This neat little marketing model will help you to do a quick sanity check on certain aspects of your website/blog. Some may sound very obvious, but in our busy lives sometimes the obvious can get overlooked.
- Context : One thing I often see with many websites is lots of clutter which hide the key messages. It's almost as if some people want to put everything on one tiny page. Removing some of the clutter, particularly from 'above the fold', can help deliver the key messages with more force. (See more about 'above the fold' with my post about the 8 second test for websites.) So the sanity question here is - Is my site uncluttered, easy to navigate around, and does it have some white space (or at least one colour space) to aid readability?
- Commerce : If you are selling your books directly from your site is it fully secure, from the buyers perspective? Any pages which require customer details, which are sensitive, need to be fully encrypted. If the page doesn't start with https in the address bar, then it's not secure.
- Connection : If you have links to other sites, what happens when the visitor to your site clicks them? If they are taken directly to another site in the same window, and they find something more interesting, you've lost them. All your external links should be set to open in a new window, leaving your site still on view.
- Communication : How does your site visitor communicate with you? If it is via a comments box be sure to place a disclaimer next to it. Many website owners harvest email addresses for financial gain, and therefore a disclaimer is important. I use "IMPORTANT - email addresses are ONLY used to respond to messages, and are NOT sold or used for any other purpose" on my site. Also, avoid putting your email address on your site, unless of course you enjoy your inbox being overloaded with junk emails. Unethical people harvest advertised email addresses, often via a bot, and sell them on in large numbers.
- Content : Is all the content relative to the information and/or message you are trying to deliver? Is the text easy to read (not too small, but equally not too big) and are there sufficient pictures/graphics to add interest to the site? Again, the post regarding the 8 second test may be of further help.
Maintenance of a website is important, and should be viewed as an ongoing task. Think of it like an F1 racing car. The designers are constantly making adjustments to the cars to gain extra performance. The better a website performs, the better it does its job.