Four years ago, when we upgraded our New Tricks website, I made some decisions that are no longer working for us.
First, I decided to have a blog style home page because it was the format most bloggers used. And I am a blogger. But, unlike most bloggers, I also own a web design business; and despite that, I made the decision to feature my blog posts anyway.
The other decision that is coming back to bite me, is that I took the mobile responsive code out of our web site. I did this because I liked how the site looked better in the full view.
The mobile responsive code made my blog posts show up on the cell phone in one long column. The sidebar content then stacked after that under all the posts.
At the time mobile responsive was rather new, but I still knew that it was important to make websites easy to read on mobile devices. In fact, we made our client’s sites responsive.
But, I wanted our site to look the particular way that I liked, displaying the full page view with the sidebar to the right of the posts. So I dismantled the responsive code on our site causing people to have to pinch the content to read it.
We have been “working” on our new site for a while now. Of course, I could use the excuse of “the shoemaker’s children”. But the truth is, there are so many decisions to make and it is so hard to make them!
Recently, I got an email from Google warning me that I could lose my ranking if my site wasn’t made responsive. That was major motivation to get our new site finished. In redoing our site, I have been thinking about a story from a blog post written by my friend and client, Alice Franklin.
In ancient China, a disciple was talking with his teacher.
“Master,” said the disciple, “It is said that all you really need to know in dealing with people is to simply always treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. What do you think?”
“Let me tell you about how the Marquis of Lu entertained the seabird,” the Master responded.
“One day a rare and beautiful seabird was blown far off course by a storm. It came to earth in the capital of Lu. The Marquis of Lu was delighted, and made the seabird his special guest. He had performers sing and dance for it day and night, and he presented it with fine roast meats and excellent wine. But the bird was terrified and confused, and it ate and drank nothing. After three days it died.”
“The Marquis of Lu entertained the seabird the way he liked to be entertained, not the way a seabird likes to be entertained.”
I know that we have only a few seconds to have our website visitors know they are in the right place and a few more to be sure they want to stay. It is important that we figure out who our ideal client is and create the site and its messaging in a way that is meaningful to them. I had given our visitors what I wanted – not what they wanted and needed.
This weekend, it was cold and rainy and my husband was away taking a two-day class. I used this time to hunker down and work on our site. It’s not ready for prime time yet, but thinking about how the seabird would like to be entertained has helped a lot.