Another aspect of design is being able to find what you are looking for in a site. Yes it needs to look good, but it also needs to accomplish your business goals.
What’s the One Thing?
Now look at your site.
Does that one thing catch your eye immediately and is easy to figure out? Ask someone who isn’t familiar with your site to do the same. Or ask them to do the thing you want them to do and watch to see how hard it is to do. How many clicks does it take?
For instance my #1 goal is to get people to subscribe to my email list. On P&M the sign up sheet appears from the bottom of every blog page, and it is a big yellow banner on the right side of the page. It can be accomplished by going to the site, typing in 2 fields and hitting return.
The primary goal of EMS Newbie is to get them to subscribe in iTunes. When you go to the site there is one button – again above the fold so you always see it – to click and they are in iTunes.
As an aside, but relevant, you need an easy to remember and type URL to subscribe to your podcast. You will have to say it during your podcast and then the user will have to remember it till they are at the computer and they type it in. I do this using a redirect for both of my domains, so you can just type “domain.com/iTunes” into a browser and you go strait to the iTunes page to subscribe.
Where Am I?
There is an incredibly well done audio podcast that I listen to that does something really strange. When you got the URL with the name of the show, you get a page with 3 other podcasts on it. Huh? Where am I?
Your domain name should only point to your one podcast. If you have more than on, maybe in a network, they should go to the networks’ domain. Don’t confuse people. Links to sister podcasts is fine, just don’t take me to something that confuses me.
Oh and if you are going to steal a design element from Apple for your web page, you got to keep up with their changes in interface. Otherwise you look dated.
Good Show Notes
To me the number one reason people go to a podcast’s website is to get links talked about in the podcast. Those should be in the show notes.
These should include any website mentioned in the podcast. Keep a piece of paper next to you while you are recording and jot down things you mention while recording. (Don’t type it in, people get annoyed when you type while the other guy is talking)
You should have a link to every guest or panel member on the show. Maybe multiple links. Often people will connect with a particular person on the show and want to follow up with them. But they may not catch that info during the show, they expect it in the show notes.
There needs to be a good overview of what you covered as well. It needs to be keyword rich so search engines pick it up and will send people looking for that kind of information to your show.
I know a number of shows that have one line of description and a text only list of people on the show. That will drive someone nuts.
Listener questions and mentions. Everyone loves their name in print. If you answer a listener question give them a little blog love. Also those questions text is good fodder for the search engines when people ask similar questions to google.
Yes doing this level of show notes is sometimes a pain. It takes a while and is tedious. Create a template of the post with the parts that don’t change. Use the pre-show notes as a starting point for what is in the show notes. Transcribe your written notes into the blog post.
Show notes can also go into the lyrics field of the MP3. Links in there don’t do much good, but aren’t bad to put in there. This gives someone trying to decide if you are the episode they want to listen to, so give them good information.
If this all sounds like too much, get someone else to do it. Hire someone in India or the Philippines, or your teenager. Another option is to get a volunteer from the audience. Since you are going to spend some time editing the audio, you could send the raw recoding to someone to write show notes. If you have a following you can probably get a volunteer to do this for you for access to stuff earlier.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for site organization, but it is the bottom of where you need to be.