The Search For A New Web Developer (or “Optimising For Tuscany”).

What a shame, we’re looking for a new web developer after a bit of a spat.

Over the last 20 years I’ve become fed up with technical people explaining why some technical reason means that a dog’s dinner is an acceptable marketing process.

The answer is usually imagination, but my patience isn’t what it was (and it was never much!) and this incident proved to be the proverbial straw.

But it raises interesting questions and priorities all over again. I find that the murky science of website optimisation has moved on in the (almost) five years since I went through this process the last time.

Everybody knows that you need to keep on top of things, be constantly vigilant if you even want to keep up with the pack let alone catch up or gain a stride or two. This ‘beauty parade’ has forced me to review our website and our optimisation strategies again. It’s a constant trade-off between a trio of objectives – looking pretty, driving traffic, and making your site ‘sticky’.

I’ve learnt about ‘landing pages’ and ‘bounce rates’. Apparently, the more specifically you’re able to direct a search, the more likely the searcher is to stick around – so somebody searching for Bike rides in Tuscany should (as far as we have any control over it) click through to our introduction page about Tuscany, not to our homepage (like that – good eh?).

I’ve also concluded that our homepage has become horribly cluttered. One of this week’s jobs is to try and establish what our homepage needs to be. For example, what do I want people to do if by some fluke we manage to persuade people to land on our homepage? At the moment it’s far too busy – we have links to tour details, train times, prices, itineraries, in fact just about everything we do is accessible within a single click from our homepage.

I can see how that’s quite clever, but it ain’t half messy. What’s the answer? I’d like to offer the opportunity to subscribe to and view our Newsletter; to read my blog; ask for a brochure, but most importantly for there to be a logical, structured, intuitive way to research our tours.

That’s what I find the difficult bit. But I have to wrestle with it, and I’ve probably paid the (lack of) traffic price for failing to impose myself during our recent website redesign.

So, some thought to restructuring this week, and the appointment of at least one company to help with the murky but fascinating work of website optimisation. I was delighted this week with the compliments we got from a number of businesses about the quality of our existing optimisation – which is down to Lizzy, obviously, rather than me.

More news very soon – and watch our site zoom sidewards in the rankings!

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