The web management challenge is to shift your focus away from your website, technology and content, and to focus instead on the needs of your customers.Yahoo continues to under perform and be under attack. There are many reasons why Yahoo is facing challenges, even though it's still the most popular destination on the Web.
One of the reasons was articulated in an article in The New York Times on May 28, 2008. The article stated that Jerry Yang, founder and chief executive, and Susan Decker, its president, admitted that "Yahoo had gotten too close to its products and too far from its customers."
The Web changes the very roots of the relationship between the customer and the organization. The customer, not the organization, is dominant on the Web. Thus you must put the customer's needs at the absolute center of everything you do if you want to be successful.
Google makes 10times more profit than Yahoo, but Yahoo has significantly more page impressions. Google and Yahoo make most of their revenues through advertising. Advertising revenues are generated by having ads on pages. Thus, the more page impressions you have, the more revenue you should make.
So, why is Google, with significantly less page impressions than Yahoo, making 10times the profit that Yahoo does? Because Google's ads are more useful.
An advertiser once said that he knew that half of his advertising worked, he just didn't know which half. From a customer's perspective it is probably true to say that 99 percent of the advertising they are exposed to doesn't work, and maybe 1 percent of it is useful. Google is successful because it puts ads only where they will be useful to customers.
It's very hard to put the customer first. It's much easier to manage the website, the technology and the content. Tools and the things they make are much easier for us to understand and relate to. The customer is like a ghost in the machine. They come through our websites, often without us knowing they were there.
For an organization it is much easier to make a product than to satisfy a shifting need. You would think that they are one and the same-the product and the need-but they are not. The larger the organization becomes the more likely it is to create things for their own sake; because some process or some manager dictated that they should be made.
Since 1994, I have watched websites being built and managed. By far the greatest danger to the success of a website is the focus on the website itself (its content and technology) rather than what customers need from it. Web teams are among the most isolated groups within organizations. They lack that crucial and constant interaction with customers.
This lack of interaction often causes web teams to fall back on opinions and re-designs and quickly lose sight of the purpose of what they are doing. Clever, meaningless words like "interactivity", "dynamic", "portals" and "personalization" float about.
Every day you must find a way to be in touch with your customers. Stay distant from your website and close to your customers.
About the Author
Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant
, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994.