Rebuilding – Step 3 – Targets

Once I installed the monitoring of goals and gathered some initial data, it was time to start with the changes.  One of the obvious problems from the previous step was that I actually didn’t have my targets on the site.  The action points were missing – no easy way to read movie reviews and no easy way to know that I want people to hire me.  So these were the first things to change.

If you have a look at the site now, you’ll notice that the main menu is re-organized. Most notably it features Movies and Hire me! items.  Movies will take you directly to the list of my movie reviews, which I also improved by filtering out generic movie-related posts.  Hire me! link will lead you to a page which briefly describes what I can do and suggests where to find more information and how to get in contact with me.  Neither one of these action points are in their final stage yet – more changes are coming.  I just needed to start somewhere, so here they are. I have, of course, updated my goal tracking  to use the reviews page and added the new “hire me” goal.

While I was at it, I decided to fix a few other minor things that annoyed me.  Here is what I have done so far:

  • Tags clean-up.  This is still work in progress, but I managed to get a large piece of this work out of the way.  I had almost 2,000 tags in my database and many of those were too generic, tagging a single post.  I renamed and re-organized quite a few of them and now I am left with approximately 1,500 tags.  There are a couple of hundred more that will go away shortly.  This re-organization will make tags more useful and will help visitors find related content easier.
  • Added ‘About me’ section on the front page.  After the main menu reorganization I thought that I had too much of me in there.  “Contact me”, “Hire me!”, “About me”.  So I moved the “About me” into a section and made appear only on the front page.
  • Fixed the RSS image.  The default RSS image from Studiopress theme read “Grab our RSS feed”, but since I am publishing alone on this site, the “our” bit wasn’t making any sense.  I just cropped the image to have the widely recognized RSS icon.
  • Changed search results to feature excerpts instead of full posts.  Full posts were on by default since the last time I edited the theme.  I don’t use search too much, so I didn’t notice how annoying it was.  I tried several ideas to make it better and the only one that actually remains now on the site is excerpts instead of full posts.
  • Changed the tag line from “You just stepped in a pile of posts” to “Thoughts on movies, technology, and everything else”.  I think this one is more focused and that it should help a bit for the search engine optimization.

I’ve also experimented quite a bit with split testing and Google Website Optimizer, but realized that it is too difficult to use for the changes that I am working on now and decided against it.  Later on, when I will test smaller changes, it will come handy though.

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