Before I get into today’s topic. I need to get something off my chest.
Writing interesting blog posts is hard.
At least I think it is.
That’s mainly because an effective blog post must be something people actually want to read.
It’s way more than just a catchy title and an arresting image. It’s 1,500 words on a topic that’s helpful, easy-to-understand and unique.
But the bigger problem is everything’s already been said. Google a question about web design or SEO or social media and you’re gonna find hundreds of articles.
And that’s a very, very good thing.
Unless you’re trying to build authority as a web designer.
In that case, it really feels like a massive waste of time.
That is unless you simply chuck all the conventional wisdom out the window and just write about what you know in your own voice and don’t give a hoot about Google or Bing search results.
That makes the whole idea of a business blog so much simpler.
And that’s what I’ve decided to do. 🙂
The Personal Business Blog
So what’s my point, dear reader?
My point is your business blog can be personal. Or at least feel more human. Obviously, the posts on your business blog will be on topics related to your industry, but instead of feeling forced to focus on what Google and Bing think about your content, you’re now free to write like you talk – as if you’re having a chat with a real, live customer or future client.
And that’s the idea behind this post: to make my Rushminute blog posts “read” more like a personal journal entry. Instead of being constrained by a formal process of topic research, keyword analysis and persona buyer journal hot buttons, this will just be me blabbing about web design topics in a way that – hopefully – the average person would want to spend a few minutes on.
So, yeah, there may be more “I” sentences than your average business blog post. If you’re not bothered by that, I thank you in advance for spending a little time with me today.
And with all that personal stuff off my chest, I’m ready to dive into today’s topic. 🙂
Does Your Site Repel Visitors?
When I was noodling on the idea of a website being “visitor repellant”, I realized I first had to ask myself:
Is my site a visitor repellant?
The scary thing is I answered, “yes.”
That’s because almost every site I’ve ever made – including this one – has some level of visitor repellency.
Because every site I’ve ever created has never, ever taken into account an actual site visitor. Not even one.
And I’m positive I’m not alone.
I’ve done web makeovers for massive global corporations with multi-billion dollar market caps. Surely those people could afford and be interested in what their user’s thought of their site. Right?
Alas, no client of mine has ever “green-lighted” what’s known as user testing.
And I had to admit, even with my own website, I was guilty of the same short-sightedness.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think my sites suck! They’re awesome.
I’m just saying if none of us are listening to our customers or prospective clients, something’s wrong.
And mightn’t it be an overlooked opportunity?
Help! I’m a Small Business Owner!
I can imagine many of you thinking, “Yeah, but what about me? I’m just a small business owner. I don’t have unlimited funds. I can’t ask clients or prospective customers what they think about every page I make on my site. That’s ridiculous!”
Ahhh, but hold on a sec – I have a solution.
And it’s not some horribly drastic burden. It’s actually very easy to do. So easy, in fact, that I’m going to do it for Rushminute’s website and show you how to do it.
But before I reveal the solution, I’m curious:
Why is there so much resistance to listening to what real people think about our websites?
The answer is we’re afraid.
Afraid of criticism.
And afraid of being wrong.
Instead of listening to honest feedback, many of us hide behind Google Analytics, heat maps and tons of quantitative data. We seem to be paralyzed at even the thought of listening to what an actual human being has to say about our site.
One Hour a Month Test
So how do we start listening to our site visitors?
We start by staring down our fears and admitting it’s better to be wrong and fix it than to be afraid of even knowing if we’re wrong.
So, now, if there are any folks with nerves of steel who’re still reading, here’s the solution: it’s a fantastic book on DIY user testing titled “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” by Steve Krug.
Steve explains how, in just one hour a month, anyone can conduct a user test. Then, over lunch, he describes how to debrief w/a couple of co-workers and come up with a to do list of “fixes” for your website.
Give yourself a month to knock the items off your todo list, then rinse and repeat. It’s so easy and simple, everyone should be doing it.
Being Wrong is Right
Sadly, I’m doing user testing for Rushminute. 🙁 And I’m a freakin’ web designer who knows better!
So what’s my excuse?
No excuse: I’m gonna start.
In the coming months, I’ll show small business owners – even those with the smallest of small businesses – how easy it is to start user testing and implement fixes to prove they don’t have a visitor repellant site.
The only way to guarantee your site isn’t visitor repellant is if you actually listen to real users. Sure, numbers are helpful, but they’re not the truth. The “truth” is somewhere between the numbers and the qualitative data.
And if you need to see someone else stumble and get back up again before you try user testing on your own, swing back around in a month or so for my next installment of DIY user testing. 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.