Natalie Myers

Web Equals ‘Research On the Hoof’

February 9th, 2009
Share aims to entice grandparents to register a profile and/or subscribe to a free email newsletter by providing useful content that’s relevant to being a grandparent. Sound familiar? That’s kind of what we do at MarketingSherpa (for marketers, of course).

Whenever you have a site like this there’s one thing you’ve got to keep in mind, says Jerry Shereshewsky, CEO of “The Web is research on the hoof.”

That means you’ve got to look at all the content on the site. Determine what people are reading and what they’re not reading. Determine where people are entering the site and where they’re exiting. Then adjust the site to keep people on it.

“Things that cause them to leave are just as important to us as things that bring them in,” Shereshewsky says. “We are constantly trying to learn more about our audience.”

Here’s some advice on how to optimize your site:

o Conduct online polls to better “know” your audience.

o Use tools from companies such as Hitwise to access daily online usage data, analyze competitors, find out where users come from and where they leave to and, ultimately, maximize online performance.

o Look at your server log every day.

o Conduct usability labs that involve inviting people into a room with a computer where you direct them to your site. And encourage them to talk about their experience while you observe and jot down notes on what’s working for them and what’s not in terms of usability. ( uses Creative Good to help conduct the usability labs.)

o Use all of the information you gather to improve the site

“You’ve got to look at all of the data and look at it not from the perspective of how can I justify what I’ve already done, but how do I make what I’ve already done better next time,” Shereshewsky says.

Natalie Myers

About Natalie Myers

Natalie Myers writes for MarketingSherpa’s Great Minds and Content Biz newsletters. She covers a broad array of topics for Great Minds, regularly interviewing thought leaders and experienced marketers about innovative or highly successful marketing strategies. For Content Biz she focuses specifically on online subscriptions models, including anything you pay for to read, listen to, watch, rent (as in Software as a Service models), etc.

She writes blog posts about topics relating to her beats, including useful information from interviews that doesn’t make it into an article.

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