Exploring Nature and the Value of a Good Website

2014-05-18 15.16.01 The kids and I went to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary over the weekend to check out their program about camouflage and how animals hide in plain sight. I wouldn’t have known to take the kids there, but I thought, “You know, as a dad, I’m supposed to do some research and plan actual things to do, instead of ‘hey, let’s go to the mall!’” And that’s what I learned the value of a good website.

What Makes a Website Good?

You’d think, if you listened to all us who are into content marketing, that sites with great stories are good. You’d imagine that we all want long pieces about the 7 Best Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer. But that wouldn’t have cut it for me. I needed to know, “Hey, it’s Sunday. I have two kids. We want a simple adventure. What should we do?”

In my case, I found North Shore Kid. There’s bloggy kinds of stuff there, and that’s great, but the magic is in that right sidebar (scroll down just a tad). Pow. Things to do with kids this week. What a salvation. I scrolled through the list, found what I needed, made a call, and pow. We were on our way.

I didn’t need great stories. I didn’t need “the conversation.” I didn’t care if the site had comments or not. I just needed information that was useful to me.

Are your buyers like that? Are they looking at your site and wondering “Why can’t she just tell me what I need to know?”

I know that chrisbrogan.com looks like that right now, a big mess. I’m going to try and do what North Shore Kid did and build this into a good and useful website.

Will I stop writing content? No. Will I stop trying to help with leadership and business strategy? No. But I damned well will make this a much better experience here.

And About That Nature

Mass Audubon

Naturally, I forget the teacher’s name. She was wonderful. Smart and passionate and full of great information, but more so, a natural connector with the kids. My two kids are wonderful and complex and love to interrupt with their own knowledge, and she was so very receptive and great at picking the spots where that was appropriate. We had such a fun time.

2014-05-18 14.56.16

We saw leopard frogs and squirrels and no deer but lots of signs of such. We saw all kinds of birds and of course plenty of greenery. I can’t say enough about sneaking north of Boston to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. There are miles of great trails and all kinds of programs for kids and adults, and I was happy to get reacquainted with it, thanks to the greatness of the North Shore Kid website.

I might not have seen deer, but I saw the light on how I want my site to function better.

Violette and Harold in Nature

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  • Richard Erb

    Nice article Chris. In this data driven world we all live in, nice to see that simplistic and direct still work. Enjoy your time with the kids ole friend.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Rich. I agree. It’s still really about that more than anything else. : )

  • http://viktorsblog.com/ Viktor Nagornyy

    Hey Chris, great article. Funny timing. The first video I did in my new video series for a new business was exactly on this topic. The core message that I wanted to communicate to (ideally) small business owners is that marketing should drive website development decisions.

    Not “I like it” or “I want it” or “My competitor has it” – that’s how you waste money, and then wonder why your business website isn’t generating leads and sales.

    You really have to go back to your target market, and instead of thinking “like” your target market – you spend the time thinking “about” your target market. You have to understand what their pains are and how your services or products align with those pains to fix them. Once you understand your target market, you look at your business and marketing objectives.

    Your website changes and/or additions should stem from your objectives and your target market. Using your example, parents is one of the ideal target markets or audiences for North Shore Kid, so one pain point they can help resolve for those parents is find activities to do with kids. You’re proof of that. Having that activities widget helps parents find things to do quickly in your area, engaging them and decreasing the bounce rate too since you have to click on it to view the event ;)

    You mentioned you wanted to change your website. I receive your newsletter, so I’m pretty aware of what you do and how your business has evolved over the past several months. Yet, what your newsletter clearly communicates is completely absent from your website. Especially your blog posts, since those are the main entry points from search engines and social media. People share them more often than they will share your homepage. There’s nothing about Owner magazine, there’s nothing about your new media empire :) and not even a mention of your new book. Yet, you do have sponsors.

    My 2 cents.

  • http://jacksonandwilson.com/ Mitch Jackson

    Hey Chris- I like your site :-) We did a major overhaul two weeks ago to our law firm site in an effort to simplify things a bit and to also remove the clutter. So far, the feedback has been really good. I guess it’s usually smart to try and make the complicated simple (when possible) and provide the visitor with quick click solutions. BTW, the kids will remember the wildlife sanctuary for many years to come. Great pics! Go #proudfreak :-)

  • http://www.wleewarrenmd.com W. Lee Warren, MD

    I personally like your site. Never feels like you’re doing anything but serving. You don’t get that “Help! I’m being sucked into a sales funnel!” feeling. Great, useful and actionable content. My site could use an overhaul. Working on it.

    Thanks again for having me on your podcast! Great fun.

  • http://maximyou.com maximyou.com

    What a great post to read! Regardless of how far away you are from the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary or from redesigning your website – a wonderfully told story, pure pleasure. So, Thanks!

    PS. The choice of picture – of a car (okay, not just any car) – with a headline of nature and website – coincidence or strategy?

  • http://www.perkinsinhaiti.com/ Luke Perkins

    I love that place! I have great memories of my grandparents bringing me there as a kid. I remember feeding birds out of my hand. So fun! Great thoughts, too. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://milostopic.com Milos

    Some of the greatest ideas came at strangest times and from “weirdest” places…all we need to do is be alert and receptive.

  • http://www.chandlercrawford.com/ Chandler Crawford

    I may never get to visit this place; but I now have a greater appreciation for doing some research on “what to do with kids”. I live in Louisiana (stationed at Fort Polk) but I’m a native Kentuckian and we took our son to an Alligator Park. It was slightly creepy and at times I thought I heard banjo music, but our son had a blast and I saw some giant Alligators. Will I go there again? Doubtful. But at least we went and it gave us some great pictures.

    A little research goes a long way with helping kids experience things other than the mall or the movie theater. Usually cheaper too.

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  • http://www.connectinteractivellc.com Norma Maxwell

    This is spot on Chris. It’s awesome to have a nice looking site–vital in my opinion–but it doesn’t matter if the design doesn’t facilitate visitors finding the information they’re looking for right away. As you said, “I just needed information that was useful to me.” I love the way you broke it down in such simple terms–it reminds me of one of my favorite books from over a decade ago, Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. At least unless I want to (which I why I read your blog :).

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