Four Steps To Take Your Under Performing Website To The Next Level
With all the clutter that is online these days people are hard pressed to keep up with information. If you are going to get and keep any one's attention you need to be straightforward and very clear about what your website is all about. You have only a few seconds to make that first impression. Are you doing it right?
I have been guilty of not keeping my own advice and It's time to change that. I'm going to bare my soul. This blog post could just as well be titled 'How I Got Sick And Tired Of An Under-performing Website And Decided To Do Something About It'.
What's The Purpose Of Your Website?
At a recent JUGT (Joomla! User Group Toronto) meeting one of the member's there commented that he had no idea what I was trying to accomplish with joejoomla.com. The website didn't look like it was selling anything and it was all over the place and very confusing. It was embarrassing to be told this but it was true and he did me a big favour by telling me. I could have argued with him that I was too busy to define a proper strategy and focus for the website. I could have told him that the original focus of the site had changed over time and needed to be updated. I could have told him that I was like the shoe maker whose children shoes had holes in them. That's would be just a giant cop out. I needed the criticism straight up to jolt me to take action.
Without goals and objectives website statistics don't mean anything to you
When JoeJoomla was first launched Amy Stephen and a few other good Joomla! people were actively involved and we discussed what the purpose of the website should be. We tried a few approaches that didn't really take off and over time things fizzled like a tire running out of air pressure. I wound up on the side of the road by myself looking at the JoeJoomla flat tire. The site had lost it's way, didn't have a clear message and purpose anymore. Some might tell you that perhaps it never really did. I didn't define goals and objectives for the site. Without goals and objectives website statistics don't mean anything to you. The JoeJoomla website was doing well enough to pay for server space for my general website projects and for me that was enough to keep it going. That's like running a car into the ground, just keep it going until it stops. It's going to stop on it's own eventually if you let it.
Identify Any Currently Valuable Assets That Support It's Purpose
You need to find your web-site's valuable assets if it has any. My website had became a clutter of disconnected articles and infrequent content. At the time it didn't matter much because I wasn't dependant on JoeJoomla for financial support. I had a great job and Joomla! was more like a professional hobby. The site's traffic was slowly but steadily increasing primarily due to an article series I wrote about Joomla! and MAMP. JoeJoomla still has a number one Google ranking for Joomla! + MAMP, but the site was becoming frustrating and what was once fun wasn't anymore.
Is it valuable to you or not? If it is, you'll take better care of it.
All of this was my fault. It's like not taking care of something. Is it valuable to you or not? If it is, you'll take better care of it. When I looked at the statistics of the articles on the site, several of them had tens of thousands of unique hits associated with them. I wasn't paying attention to that. Now that I am enlightened to this I need to leverage these assets.
Make The Message Clear
If you don't make the message clear you get very unpredictable results. I wrote an article for another site awhile ago about making your message clear called 'Clarify Your Agreement' which is a very funny story that is not so funny for the person that travelled halfway across the country only to be disappointed and embarrassed because of miscommunication over an unclear agreement. There's no excuse for this. In the case of the website this is also true, there is no excuse.
If you really want it to work, you can do it. It just takes some honest work.
There are all kinds of Joomla! professionals and experts sharing their knowledge online. Some of their knowledge is free and some of it is not, but there's simply no lack of information about how to make a Joomla! website work for you. If you really want it to work, you can do it. It just takes some honest work. I'm just getting started. I call this my pre-spring cleaning stage. It's like attacking that unorganized garage full of stuff that you can't get the car into anymore. Maybe you've noticed the new JoeJoomla home page? Most of the clutter is gone and it's a much simpler page now. There are more changes to come but this is the start.
If you make it hard for people to engage with your website they'll find somewhere else to go fast. Is the content that they are looking for really easy to get to? If you are selling a product or a service are you turning customers into pretzels and making them go through hoops to do business with you?
Make It Easy For People To Engage With You In Your Purpose
Coasting along online is the equivalent of dying a slow digital death
So coasting along online is the equivalent of dying a slow digital death. No more coasting, form a strategy and have a purpose. Remember, here's the four steps you need to do:
1) Decide what the purpose is for the site.
2) Identify any currently valuable assets that support it's purpose or create some.
3) Make the message clear.
4) Make it easy for people to engage with you in your purpose.
Sounds simple doesn't it? It's not, simplicity is the ultimate complexity. If it was so easy everyone would be doing it. If your site is under-performing determine that you are going to do something about it. If it seems like an overwhelming task get some help. You'll be a lot happier about your site when is it doing well.
Just because you have a good website online why should anyone care?
This is just the first level. We haven't even talked about making your site popular and easy to find. Just because you have a good website online why should anyone care? I'll have more to say about this later. For now, if you are in the same boat that I have been in, you have a lot of work to do in order to take your website to the next level. Might as well get started now.
Have you been through a website transformation? You're welcome to share your thoughts and tips on it here.