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 of people will succeed in the end – not the one that just says build your (insert adjective here) eCommerce website today.

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