Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my dentist. Like most dentists I’ve been to, it’s a small operation — basically just one dentist and a couple of assistants. They’re not necessarily interested in marketing or growing their business. No Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter account. They’re not interested in reaching a new audience or being relevant. They’re just serving their local community, and many of their patients have been with them for a long time.
When the dentist first discovered that I work on WordPress.com, she was ecstatic. She didn’t have a website, but has wanted one for a long time. She just hasn’t had the time or technical knowledge to get started. Even basic things like signing up for an account is too big of a hurdle. Her business is already listed on Google, so what’s the rush?
I thought this would be an easy win. Get her set up with a free plan on WordPress.com, pick a business theme, fill out some basic info, and we’re done! Eventually we could even evolve the site to include testimonials and useful information for potential patients. But a year after we first talked about it, we still haven’t made the site. Why? She’s just too busy and can’t even find the time to sign up for an account. Even if I took care of the site setup and design, it’s still a hurdle for her. Not to mention the ongoing “maintenance” of her site after the initial setup (blogging, SEO, marketing, etc.).
Based on some recent research we’ve conducted at Automattic, this is more common than I realized. Small business owners are starved for time, and it’s hard to squeeze anything into their schedule. We need to make it as easy as possible to make a site. Even the small tasks may take up too much time for our customers.
Like most of the findings in the research, this wasn’t surprising, but it’s helpful to intentionally consider who we are designing for and the challenges they face.