You may have seen the humorous play by Richard Bean, One Man, Two Guvnors. It’s the crazy tale of a guy who becomes separately employed by two people, each of whom’s existence must remain unknown to the other, and each of whom he must also keep happy despite the inevitable conflicts of interest that arise as his rather dramatic story unfolds.
A recent discussion with a client reminded me of the similarity of this scenario and successfully managing a new website build. Except with a website build, I see double the number of bosses to please. The four being Google, you (the owner), the web designer, and your prospective visitors.
Ensure all four are happy and things will be looking good. And that would be easy if their motivations were all aligned – which they rarely are. So it’s a case of picking which guvnors carry the most clout and keeping them happy at the possible expense of the others.
So which one does carry the most clout? Let’s look and see:
Guvnor #1, The Big G – Google.
Make Google happy and your website will be found by people using the world’s biggest search engine. Broadly speaking, “happiness” for Google equals two things: Number 1, them knowing exactly what to rank you for; and Number 2, them seeing their decision justified by searchers who click on your website’s link then staying on your site for a reasonable time.
How can Google “know” what to rank you for? By digesting your website’s content – that is, text. And the more of it, the better. Pages and pages of great content makes Google’s life much easier. And it also helps with the second goal – ensuring visitors stay for a decent chunk of time.
There’s no doubting the power of Google – without them you are struggling. So they go into the list of top Guvnors.
Guvnor #2, You – The Business Owner.
You pay the bills and have to live with the project after everyone else has left the room. Most owners naturally want costs to be controlled and to see results from their investment. Of course they also want to look good. Sometimes that leads them to include nice pictures of the team, the company offices and even some lucky clients.
Ask any web developer to name the one thing that stalls most new website projects and most will say “getting the content”. Most clients struggle to write it and begrudge paying someone else to do it. So they’re happiest when the site goes live with as little content as they can get away with.
The problem is , that’s not so good for the big guvnor G. So sorry Business Owner, you’re in the lower quartile of Guvnors even though you do pay the bills.
Guvnor #3, Your Web Developer
Everyone wants to be proud of their work, and web developers are no different. A lot of their new business comes from people who see the web developer’s reference in the footer of a website they like. Now that makes every project not just an income earning opportunity, but also an opportunity to gain new business.
And that means there can be a drive to showcase their talents – whether those talents are required for the project or not.
So design driven developers tend to load up a website with lots of beautiful images. Media driven companies have videos at every turn. Software-developer-focused souls use the latest web platforms and multiple gizmos throughout the site that look groovy for other tech-minded people. All of which is nice if the site’s purpose is to make geeks smile or designers chuffed. But that’s not its purpose, is it? So, web developers, off to the lower end of the Guvnor rankings you go.
Guvnor #4, Your Prospect
Say hello to the top dog of Guvnor land. This person has to be happy for the project to be deemed a success. Yes, their happiness ranks above even Google’s. I know of websites ranking well on Google that produce less business profit than sites ranking below them. Sure, all sites need some traffic – I get that. Nevertheless, achieving a top level ranking on Google is not the most important outcome – getting the prospect visitor to convert is. And trust me, happy prospects convert better than dissatisfied ones.
So what makes your prospects happy? Your answers to this question need to drive your next website development project.
Perhaps it’s about trust. So show lots of customer case stories, please. Maybe it’s about expertise in solving a specialised problem – therefore, downloadable mini reports that share your words of wisdom. Or maybe you have no idea. In that case, you need to conduct some research before anyone starts tapping away on their keyboard.
And guess where a good place to start is? The Google Analytics account of your old website.
Usually there are some gems in there to guide you on what people are really looking for. Our initial Website Review project digs into this exact space when helping you plan your next build. Results from this small engagement are frequently used to brief web development teams and avoid any multiple Guvnor confusion.
Sound like a plan? Guvnor?