Fresh after Christmas, my mind can’t help, but wander back years ago to my  childhood.  My family had a unique Christmas tradition in that on Christmas Day night, my parents would hide my Christmas presents around the house.  Christmas presents are fun, but the fun of discovery, of opening drawers and cabinets in search of treasure; that is amazing.  I would watch my parent’s faces for clues as to whether I was near one of the an object of desire.  When they were all found; then we could open them and play for the rest of the night.

I cherish these memories.  What if my parents had done things differently?  What if instead of hiding them under the couch in the living room; my present was buried three feet down in the backyard or on the roof (more plausible because Santa could have dropped it while making his way to the chimney).  If they had done it this way, my memory of that night would hardly be one of happiness.  It would be one of frustration and loss.  Fortunately, most parents would never dream of putting their children through that.

Unfortunately, businesses do it all the time with their customers.  A customer comes to their website looking for something, but after several minutes of futility leave frustrated.  The frustration they feel is now associated with the business’ reputation.  Not a good thing.  Having a website that is easy to navigate is crucial for that reason.  I’ve had several companies that have asked me for SEO or social media services thinking that their problem is that people aren’t able to find their site.  A look at their analytics quickly reveals that people are finding their site, but are leaving because they either can’t find what they’re looking for or it simply isn’t there.

Our websites should be filled with relevant information and it should be easy to find that info.  By studying a site’s analytics, valuable trends and patterns can be discovered that can greatly enhance the flow and usability of the site.  Sometimes this can mean having to make major changes to the site, but its better than leaving it on the roof.