I find it fascinating to take stock of websites today from a usability perspective. They range from organized to disheveled and there is not always a correlation between the size of the company and the intuitiveness of the website. There are incredibly smart and successful sites run from kitchen tables and there are billion dollar corporations who have such convoluted web offerings that they should be embarrassed.
To this day, there are many businesses (large and small) who do not grasp the value that a really strong website can deliver, nor do they have a hint of a strategy to consistently evolve their sites.
Think for a moment about how traditional (brick and mortar) businesses have historically presented themselves. The successful ones have been very detail-oriented, customer-focused and unafraid to test new ideas; be they pricing strategies, customer loyalty tactics, hours of operation, merchandise display, etc. Today’s sharp marketers have adopted a similar mindset online. The variables may be different, but the philosophy is identical.
There are usually clear-cut reasons why one business is really crowded and another struggles, even though they both essentially sell the same products. This is the case both on and off line. Somehow, one business is more focused on the customer experience than the other, and while the differences may not be obvious to the owner of the weaker store, they are abundantly clear to their potential customer base.
If you haven’t done so lately, I encourage you to spend some time on your own website and also the sites of your competitors. You may leave this “to-do” feeling that you have a best in class site for your industry, or you may better understand why you are not experiencing the results that you are seeking. A key point to keep in mind is that this should not be a one-time exercise, but ought to be continuous, as your serious competitors will be doing the same and always seeking out ways to gain or maintain an advantage.