HomePostsJan 09, 2009

You want to create a website but why? Make sure you can answer that question...

The urge to create a website comes from many different places and can be motivated by a number of different ends. Some individuals and businesses create websites because “everyone is on the web now” and it becomes an act of due diligence. Others create a website because they were offered services for free/cheap and thought “why not?” Still others see the journey as a technological adventure, something they’ve never done before and want to say they have.

Of all the various reasons that exist as inspiration and/or motivation to create a little spot on the web for you and what you have to say, there’s one that stands out. There’s one reason that leads to great websites, leads to innovation on-line, leads, even, to income and notoriety. This one reason is probably less common than you think but it’s the only real reason web sites prosper and thrive.

Because there is a goal

It seems utterly trivial to even mention it out loud, doesn’t it? Who builds a website without a goal? Why go through the time and effort, why spend the money, and why go through the hassle if there’s no reason to do it? And yet, time and time again, websites are built, time is wasted, money is spent, and hassles are created without a solid outcome at the forefront of this flurry of action.

As a thought experiment, think of a popular website. In fact, think of ten of them. Now, think about why they are popular. This should go a long way towards convincing you that a good website needs a goal. I’ll let a few and take an educated guess as to the goal they had.

Twitter: To popularize the micro-blogging format

Amazon: To sell a tons of books

Facebook: To act as an easy way for new students to become acquainted with Harvard

eBay: To help one subset of people get rid of their extra stuff and for another to get stuff for cheap. Either that or they wanted to make it easy for people to rip each other off anonymously.

Wikipedia: To democratize information and/or to gather colloquial and hard to find information.

Try it out on Alexa’s list of the most popular websites in the world (www.alexa.com/site/ds/top_sites) . I can pretty much guarantee you won’t find a website on there was created without a goal in mind.

If you’re looking to create a website, why? Should anyone care? Are you doing it just to do it or because you think you should? If so, is it really worth your time. If you already have a website, what is it doing for you? Do you want more out of it? Did it’s raison d’etre change once or twice or several times?

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