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Your Website May Actually Be (Much) Worse Thank You Think

By Erin  |  December 11, 2013  |   Business Website Tips

sample pancakes I tasted at Whole Foods Boulder

Anyone who knows me on a personal level knows I have a, ahem, few food restrictions. 

Okay, okay, more than a few.

I'm vegan with a handful of inconvenient allergies, including allergies to cane sugar, vinegar, blueberries and grapes.  I also try to avoid soy when possible and, when I'm really on a roll, gluten's out the window, too.

Yes, I'm a total delight to eat out with.  

And yes, this story ties in directly with your website. Trust me.

Ooh la la! I can actually eat these pancakes!

So there I was a couple weeks ago, walking around, getting lost in the massive maze that is (one of the 3) Whole Foods in Boulder, Colorado.

And I happen upon one of those little tables offering fresh samples of tasty food in the back.

I was about to walk past the table, as I typically do, out of habit because of my dietary restrictions. But then I heard the words "vegan" and "sugar free" coming from the mouths of one of the women working behind the table as she spoke to a fellow who had stopped in front of her.

I walked up to the table and listened to the 2 women explain their product: vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free pancakes offering both complete proteins and a delicious, nutty taste.

One of the women handed me a sample mini-pancake, hot from their griddle, speared with a toothpick.

Yuuuuummmmmmmm.

I took two more samples.

The women were smiling at me, encouraged that I was taking more samples.

Then the women proceeded to tell me about all the many benefits of their special pancake mix, and how they'd quit their day jobs to start their dream food company, and how their children had inspired them to create their special recipes, etc. etc. etc.

I kept smiling, and I told them how delicious the pancakes were.

And they looked so happy I liked their pancake mix.

Here's what I did next

I picked up a bag of their pancake mix.

I picked it up, even though I didn't want it.

Pancakes are like cookies: yummy, but not something I need to keep around my house. Because I'll eat them all, very quickly, if they're around. Don't need that.

I picked up the bag of pancake mix and the women said "Thank you!! Thank you so much!! We really appreciate it!!" and I smiled and walked away with the pancake mix in my shopping basket.

Turns out I wasn't alone

I walked past six or seven aisles before hanging a sharp left. 

I was in the bottled beverages aisle. I didn't need any bottled beverages. 

I stood there, in the middle of the bottled beverages aisle, thinking about how I picked up the bag of pancake mix.  

I didn't want it, but I didn't want to hurt those womens' feelings. They were so... nice.  They were working so hard.  They loved their product. They were looking to make a living with their new company.  And I couldn't bring myself to walk away from them after having 3 of their samples and saying how much I liked their pancakes.

So I pulled the bag of pancake mix out of my shopping basket, looked around to make sure no one was watching, and...

Guess what I saw?

Right there, where I was planning to drop the pancake mix, crammed in between the glass kombucha tea bottles and the goji berry energy drinks, was a bag of the very same pancake mix.

I obviously hadn't been alone in taking the pancake mix, running away, and then ditching it, all to avoid hurting these nice womens' feelings.

I wondered how many other bags of pancake mix had been discretely discarded on random shelves throughout the store that day.

How this relates to your website

Over the years, time after time after time, I've heard clients insist there's no need for them to upgrade their website, improve their website's functionality, or rethink their website's design. 

And so often, their confidence about not needing to improve their website comes from the positive comments they've received from their own customers, family, and friends.  

"My clients really like my site!" they say.

"My friends have told me it's one of the best sites they've seen!" they say.

In other words, I see business people making decisions about their websites based on the feedback of people who likely don't want to hurt their feelings.

Facts and data, not cheery compliments

Decisions about a business website should be made based on how a website is performing, how well it's helping a business achieve its goals (or not), and what they analytics and data say about how visitors are (or aren't) using it. 

Kind words from people who don't want to hurt your feelings tell you what you want to hear.

Facts, user testing, and actual data all paint an objective picture that allow you to make smart, informed decisions.

The moral

The moral of the story is that your website may not be as fantastic as you think if you've been relying on feedback and comments from those who would feel uncomfortable telling you anything other than "Your website is great!"

This may seem like common sense, but it's exactly the type of feedback and comments a large percentage of our clients have relied upon prior to speaking with us.

Don't make decisions about your business's website with your head in the sand.  Talk to and get the opinion of professionals (like, say, those at our Denver website design agency) who can help you determine whether your website is truly contributing to your business's vision of success... or if you've got bags of pancake mix stuffed away all over Whole Foods in Boulder.

 

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