Chapter 15: Noise in Your Website
Your website is the lynchpin of your marketing. So, when a disconnect occurs on your site, it undoes all the marketing efforts it takes to get visitors there. A disconnect on your site can have long-lasting negative effects, as well. If you don't take care of your website, it will create noise in your marketing. This is the worst kind of noise, because, on your site, you have a prospect's undivided attention. That's your best-case scenario for conversion; you can't afford noise there.
In our business, we hear it all the time: "I'm not a technology person." That's code for, "I'm not sure how to take care of my website." So, in layman's terms, here's what you need to know to make sure noise doesn't creep into your website.
Where Breakdowns Occur and Why
Let's say you have a program like Microsoft Word or Excel on your computer. If you don't, for sure your computer has an operating system (OS). In both cases, you probably get regular updates telling you to upgrade your software. This creates the most optimized system and programs. Sometimes hardware makes a step forward, allowing for more capabilities and function. Sometimes programs are improved, de-bugged or optimized, or new features are added. Between your computer (laptop, desktop, tablet or phone) and the programs you use, updates are happening all the time. Your website and web server operate the same way. If you don't keep up with the updates, something breaks down.
You have to think of your website as a living organism or a pet. It needs to be fed and cleaned on a regular basis. At the very least, this means ongoing maintenance. On a content-managed site (Joomla, WordPress or others), there are modules and plug-ins that are little functional programs inside the bigger program. These programs issue updates to keep up with new server requirements and website program updates. A breakdown here can cause a contact form to fail or a video to not display. If you wonder where site breakdowns happen, it's because of these updates and changes in system requirements.
Such breakdowns result in missed connections with site users. If you are not investing in regular maintenance on your site, you are asking for breakdowns.
Content and design are other areas that can cause noise if you are not attending to your website. We have the ability to see where your site is working and not working using Google Analytics and a host of other user experience analytic programs. Making regular site updates to increase engagement is a way of eliminating the areas on the site that are disconnecting with users. This is a process that can be powered by data on real user experience, not just guesswork.
The bottom line here is that regular updates to your site - feeding and cleaning of your site like a pet - eliminates the disconnects (noise) and increases productivity.
The Dog Star Media Solution
Dog Star Media clients enrolled in our Rising Star program don't have these issues. Rising Star is a program that focuses on continually improving conversion on a website. This includes monthly evaluation and program updates to avoid breakdowns.
And, the program evaluates the site for ways to improve conversion. Rising Star is our answer to the kind of ongoing site work that needs to happen to avoid noise on your website.
At this time of year, those of you who know you need new websites are considering what to do. The best way to proceed is to keep in mind the general rules that the site should be treated as a living organism and that actual user experience should guide your decision-making. You want to pick a company that has your big picture in mind to make sure you get ongoing value for your investment in a new site. Most companies will build you a site and walk away. That is most frequently because you, as the client, are not asking for the kind of ongoing maintenance required to avoid site breakdowns.
It's best to work with a company that can evaluate your needs, build a site that meets those needs, and maintain and improve the site so it is always at its most competitive. Dog Star Media does this successfully, and we want to help you. If you are ready to discuss how to keep noise from creeping into or dominating your website, please let me know. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for help in taking that first step.