Blog Design Thoughts

A website is just a means to an end

Small business owners are not website focused. They require an approach that recognizes their entire business and context.

The quote above was a highlight from a recent customer survey conducted by Automattic – it seems pretty simple right. Or is it? You see, visit the homepage of most services that allow you to create a website these days – and most still say something about creating a website. It’s pretty clear from that insight above though that customers are not website focused. But what does that mean – what do you do with that insight?

I think we often get caught up thinking our customers want to go sit in a coffee shop, behind their shiny new Apple MacBook and spend the next few hours creating a pixel perfect website – but they don’t – that insight says as much. To me, it means that a website is not the end goal that a customer has in mind – it’s not like they have some checklist in their head and one of the items is called – Website – and they searching for the right service to use to check off that task – perhaps there are few that need it solely for that purpose – but I would argue that the lifetime value of those customers will be low.

From a product perspective, I believe we have to keep reminding ourselves that a website is a means to an end, it’s not the end in and of itself. In order to create a successful product – you should be building and positioning your product in a way that addresses the needs (or Jobs-to-be-done) that your target customers are looking to undertake. I work on the eCommerce side of Automattic – and we also find ourselves having to address this – very few customers come looking for just a website – they looking for a way to sell something – and the product that is best suited to help them sell that ‘thing’ in the best possible way to the largest number

Note: this post was originally published on th Automattic design blog.

Blog Thoughts


Focus. Such a simple word, but why is it so hard to maintain, never mind achieve!

I was watching an interview from June 2017 between Gustaf Alstromer a former product lead for Growth at Airbnb & Ed Baker a former Head of Growth at Uber in which they spoke about Scaling Growth if you interested in watching the full interview you can see it below…

Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything short term that will remain, like successful for a very long time so the best advice is invest for the longterm, whether it’s SEO, whether it’s paid marketing, whether it’s virality, take a couple of years, look out and see where do we want to be. And aim for, look for channels that actually do have true scale. Like channels that have hundreds of millions of people discovering products through those channels. And then invest for the longterm.

Gustaf Alstromer

Something about what he said struck a chord with me – it’s really easy to get caught up in all the various acquisition channels we have now – and it’s tempting to try to add your companies voice to another one of them, but this view really challenged me to take a step back and assess not only the channels your company/product could have success in but what channels are you currently showing the greatest success and growth in and make sure you are doing the best possible job you could be doing there to get the maximum value from those channels, before you start looking elsewhere.