Think About Your Goals When Planning a Website

My kids love to play the games on the Nick Jr. website. There’s a good range of free activities they can do there. But they were very frustrated a couple months ago when the site changed. Suddenly they were having trouble reaching the games section.

nickgamesmenuBy all appearances it should be easy. There’s a drop down menu for games and activities, and games is the first selection. But then they were faced with an image of a game that requires a membership (free trial) or a list of show titles to click on to find the game they wanted to play. Hard for my son, who doesn’t read yet.

The next click allows them to pick a game. Finally, they’re at the place they’re used to using for choosing the games they enjoy playing. After the interstitial ad before the first game, of course.

What does all this have to do with planning your own website? Plenty!

It’s important to remember what your goals are. The goal for Nick Jr. isn’t only to provide free entertainment. They need to provide value for their advertisers. And if they can get paid memberships for access to certain games, so much the better for them.

This redesign meant that I had to spend some time helping my kids get through the new interface. We’ve since bookmarked the games main page to simplify things, so now the kids just have the interstitial ad to deal with.

In terms of meeting business goals, I’d say the design did pretty well. It’s a bit frustrating for the main actual users of the site, especially the pre-literate ones, but parents should pay some attention to what their kids are doing even on safe sites.

That’s something you have to consider with your website. Provided great value for free is a lovely goal, but what about the parts that feed your family? Are you taking care of that too?

It’s not always an easy goal to reach. Providing content is easier in many ways.

First thing to do is just get it out there. Whatever is going to help you make money, make sure it’s on your website.

See how it does with your initial placement. Are you earning something from it? Is it relevant to what people who visit your site really want?

Now move it someplace else on the page. How is it doing now?

As a general rule, fairly high on the page and toward the left is most prominent, and likely to help you earn the most money. That’s not a guarantee. It’s a place to start.

You also need to test phrasing, any ways you’re drawing attention to your offer or advertising, and anything else you can think of to test.

Don’t assume one offer will always be the best either. I’ve had ads do well here for months, then dribble off to just about nothing. Frustrating, but that’s all a part of the business.

Your goals should be a combination of earning money and bringing people back to your site. Earning money once is nice, but if you can get them onto your list, you have potentially many more chances to earn from them. Not a bad deal if you can make it work.

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