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« Merging Web Usability and Online Marketing | Main | The Shift in Internet User Demographics »

Ego: How to Destroy Your Business Web Site

The Quickest Way to Crash Your Own Web Site
Over the last decade there is one consistent vice that has worked against countless web sites. This vice is an egotistical mindset in relation to your web site.  It is specific to how you present your information to your users.  In many cases companies and web developers share a significant amount of responsibility.  Everyone feels the need to flex their online muscle and wisdom. The end result is users getting left out in the cold. Your users are the foundation of your web existence. "No users, no traffic, no income."  You cannot afford to alienate users. You need to start by recognizing the problems associated with an egotistical mindset.  After you've done that the solution is pretty simple.

Web Development Firms
Far too many development studios and ad agencies approach their web projects like art.  It is your best interest to create a web site that strikes a balance between graphics and contentThe most effective web sites have great content supported by a clean and simple design.  In order for most developers to achieve this it only requires a small change in mindset.  Yet, there are very few firms that "get it." Remember it's more important to be useful than cool.

Too Company Centric

Companies who get others to create their web site are not immune from the adverse effects of being egotistical online. Many companies make a mess of their own web sites or a web strategy. These companies hire great web development firms and then insist on dictating how their web site should be built. Web developers across the globe have heard the following numerous times: "We're hiring you to do the work and you'll do it our way."  Companies need to hire web development firms with a proven track record.  After you have established your faith in the development firm of your choice let them leverage their expertise with your online goals.

If you or your company maintains its own web site make sure you are focusing on the needs of your user. Go to almost any web site and find an "about us" or "our services" page. Count how many times you see the following words at a beginning of each sentence: "(The company name), Our, My, or We." You need to let your users know how you are going to help them.  This starts with taking your ego out of the equation.  Smart companies know how to craft their online messaging to connect with the user

The Antidote: Staying Relevant to the User's Needs
The simplest antidote to an online ego is ensuring user relevancy.  In Jakob Nielsen's HOME RUN acronym the "R" stands for "Relevant to the User's needs."  The concept is so simple, yet so difficult for web site owners and companies to comprehend.  You need to make sure you web site stays relevant to your user's needs.  If you make your content easy to use and meaningful to your users it's not as difficult to be successful online. You need to focus on being user centric.  The information should be presented for the user's benefit, not yours.  Dr. Joe Vitale said it best "get out of your ego and focus on your user's ego."

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