Kaizen is a a Japanese philosophy that means "continuous incremental improvement". Kaizen is commonly applied to the manufacturing process in Japan. It is also applied to everyday aspects of the workplace, where it is referred to as gemba kaizen. Gemba is a Japanese word for the workplace, and in particular, the workplace where products are developed. The kaizen approach can also be applied to web site development and Web site management.
The kaizen philosophy seeks to find ways to continually improve quality and drive down costs. It doesn’t look for major improvements or big bang types of changes that require major redesign. Instead, kaizen becomes a way of life that is always looking for small changes that either improve the quality of the product or drive down manufacturing or management costs. When viewed this way, it is easy to see how kaizen can be applied to web site management and development.
Most Web sites remain fairly static an unchanged for long periods of time. Sure, a webmaster may add a few articles periodically or make a few changes to the home page. But when it comes to redesign, it usually emerges as a major change where the entire site is revamped at one time. While this may bring about dramatic changes in usability or may add new features, it typically comes as a bit of a shock to both users and search engine spiders.
If a Web site is a complete disaster, major big bang changes may be called for. However, most Web sites are fairly well designed, but could always use improvement. That’s where the kaizen philosophy is beneficial. Rather than just trying to add large numbers of new features or design elements into a site in major phases or version releases, it may be much more efficient to continually look for small incremental ways to improve a site. In fact, a site owner should spend a few minutes reviewing his or her site every day and look for small ways to make improvements. It may mean adding some new images, improving the content or designing a new feature. The important part is that some time needs to be spent every day thinking about ways to make a Web site better.
If you sell a product or service and have a shopping cart on your site, use kaizen Web site management techniques to look for ways to simplify the ordering process. This type of simplification almost always results in less shopping cart abandonment, which translates into higher sales.
Looking for ways to improve your product sales? Pick one product every day and use the kaizen approach to improve the product’s Web page presentation or the sales pitch.
Kaizen Web site management works best when it becomes a way of life in your business, and must be ingrained in your management philosophy, much like it is in Japan. If you continually seek improvement and succeed with your methods, it will not take long for you to have one of the best Web sites in your industry.