Stop Treating Your Website Like A Broken Old Boat

There are two prevailing mentalities when it comes to the investments we make in business.

First, there are the investments we make in our future: things we build on, knowing our initial investment is just the beginning. We see our children this way, to draw a personal example.

The second mentality sees investments as expenses: something we have to have, are forced to maintain over time, and hope to spend as little as possible on in the future.

Ask a boat owner if they know this feeling.

How Does Your Business See Its Website?

The purpose of web analytics is to look at our websites and our businesses as maleable, dynamic creatures, constantly in need of improvement and encouragement.

Websites are like innocent little babies, sometimes ugly (and like babies, we aren’t always honest about this), sometimes cute, but most of the time, they are in need of a lot of attention so they don’t just sit there and poop their pants all the time.

Website analytics plays a key role in our parenting. It’s how we observe the site, correct its behavior, socialize it, help it develop its interpersonal skills, etc.

When you look at your site like a boat, however, you just made a major purchase and are entering this endeavor with a mindset that will definitely lead to problems down the road.

Without giving your site the attention it needs, it’ll grow old, irrelevant, and break down, sometimes leaving you in the middle of the lake. When your boat gets old and starts to have major problems (or you have severe boat envy), you’ll ruefully go out and buy another one, most likely.

This is what happens with a website “re-design.” It’s the new version. The upgrade. But you don’t see Google, Zappos, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Huffington Post and the like out there getting new boats.

They are, instead, forging their sites over time, making small, frequent changes that add up to huge differences over the long run, but don’t represent the enormous incremental investments that redesigns end up being, since the changes are smaller and related to the behavior they observe. The changes these sites make aren’t wild guesses about how to completely overhaul the entire offering like whole new boats are.

SEOs have a great opportunity to infuse their business with a better mindset that encourages small and purposeful growth, rather than huge redesigns (which have clear and often dangerous SEO implications). This is because you guys (and ladies) have tremendous insight into where needs are and aren’t being met, and where content and architecture does and doesn’t help produce results.

What would it take to change the way your company views its investment in its web presence?

It’s worth noting that some sites may be technically incapable of this sort of growth and a redesign and new model may be needed. SThat new model should be created with the intent that there isn’t yet another major redesign out there in the future somewhere. Make this site fit your new, nurturing mentality, and go forward from there.

Stock image from Shutterstock, used under license.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Search & Analytics


About The Author: is the Director of Client Performance at Search Discovery, an Atlanta-based search marketing and web analytics agency. Evan is a fierce believer in the power of web analytics and the impact it can have on the performance (and lovability) of web sites. Evan also writes a web analytics blog called Atlanta Analytics and can be found as @evanlapointe on twitter.

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  • Rick Vidallon

    Great article for updating websites. As a side note I had a law client updating their website for nearly a year. They had added over a 100 pages of content ( new pages) to get their website found better on Google. This month they called us wanting to know why Google is only seeing ’31′ of their web pages. ~ Our analysis revealed that a keyboard character their office paralegal was entering ( the person in their office person who was updating their website) was using a keyboard character that was being interpreted as a snippet of code and blocked all the pages from being seen in Google. As a result they lost nearly a year of Google crawl time for all these new pages. So to say what you ‘type’ and what you ‘see’ display fine in your website, but only a coding professional knows if the code or characters are technically correct so they do not cause your website any harm or difficulty over search engines.


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