One of the most visited websites in the world is not one with lots of content or flashy graphics. It’s actually quite plain. The site’s owner breaks all the rules for building a successful website and yet he still wins, getting more traffic and views than most of his competitors.

What site am I talking about? The Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com). No matter what your political leanings, Matt Drudge’s site has plenty of food for thought for how you should be engaging with your clients.

If something is mentioned on the Drudge Report, it gets my attention. I consider any news mentioned there as something that I should know, and the items are shorter then tweets! It’s a way to keep my finger on the pulse of things I might not otherwise pay attention to.

The simplicity is stunning: no fancy fonts or fancy graphics (when there is really major news, a quick-loading “flashing siren” image will appear above the headline).

This means that when you are about to spend a small fortune to upgrade your website, you need to think first “why are my customers here, and how can I serve them better?” You’d be surprised at how what you think is an improvement may be seen as the opposite.

In the case of the Drudge Report, it’s ultimately about three things: getting the news in an easy-to-read format; being able to read the news at a glance; and reading the news on a website that loads in under a second. And that’s what I’m after. I’m not interested in “snail-surfing” news that gives each news item three pages.

Value your customer’s time as much as they do. They’ll appreciate you more, not less!

Have you been told that you need to “add more pages” to your website to make it more Google friendly? Sure, adding relevant information (notice that key word: relevant!) to your website helps with search-engine optimization (SEO), but is it customer friendly? Does it have to be one way or the other?

The rules obviously, are not set in stone. If you read the financial pages you know there’s nothing pretty about them. You don’t need pretty. You need information. Making the stock reports “pretty” would upset customers who want information fast in an easy-to-find format (it’s been tried!).

The Drudge Report does the same thing. For people who want information and want if fast in an easy-to-read format, being a one-page website is all you need. Notice the primary thing both resources share: people know what they want and why they’re there. When people understand why they are there and know that a website is providing a service – namely, linking them to what they want to know – a website that does this effectively can be extremely powerful.

Not all of us are in the business of providing information to customers who want it fast and simple. Customers who don’t know us, or know what we do, or what we’re about need something more. Sometimes, it’s more important to have a “sticky” website that draws your readers back again than to have them come once for a half hour. A short piece of information, a tip, a photo, a quote or insight every day might be more helpful than lots of information. It depends on what your goal is. (And when you build a website or create an event, the event should be created with the goal in mind – and built around it. Not the other way around!)

As you start reading news and websites, you’ll begin to realize how many of the stories you are reading started out as press releases. When that happens, you’ll start to see how you can use the media to get your own stories placed, which drives buzz, brand recognition and most importantly, traffic.

I once almost published a book, titled The Accomplishments of Barack Obama. The only listed item would be “won the Nobel peace prize,” with the remainder blank.

I didn’t end up publishing it, although it would definitely have gotten media attention as a political gimmick and would sell as a gag gift for conservatives. I could count on it getting mentioned by conservative bloggers, which would have driven viral traffic, buzz and sales.

And if it didn’t work? All I’d have to do would be to get a Democratic sound bite condemning the book. That would surely do the job! If you are reading this article online, please tweet, share and Facebook it. If enough of you do that, and it goes viral, then Matt Drudge will hear about it, too. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the option of getting this article condemned for what it says about President Obama’s accomplishments!

issamar@issamar.com

Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman, public speaker and marketer.

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