I reached out to my network for feedback about this site as soon as it launched. My request was focused on the business pages since I hadn’t launched the blog yet. The response rate wasn’t that high, but I did receive some good ideas and suggestions.
Feedback Helps You See What Matters
It’s hard to be objective about your baby. And data can’t tell you everything. I might have spotted some of this as time passed, but hearing the same things from multiple (trusted) sources puts the issues in perspective.
I thought it would be nice to share what I’m going through. Maybe you’ll see some things here that are relevant to your site, or seeing me ‘fess up’ to my faults will make you more comfortable with admitting your own.
Some Valuable Feedback I Received
Feedback: “You don’t need your picture on every page.” – I want this site to be very personal, so I include a picture of me on every page. But I might have gone overboard with pictures. Apparently, people can get tired of seeing my smiling face.
Next step for me: Replace the pictures of me on the SEO, Social & Content pages with images or banners related to the channel.
Feedback: “Use a slider/carousel on the pages to give them more style.” – I’m paraphrasing a bit but the gist is that I should have an image slider at the top of the page, at least on the homepage. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of sliders. I’ve seen them used well as a navigation aid, but I’ve also seen them get no usage or not be integrated well into the overall site experience.
Some common slider problems that I’ve come across:
- Low quality, pixellated images: If you are going to use a slider, then your images need to POP!
- Generic images with no relation to the content: How many skyline photos does a site really need (unless you offer helicopter tours).
- No information or CTA on the slide: I can go to Flickr for great photos. I’d prefer that business sites give me some info with the eye-candy.
- Great slider and piss-poor landing pages: You have to followup a good slide with a good page. Otherwise, you are setting up your visitor for disappointment.
Basically, I chose to avoid the slider because I don’t know that I want or need it. But enough people mentioned it that I’m going to give it a try.
Next step for me: Find or make images, make sure they work for my content and then get them online. I might take the approach of BloomReach and use text slides. Less chance of me getting distracted from the message.
Feedback: “You mix “I” and “We” in the descriptions of your approach”: This one caught me off-guard. I’m trying to explain how I collaborate with my clients to get results. I thought the copy read pretty well, but someone with a lot of writing and publishing experience pointed out that this can read strangely.
Next step for me: I’ve already got rewrites planned and am using my favorite questions about copy to figure out the improvements to make. I’ll definitely think about I vs We as I do the rewrites.
Feedback: Various grammar & punctuation mistakes: I have no rebuttal or explanation for this, but a couple of people caught missing punctuation and some strange syntax choices. I’m going to blame it on being over-caffeinated and make sure I do better going forward.
Next step for me: This falls under the copy rewrites, but I’ve turned on Proof Reading via the JetPack plugin to help me with this.
Don’t Ignore It
The worst thing you can do with feedback is ignore it. Customer surveys, email from friends and PowerPoint from consultants all represent contributions to your understanding that are beyond what you and your data can do. That doesn’t mean you have to use everything, but you should look with an open-mind.
I made it a point to respond to the feedback here and describe my next steps in order to keep me honest. It’s easy to receive feedback and then ignore it. Especially, if you are very attached to your ideas. In my case, I think the points are valid but by posting them online I re-enforce their importance and mentioning next steps puts me on the record as saying I’ll be acting on what I’ve learned.
Thanks to everyone that responded to my LinkedIn message asking for feedback. Sorry for not putting the link in the first message (Yeah, that was sloppy).