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Avoid Website Shame

Website shame

Is what you are currently doing with your website meeting your expectations?

Websites, like bed sheets, should be changed and cleaned way more often than they usually are. “Oh, I’ll get around to changing that next week,” or “It’s on my to-do list, it’s just a low priority item.”

Does this sound familiar to you?

For years I’ve tried to invest in my online profile. No, not my Match or Plenty Of Fish dating profile. I mean the thing online that most accurately sums up everything I do—my website.

If you’re anything like me, you change directions and focus way more often than your website reflects that. James Altucher says we’re a completely new person every six months. I agree with that. Maybe it’s 10 months or 12 months for you? But I strongly believe we’re growing and changing as people more than we realize.

I’m really excited for the redesign of JasonDoesStuff.com. To some people, it may not look incredibly different, but to me, there’s an entirely refined focus.

I certainly didn’t have “website shame” as Marie Forleo calls it. But something was just a bit off with my little slice of the Internet that represents who I am.

I realized I had too much fluff.

On the previous iteration of JasonDoesStuff.com I was trying to show a prospective user all of these things:

  • That I have a weekly newsletter
  • That I write weekly articles
  • That I do public speaking
  • That I have a few ongoing projects
  • That I wrote a book
  • That people have said nice things about me
  • That I do consulting calls/meetings

That’s a total of seven calls to action. And not only is it too many, I’m also not excited about all seven of them anymore. I can’t remember how I felt a year ago, heck, maybe I was really passionate about doing all of those things. But for this new six-month version of myself, I’m laser focused on three things:

1. My weekly articles

2. Getting people to join my weekly newsletter (The Action Army)

3. Showcasing my most recent project

Everything else is ancillary. Everything else is a lower priority. And that may totally change again in six months, but that’s absolutely okay!

Early on in my career as a graphic designer I learned about this “Rule of 3.” Study after study showed that three pieces of information were the optimal amount for someone to understand and make a decision with. There’s a rule of thirds in photography. The Air Force has three rules for surviving captivity. It’s a known fact that selling something with three options ends up producing higher sales volume and revenue as opposed to just one or two options. And the great Steve Jobs even used the rule of three with the different storage sizes of iPods, iPhones, and iPads (8GB, 16GB, 32GB).

In the case of my newly redesigned and reorganized website, my belief is that if I nail the three things I want to focus on, people will search out any remaining offerings on their own. I won’t need to push everything I can do on the homepage of my website. I can let all the extra stuff be discovered when people are getting enough value from the three core items.

Is what you are currently doing with your website meeting your expectations?

If it is, and you have zero website shame, then you can move on from this article. If your website isn’t converting sales, newsletter signups, etc., you are not alone…

Meet Roger Bentlingsworth

I have a friend whose name I won’t actually reveal, but we’ll call him Roger Bentlingsworth (cool name right??).

Roger has had the same website for the past three years. His website has had a couple subtle changes (a different image on the homepage or adding new blog posts), but for the most part the website has gone unchanged. Roger on the other hand, has completely changed his focus in business. Roger and his website are way out of alignment.

I had a call with Roger and asked him what he wanted his website to be doing do for him.

His answer was “to get more people to buy my online course.”

To which I replied, “Okay, how many courses has your website helped you sell in the past year?”

His answer: “Maybe 4.”

We all want higher conversions. We all want our website to generate more revenue. But many of us are not willing to make the necessary (and sometimes drastic) changes. Why? Sunk cost bias. We’ve spent time and money on our website already, why should we have to change it?

Sunk cost is a real a-hole. If you read my article on FEEDBACK you know how feedback can completely derail progress. Sunk cost is almost worst, because it stops everything you’re doing before you even get to a place of thinking about progress!

I finally convinced Roger that it was time to make a radical change to his website. Him saying out loud that his website only sold four courses was the thing that finally clicked in his mind that some had to change. After coming to an agreement about changing his website, the discussion then turned to how much could we change it and what the specific things are that he wants to focus on.

In my mind, there’s almost nothing we can do to Roger’s website that will decrease sales. So the decision to make changes has become much easier for him.

I bring up Roger’s story somewhat prematurely. It hasn’t relaunched yet, but it’s getting very close. I plan on writing a follow up post about him and his story, but I want to let his case study build a bit. I want to see our plan of action get put into place and measure the results. I’m willing to bet my shorts he’ll increase his online course sales tenfold in a very short period of time (way shorter than a year). We shall see.

Change is difficult

I know that I’m an anomaly when it comes to being okay with change, especially as it relates to my website and the things I’m working on. Change comes much easier for me, but I understand it can be difficult.

If your website is not meeting your expectations, it needs to be changed. That doesn’t mean you have to flip it completely upside down and do something crazy, but it does mean that you need to do more than just switch up a few photos or change a color here or there.

Take a moment to write down the three most important things you want your website to be doing for you.

Is it currently doing those things? If it’s not, then you know it’s time for change. And if you’re being really honest with yourself and you have website shame, then all the more reason to embrace some big changes.

Do you want to know the beautiful thing about changing something like your website? You can always revert back! Whoa… mind-blowing right? Gosh, what will they think of next??

My good friend Paul Jarvis said this recently:

“The fewer the complications, the more likely you’ll see a better outcome.”

That simple phrase inspired me to finish this article. An article that I’d had a draft of for a few months before reading Paul’s thoughts on PIZZA (specifically: cheese, sauce and dough). A little pizzandipity never hurt anyone! (That’s pizza + serendipity if you’re keeping score at home)

Stop being ashamed of your website and for the love of Pete (whoever Pete is) make some changes.

This is the end of the yellow brick road. If you want to read more articles mosey on over yonder.