The power behind your website12 Mar 2010
This is a guest blog post from Doan Phong, my buddy, a web developer from Synble.
There might not be as so easy that nowadays everyone on earth with little money can create their own website. But what behind their website does really matter? There might be a website from a group of people working for free as a hobby with the aim to provide the information or to make a community around them. There might be non-profit organizations making a website just to provide the latest news or benefits for their users. There might be firms that want to make profit from the website.There are thousands of reasons that make a website exists, but let think about your website as a business behind.
A business and a website can be one but also can be totally two different entities. There might be the business comes before the website and/or the business emerges after the website. In both cases, it doesn't matter you plan your business first or later, the business and the website can go in totally different directions. You can have a very nice idea from the beginning but it is not consistent and solid, later on the website is stuck in its own way and leads to wrong direction. Similarly, you can have a very nice website and the business comes up but is it the business-driven website or website-driven business. Finally, they are still completely different entities. What really matters is how we merge them into one and make them consistent.
Let’s think about the business of your website. What is your product, service or the value that you bring to users or customers? How can you earn money from that service or product? Answering these questions in a clear and simple way will make us think again about the business behind. Business is all about how we bring value to customers and gain the profit from it; that can be thought as our value. Thus, there must be two involved parties, the company and the customers. If we are failed to bring value to one of these, our business is failed or in other word, that's somehow not a business anymore. A business work is very far from the hobby work, even though both can sometimes make the same result. A hobby work is only concerned about our interests and it really doesn't care about the customers and our value. In contrast, business work put the strong care on the value of both sides. A website is the mean to transfer the value to users and/or customers. So let's think carefully that you are doing the website as a hobby work or a business work? If you cannot see the difference, let answer the simple question “Why are you doing this feature?” Are you doing it because you like it and you want to do it for users or there is a solid reason due to your long term business strategy? What is the value for both sides when you have this feature implemented?
The business work is the long term strategy that can bring the success or wealth to your company. Thus, it must be well studied and planned. Look for a business opportunity, find the users demand, study the market and specify a clear and simple business model. These works are just from the top levels. Come to deeper levels, we have to define clear, solid and reasonable the features that we have to implement. Always try to answer the question “why we do this feature A but not this feature B, is there solid reason for it or it is our business strategy for it, does it bring value for both sides?” Hence, when there is anything changes to the feature, there should be a valid reason behind it.
As a final word, if you are doing a website as a business, try to think carefully and work out your business first. Try to answer the simple questions like “Why do you do this?”; “Does it bring value for us and for customers?” Business is nothing than bringing value to both sides, so if we can make these simple things, the we can make out our business.