The Shocking Truth About Why Most Websites Suck: HiPPOs

There’s a great line in Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics 2.0 book: most websites suck because HiPPOs create them.

A HiPPO, in this context, isn’t a lumbering jungle beast.

It’s an acronym for the ‘Highest Paid Person’s Opinion’.

As Kaushik points out, a HiPPO should actually be the last thing that dictates decsion making about a website. His point is that there is absolutely no need, in the age of good and free web analytics software (such as Google Analytics), for us to make decisions EXCEPT on the basis of real data from real life customers or prospects telling the story of how THEY are interacting with our websites.

So you don’t like the colour black for your website? That’s your little foible, and you’re entitled to it.

But it is completely irrelevant if solid data from testing or experience is telling you that customers and prospects LOVE the colour black on your website and it causes them to do twice as much business with you as any other colour.

I talked to one business owner last week who told me she was in the process of changing to a new website.

The reason? She was ‘bored’ with the old one.

That ain’t a good reason!

To reiterate, decisions about our websites shouldn’t be made on the basis of boredom, hunches, or how the business across the street has designed their site.

They should now be based on DATA. Data that we get from having software like Google Analytics installed on our site, thinking carefully about what that data is telling us and giving a fair test to different approaches.

Unfortunately, this business owner didn’t know Google Analytics existed, much less have it installed on her site.

She didn’t have a clue whether even a single person was actually even VISITING her site, yet she was shelling out thousands to get a new site. Money completely down the drain, in all likelihood.

I don’t blame the business owner per se. She’d had bad advice.

But you don’t need to fall into the same trap. The data provided by good web analytics and internet marketing practice mean that the old practices of decision by HiPPO or guesswork, followed by hoping for the best, can be consigned to history.

If you work in a business and your website or marketing strategy is created by a HiPPO, then you must do everything you can to STOP them. And if the HiPPO is yours, don’t pull the trigger without first getting some decent marketing advice, from a genuine small business internet marketing consultant, based on DATA.

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