Small business owners are not website focused. They require an approach that recognizes their entire business and context.

The quote above was a highlight from a recent customer survey conducted by Automattic – it seems pretty simple right. Or is it? You see, visit the homepage of most services that allow you to create a website these days – and most still say something about creating a website. It’s pretty clear from that insight above though that customers are not website focused. But what does that mean – what do you do with that insight?

I think we often get caught up thinking our customers want to go sit in a coffee shop, behind their shiny new Apple MacBook and spend the next few hours creating a pixel perfect website – but they don’t – that insight says as much. To me, it means that a website is not the end goal that a customer has in mind – it’s not like they have some checklist in their head and one of the items is called – Website – and they searching for the right service to use to check off that task – perhaps there are few that need it solely for that purpose – but I would argue that the lifetime value of those customers will be low.

From a product perspective, I believe we have to keep reminding ourselves that a website is a means to an end, it’s not the end in and of itself. In order to create a successful product – you should be building and positioning your product in a way that addresses the needs (or Jobs-to-be-done) that your target customers are looking to undertake. I work on the eCommerce side of Automattic – and we also find ourselves having to address this – very few customers come looking for just a website – they looking for a way to sell something – and the product that is best suited to help them sell that ‘thing’ in the best possible way to the largest number of people will succeed in the end – not the one that just says build your (insert adjective here) ecommerce website today.

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

Posted by Gary Murray

Product & Focus lead at WooCommerce.


  1. At the other end, there are those like me who would rather tweak their websites and stay in their comfort zone than go out and win business.

  2. >customers are not website focused.

    This is an important lesson for everyone contributing to WordPress to understand. Most of our adult professional lives have been spent revolving around WordPress. When @johnmaeda joined us, one of the first lessons he taught us and continues to help remind us: our users are not us. This post is an excellent reminder of that. 👍🏾

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