I work primarily with people in the health and wellness industry, a demographic that is keen on educating the universe about self-care strategies, regardless of whether someone becomes a client or not. The inclination is noble and touching and lovely and yada yada, but it has a nasty habit of making my clients' original websites feel like an avalanche attack. There is almost an OCD level of mania about ensuring that every single person has access to every piece of information that could potentially, maybe, possibly change said person's life.
Case in point: Shortly after launching my company, I had a client whose menu had about 30 items, I kid you not, making the menu section about three lines long. The impetus was to enable all visitors to find exactly what they needed right when they landed on the site. Instead, this layout caused potential visitors to fly from the website, like bats out of hell. I would have been among said bats, had I not been getting paid for overhauling this website. No, actually, I would have been among said bats, had my rent not been due in a couple of weeks. That site was downright frightening.
As I began combing through it, however, I realized that each item was a little gem -- making the website a veritable treasure of information, albeit a highly disorganized and chaotic treasure. I ripped out menu item after menu item, until I got the site down to the 8 menu items that optimize a website. I also tore out big chunks of content on the remaining pages, then overhauled the leftover writing. Everything else I turned into individual blog posts, which were accessible not only through the blog itself, but through hyperlinks I sprinkled throughout the site, for more information on a given topic.
As I explained to this client, landing on the original website was akin to opening up a closet packed to the gills. Upon opening the closet, one was hit by an avalanche of shoes, hats, belts, shirts, and pants. In a word: Ouch. The items piling on someone's head, of course, were top quality -- Gucci, Prada, Armani, and so on. To avoid getting buried underneath a heap of clothing and accessories, however, most people would put the damn closet in lock down.
To the contrary, a good organization system within the closet, complemented by an organized storage system outside the closet, would make for a compelling walk-in visit, whenever one needed an outfit or accessories. When we know where to find things, and when we don't have to wade through crap to get to them, we are more likely to look for them in the first place.
Similarly, by simplifying the menu and streamlining the content on all the pages of the menu, my client's website was suddenly compelling. The bounce rate immediately decreased, as traffic to and length of time spent on the site immediately increased. I believe that the individual blog posts helped with this transformation, as each one was optimized and increased the general activity of the site, thereby adding SEO bonus points to the site.
Moral of the story: Education is fantabulous. Educate the world to your heart's content. But do it on your blog.
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