Gerry McGovern's blog today discusses language in a riveting post that also addresses the (mainly) online business aspect of today's language. He says, in part that "search is the greatest laboratory of human behavior that has ever existed." McGovern talks about how various global governments are trying to change the name of swine flu, and why it is too late. The issue is important, and I recommend you take time to read his brief but focused thoughts. He indicates that when words such as "swine flu" go wild on the Web, "you must use those words because otherwise you will not be found. If you are not found then you are not useful. Before you have any chance of shifting the debate, you must first become part of it. Using the wrong words," says McGovern, "is like ships passing in the night: you are going one way and your customer is going another. This powerful message on communication provides links that help reinforce his premise.
This is a question Gerry McGovern asks in today's article on Giraffe Forum. It's something we all need to ask ourselves, no matter what size of business we operate. McGovern asks if the feedback you're getting for your website truly reflects the needs of the majority of your customers. He goes on to ask if the customers who give feedback reflect "the top tasks of the average customer or do they have exceptional tasks and demands? Because," he says, "if their tasks and demands are exceptional then changing your website to meet them may be the worst thing you could do." He notes that "many commercial websites attempt to do and be everything for everybody. The intentions are good but the results are not." These are powerful words. How are we swayed? By whom? Are these ideas we should consider? Absolutely. Everything should be considered, but we need to look at our primary market, and make sure that any additions, deletions, or changes are done wisely, given that most of us have limited time and money. What is your focus? What are your goals? Do the very best to present them in the most professional manner possible. Being a nice guy in terms of response to ideas may not be best for the business. I've seen websites crumble because the owners didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and they were adopting this idea and that idea (which may have been good, but just not at this time or on this site) and ended up with complexity and confusion for visitors. Analyze. Organize. Avoid confusing your visitors. Stick to your goals and focus on them. As McGovern says, "Your website can be like a mirage, promising an endless space full of limitless possibilities. But if you keep filling it up you will turn it into a desert of complexity where everything seems to be in reach but nothing really is." Consider subscribing to the Giraffe Forum. It'll come to you in email form. I've learned more from Gerry McGovern than from any other Web expert. And there are many others who are excellent. He simply tops my list.