eStrategy: Does Website Ranking Matter?

Do website features matter?

Let's admit it, we all love beauty pageants.

No, I am not referring to the Miss Universe or Miss World contests where contestants want us to respect their intellect by watching them strut around in bikinis. It does take a unique intellect to devise such an argument. Unfortunately, it is not the contestants!

I am referring to the business beauty contents that senior leaders wittingly or unwittingly - enter their companies in and hope to win big. One such contest is the company website rating and ranking by Dalbar. Don't get me wrong, there are others but Dalbar is perhaps the most prominent of them all. If I may, the top rated website rating contest!

Just like beauty pageants, winning the website feature and function run off is meaningless if your focus is on value. Do you take Miss Universe to be the most intelligent person in the world? Her vital stats were on display but failed to make the connection with her IQ perhaps an important measure of intellect. Similarly, the website feature and function contests fail to make the connection with business value.

Then there is the whole question of skewed results. Do you take Miss Universe to be the most beautiful woman in the world? This is a rhetorical question, if there was any.

Now, let us ask ourselves the million dollar question: how will you change your eStrategy as a result of the rankings? In other words, what decisions, if any, will you take after you read your Dalbar ranking?

If you start implementing more functions and features on your website then you are the beauty pageant contestant who hit the gym and took singing and dancing lessons to win the contest next year. Unfortunately for her, her hard work might win her the pageant next year but her intellectual standing will remain unchanged. Unfortunately for you, your website might win the contest next year but the business value it creates might not budge an inch!

I have often looked at Dalbar and other services that provide ratings and rankings of websites with amusement. These costly comparisons are based on website features and functions. The reason I characterize this comparison as “costly” is not because of the subscription companies pay to Dalbar or some other service provider. Unfortunately, that is the least of the costs associated with this adventure. This comparison is costly because of the implicit assumption that more features and functions mean more shareholder value.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Before you enter any such contest, subscribe to their results or simply take them seriously in any other way, please understand the following:

  1. An organization creates value through its business model:
    1. There is one and only one business model for an organization
    2. Everything the organization is and does flows from its business model
    3. An organization's success or failure in creating shareholder value is driven by its business model but determined by its business capability
      1. A website is an organizational interface. Nothing more, nothing less.
      2. The business model determines what, if anything, this organizational interface will do to enable it
      3. It follows therefore:
        1. Two companies cannot, or more appropriately should not, have the same business model they must differentiate in order to survive, leave alone thrive
        2. Similarly, two companies should not strive to have the same website features and functions because each feature and function has different value creation potential based on their respective business model

Now, how does your decision to mimic your competitors' website look?

Sourabh Hajela is a management consultant and trainer with over 20 years of experience creating shareholder value for his Fortune 50 clients. His consulting practice is focused on IT strategy, alignment and ROI. For more information, please visit

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