C2-10-11 A Temporary Change in Course

It’s been two weeks (not including weekends) since I started this push to “fix the marketing” on my website on March 4. By that, I mean making the purpose and use of the website clearer to visitors who happen upon it, so they can find what they’re interested in as quickly as possible. Also, I want to make it clear what it is that people can BUY or DOWNLOAD from the website, while making a particular statement about myself and creativity.

This post is a review of the past 10 days as a sanity check.

What Got Done

It’s usually around the two- or three-week mark that I feel fatigue on a project, and need to take some time to assess. I don’t particularly like marketing myself either; it’s hard work and draining. However, it’s also necessary work, so I am trying to have a good attitude about it. Like any difficult work, it is worthwhile from a growth perspective!

Here’s what I’ve got done so far on the Marketing push:

  • Day 01-03: Defining an Audience and Myself
  • Day 04-05: Defining Entry Points into a Website, and by extension Myself
  • Day 06-09: First Pass Visual Layout
  • Day 10-11: Break from Visual Layout; Content Development Begins

If I were to guess, I’ve spent around an hour per day on average. The biggest chunk of time was spent on the first-pass visual layout, which ate around 4-5 hours. The other days saw anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes total; these were mostly writing days.

Am I On the Right Track?

As I mentioned, I’m finding the work difficult. That doesn’t mean I’m losing hope or stuck. It’s just hard work because I’m defining a lot of goals in the absence of certainty. This means that the processes I’m applying are exploratory ones that may not pay off. It’s an exercise in maintaining good attitude and keeping mentally energized. I’ve been taking a lot of power naps to refresh my brain, much as Edison apparently did.

In hindsight, I think I’ve done some important foundational work, but I have to ask myself whether there’s something I can do right now with the current website to improve usability. It occurs to me that yes, there is. I can build a better browsing experience right now based on the existing template, and update the PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS or ABOUT THE SITE section.

Going to brainstorm quickly in this post now:

What’s the Problem?

People come to my website and can’t find anything, and don’t know what the website is about. There is a lot of hidden stuff, particularly around forms and some articles, that are difficult to find. I can rearrange them to solve PROBLEMS, not just be categories. This way, I can also promote some of the things I have for sale, and increase revenue (that’s the whole point of this).

What is a Solution?

It’s a big category page, loosely mirroring my Visual Tag Cloud, but much more focused on delivering a download or chunk of knowledge. And also highlighting stuff for sale.

What Can I Implement Right Away?

I have the ability to code custom template pages, so it’s that easy. I have to figure out what the categories are, and how to present them. That’s maybe 15 minutes of writing to get clear on it, and then some visual design to make it happen.

So that’s what I’ll do sometime later today. Although I describe this as a change in course, it really is an extension of the content creation cycle; I would have had to tackle this topic eventually. It’s a mix of Information Architecture, Layout, and Coding.


About this Article Series

This series is about improving my website, thinking about it for 15 minutes a day first-thing in the morning. You can see the raw 15-minute text here. These posts are collected on The March 2013 Challenge Page.