Ever heard of the “Boiling Frog Story”?
It goes something like this:
“A frog that is put into a boiling water will jump out. But a frog that is put into a cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.” – wikipedia
This story is usually told metaphorically. The point it’s supposed to convey, I take it, is receptiveness, comfort zone and appropriate maneuver. Frogs that are put in an, initially, comfort area become (naturally) comfortable and thus are not receptive of upcoming pitfall and thus, unable to deploy the appropriate maneuver (fleeing) and easily fall into the big fat hole.
And I feel, this story has a strong direct relationship to web owners.
There are already a lot of websites floating in the net. But for some reason, people are not treating their websites as business-laden well… sites.
People spend money to build it, spend time to advertise it, but spend next to nothing for its maintenance. This is a ubiquitous phenomenon across all areas: retail business, education, you name it. They seem to perceive websites as a 24×7 store that automagically sows golden seed and reaps money, all by itself. A part of that notion is true, but a big chunk of it, is not.
One potential explanation to this mistaken belief is that websites are often treated as deliverable goods. You produce, I pay. You give me this feature, you get paid this much. It’s a unidirectional create-deliver-payment “timeline”, rather than a cycle. Once the goods are delivered, we act almost as if it’s all over and things will run just dandy.
What About Those Who Do Maintain?
These are often respectable web owners who understand the way the internet works and embrace it as such. They harness the power of feedback. They employ Kaizen (continuous improvement) and keep breaking their online business’ status quo.
But within the Innovation-Adoption curve (Rogers, 1962), these owners tend to fall into the “innovators and “early adopters” which effectively, only make up 1 slice of a pan of pizza.
Furthermore, a lot of those who do maintain, are still maintaining websites in a prehistoric manner. They correctly gather feedback and understand its value. Such feedbacks do allow receptiveness but they don’t do it the way websites should gather most of its feedback. Which is through actions and not based (only) on opinion.
You Know What’s Coming: Web Analytics
Web Analytics give raw data on what your customers DO. And that is the emphasis: action; not opinion, not preference, not some “I think” figures.
People do things with an inherent intention attached to it. And that still rings true in this digital realm. Would someone surfing on Dunkin Donut’s website click on “Donuts” on the navigation bar and expect to get a page full of “Peanuts”? Probably not. They click on “Donuts” to see well.. donuts; hoping to see some delicious ones with hopefully, promotions attached to it.
The nice thing about raw data is it is what it is. This is a feedback as honest as it can be (being more honest than this would constitute a lie!). It is not convoluted with some preconceived bias. What customers do, is what we see.
This kind of honest feedback is how business owners can shape their next course of action. These honest feedbacks allow them to be receptive of what’s going on and what to do next. These honest feedbacks don’t snooze business into a stagnant state; but rather, they keep businesses run forward and move upward.
One Last Thing
Here’s a remarkably stark difference from one of our clients’ Content Performance. Traffic from the exact same keyword, landing on two distinct page produce two completely different performance.
Still think it’s wise to stay any longer in that pond?