WebRef Update: Featured Article: Web Site Personality Check
Web Site Personality Check
You spot him or her across the room! Perfect looks, perfectly dressed, perfectly poised. Yet, you find your attention drawn away from the beauty and perfection to the laughing woman, the one with the offbeat clothes and a crowd around her. Or to the man who is far too serious - the one who makes you think in new directions.
Personality, charisma, direction... your Web site needs it to be successful. You can get by with a beautiful, technically perfect site. But unless you want to risk falling into oblivion in an overloaded bookmark file, you must put up the signs so your perfect customers will recognize you when they arrive.
I have taught marketing to hundreds of people who are preparing to start their first business. Without fail, when asked to define their customer, their response is - everyone, or everyone with a dog, or everyone who cooks. Dangerous words if you would like your business to succeed. The more people you can eliminate as potential customers, the more successful you will be.
Wait a minute! How can you succeed by getting rid of customers? That is the only way you can succeed. If you can take an honest look at your product or service, and work hard to identify who will NOT be likely to purchase your product, you will have valuable tools for creating a site to satisfy the customers who WILL build your success.
Recently, while doing a marketing research project for an art related site, I discovered three sites with very different personalities. www.Art.com is one of the most popular art sites on the Web. It is clear within seconds that they are serving the general population with prints, posters and framing. Framing service is fast, easy and affordable. Note the shortcuts or quick picks for everything. This site is not serving a customer base that savors the act of buying art. Instead, the vibe is: "Show me something I like (out of a wide selection) and check me out."
In total contrast is www.artlister.com. Visually, the two sites are similar, but you do not read very far before you realize that you are in a different world. The pricing alone will help - there is a $30,000 Robert Bateman original featured on the front page. You will also find the focus is on the artist, information, interviews, etc., and a definite tone towards art as an investment.
For a completely different take on the art world, visit www.artnetweb.com/index1.html. I am very happy here, since this is a site that is clearly artsy - very much for artists, and those who appreciate art from the artist view. The look is more art, less business. The articles are a little off-beat. The art is displayed with the largest viewing size I found anywhere. Be prepared to wait for the large view, but on this site, that is OK. Click on the Projects link for pure, experimental work. The previous sites have clearer navigation, but this site's personality invites wandering rather than just "getting to the goods...."
Revised: May 10, 2000