Back at the beginning of the year, we did a refresh of the direct sales blog, along with an overhaul and re-launch of my personal site that had laid dormant for almost a year. We also launched a website for the new web series, and laid plans for a re-fresh here as well. That’s a lot of stuff in only 90 days.
I’ve been tracking the stats on these changes, and while I’m happy with the progress we’ve made, and now it looks like it’s time to start the re-fresh here. But a question came at me, that I thought would be valuable to answer here for everyone.
What if you’ve been blogging for a while, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest (not many comments) from readers? Should I consider a re-fresh/re-launch or just scrap the entire thing?
In my online history, I’ve built dozens of sites under my own business umbrella – and chucked a few, too. Some get a re-fresh, but others, quite frankly, are not worth the time and effort to try to salvage, so they get cut. Here’s the short list of criteria I use for deciding what to keep and what to scrap:
1. Do I truly enjoy this topic?
Whether or not I get a lot of comments, if I really enjoy writing about the topic, I may hang on to it and try a different approach to marketing/increasing readership. I’ll also try other mediums: video, podcasts, guest posts, etc. When I have a passion for the topic, it’s much easier to stay determined. On the other hand, if I am getting burned out, don’t seem to be able to come up with “inspiring” things to write about, or feel exhausted from trying to attract readership, it’ll probably get scrapped.
2. Is it a technology issue?
Sometimes a site just gets clunky and difficult to navigate. If the interface needs a refresh, that’s one thing, but if the entire platform you’re running on is cumbersome, it may be a good time to scrap it and do something else. One of my first sites was a makeshift blog that I cobbled together. It worked for a while, but when I discovered Blogger, I jumped ship. Later, when WordPress developed import capabilities for Blogger, I jumped again, leaving the old site in the dust.
3. Am I giving it the time/focus it needs to flourish?
Different niches have different marketing demands. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to marketing the site, you may need to outsource content development, marketing, or both in order to keep it afloat. If you can’t take the time to invest the resources in that, it needs to go.
4. Is it just ugly?
Sometimes you and your audience gets tired of looking at the same old boring theme. Sometimes you’re feeling a bit of website shame. When we did our refresh, I wanted to put video front and center on the home pages of the new sites. We don’t have a lot of video at Business Action Hero, and I worked hard to create my background photo, which I still love to pieces. But I’m tired of the Adventure Journal theme and a handful of clunky issues I have with it. So I want to try some new things and “pretty up” the place a bit. Plus, I’ve got some new ideas for categorization and navigation that I’d like to test behind the scenes before I unleash it on the world. That’s not a reason to scrap the site, but it’s certainly a good reason to shut things down for a bit.
On the other hand, if the site was beyond help, or if the domain name was rotten, it might be a good idea to close permanently.
5. Can I afford professional help?
If you’re like me – with an armload of ideas for blogs I’d love to see come to fruition – it’s next to impossible to build them all yourself and feel good about how they all turn out. Richard Branson didn’t launch all his Virgin companies at the same time. He took them on one at a time and brought in qualified professionals to run them.
Whether you’re looking for a designer, a VA, a coach, or guest bloggers to help lighten your load, before you go website crazy, you need to check in with your budget. What exactly can you afford? If you’ve got more time than money, a little DIY can go a long way. If you’ve got no time and no money, you may need to curb your enthusiasm a bit and focus on one small tweak at a time.
6. Where’s my revenue coming from?
If I’m relying on this site for my major source of income, you’d better believe I’ve got a vested interest in keeping it running until I can transition that revenue to another site. In December, I did that with the launch of my Real Results program, which picked up the financial slack while Direct Sales Classroom was under renovations (and unable to produce any revenue while down).
Time was of the essence however, so we kept the site offline for no more than a week, and welcomed everyone back as quickly as possible. If the site isn’t producing revenue, this isn’t as much of an imperative. However, if it is going to be a major piece of your revenue generation machine, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a transition plan in place so things move effortlessly from one site to another.
These are the major considerations I take when I’m looking at making modifications to my online presence. This doesn’t just apply to my blogs, but also my social media presence on various sites as well. Anywhere that I’ve got a business presence, I look critically at how it’s serving me (and how I’m serving my clients) before I decide what to keep and what to scrap. Sometimes, it just needs a little spit and polish. Other times, it has to go.