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Key to online success

Visitors to a website simply hate playing the guessing game, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2005 19:10 IST

"If you chase two rabbits, both will escape" - Unknown

And if that doesn't convince you to chase one rabbit then read on what Drucker has to say "The great mystery isn't that people do things badly but that they occasionally do a few things well. The only thing that is universal is incompetence. Strength is always specific! Nobody ever commented, for example, that the great violinist Jascha Heifetz probably couldn't play the trumpet very well."
- Peter Drucker

To prove my point I am picking up two lines from the above quote 'Incompetence is universal' and 'strength is specific'. How true this holds for an online business. On the web there are tens and thousands of sites offering similar services. An extreme situation where the customer is the king, the queen and everything. He isn't just your raison d'être but also an extremely pampered and spoilt consumer. So how then do you acquire, please and retain this customer?

The answer lies in Focus. By focusing on your strengths. By offering to the customer what you are best at. It's important to remember that when first-time visitors click on to your website, you've got only a few seconds to grab their attention. Web surfers are an impatient bunch. If they can't figure out the purpose of your site quickly, then they'll click off elsewhere. Visitors to a website simply hate playing the guessing game.

Many people even now have the impression that Yahoo is merely a search engine, whereas it offers practically every service under the sun. Google on the other hand has focused well on its sole competence - search technology. It's now branched out in service offers like adsense, adwords and froogle which again are branches of its core competence - search technology.

Taking about core competence, management gurus Prahalad and Hamel suggest three factors to help identify core competencies in a company.

1. A core competence provides potential access to a wide variety of markets.

2. A core competence should make a significant contribution to the perceived customer benefits of the end product.

3. A core competence should be difficult for competitors to imitate.

In Prahalad's view a tree-like model is constructed around this concept, where core competencies, dispersed over the company, form the roots that nourish core products that in their turn "engender business units, whose fruits are end products".

Simply put what it all means is focus your business and work on what you are best at.

How do you focus your website?

According to Krug, the principle of satisfice dictates the visitor experience of a website. What this principle means is that visitors don't make a planned or a logical decision on a website. They simply go where the website leads them or go to things that attract them.

Taking into account the above principle the following points are worth mentioning.

1. Keep home page content to the minimal. Remember every extra word on the homepage may lead the visitor's mind to a different direction.

2. Eye candy isn't always sweet. Animation and other shock and awe on a website simply chases the visitor away.

3. Don't make your website a trash can for unnecessary links. Just remove every irrelevant link.

4. Content isn't king when it's irrelevant to the theme and purpose of the website.

Conclusion

Focus is the keyword to the success of any website. It's better to be the Jack of one trade rather than master of none.

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.Cyberzest.comand editswww.MidnightEdition.comyou can email him on puneet@cyberzest.com

First Published: Nov 02, 2005 00:00 IST