develop. The site is awe­some, at least it looks that way. But when peo­ple actu­ally start using the site, it falls flat because it doesn’t meet their needs, it only meets the spec­i­fi­ca­tions that the com­pany had, make it awe­some. Awesomeness seems to always trans­late into look great as opposed to work great.

The really weird part of all this, aes­thet­ics are very per­sonal. What looks pleas­ing to one per­son may look ugly to another. There have to be peo­ple at Scottrade that find their web­site aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing. When devel­op­ing a web­site where ‘the look’ is the top pri­or­ity, a lot of energy is put into that look. ‘The look’ can even pre­vent good func­tion­al­ity because that func­tion­al­ity can ruin ‘the look’. At the end, the web­site is put out, the own­ers of ‘the look’ are proud par­ents only to be told they have the ugli­est still­born in the world.

Businesses need to under­stand and act accord­ingly that their web­sites do mat­ter. They need to focus on pro­vid­ing the solu­tions to their customer’s needs be it a prod­uct, infor­ma­tion, or sup­port. They need to worry about how the cus­tomer is going to use the web­site and antic­i­pate their customer’s expec­ta­tions. They need to allo­cate the resources needed to develop, main­tain and even expand the func­tion­al­ity of the web­site and not let it lan­guish. And yes, they need to work on mak­ing sure it all looks good too. When they have done that well they have elim­i­nated a bunch of objec­tions that the cus­tomer might have run into and cha-ching!

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:


Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...


Michael Kors Outlet Online wholesalejerseyschina Field Hockey Jerseys Baseball Jerseys Cheap Borsa Hobo Gucci Oakley Sunglasses In China Jeremy Hill Kids Jersey Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys China Coach Factory Online Sale Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys China Us Louis Vuitton Outlet Cheap UGG Boots NBA Jerseys Junior UGG Boots Juliette Michael Kors Wallets New Cheap NFL Jerseys Not From China Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale NBA Christmas Jerseys Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Cheap NFL Jerseys