One of the features i’m really proud of in the YaghiLabs IBA is a Continued Help community forum where students get to interact with our staff and one another, asking any questions that come to mind and get answers.
Well, one of our students submitted this great question i wanted to share with you…
Last night it struck me how much I clicked on the “related” links to the right of the posts on your (jimyaghi.com) site.
Do you have any recommendations for anybody trying to do the same thing on their web site? Is that something custom you guys wrote up, or are you using a content management system (like Joomla or WordPress) to accomplish this?
I as a reader stay engaged in your site longer than I normally would simply because another related article is right there for me to click on without going back to Google to continue my search.
Just a note to other IBA students. I have a bachelor’s in computer science, so accomplishing something technical like this is relatively easy for me to do myself. If you feel your blood pressure going up at the thought of web site design, please see modules 4-10 and 4-11. Module 5 has some good stuff about this too.
Never sacrifice focus on your business getting hung up on relatively mundane tasks. 🙂 Even I have hired PLENTY of technical work done because my time was better spent doing other things. My 1.5 cents. 🙂
Well, like i said it’s a good question and i’m proud of Drew for picking up on the navigation we added to the right of our website.
It actually involves a great deal of custom programming that took me months to implement alongside a number of other features.
You might feel the temptation to go find a plugin to offer related posts to your readers on your blog and think this is THE SECRET.
And if i were some self-appointed Gooroo, i’d probably package up all that custom programming into a paid plugin and try to sell it to you for $197 as the ONLY thing you’ll need to start seeing insane traffic at your website.
I might even turn it into a monthly membership so i can keep sucking up all your hard-earned money for a few more months until you discover the truth…
that the plugin has NOTHING to do with why you want to keep browsing our website.
But i’m not that kind of guy.
I’ll tell you the embarrassing truth, with all its ugly warts…
For less than $20, the IBA will save you 30,000$ in custom programming fees and 6 months of my time i wasted to discover that the world’s most PERFECT interaction plugins don’t do a damn thing.
See, around April of 2010, i decided that i knew the secret to creating a KILLER website.
Being the badass programmer I am, i estimated it would take me 3 weeks to build a number of awesome features into my WordPress website that will increase visibility, interaction, and virality…
So I began by designing the website’s look in photoshop after studying a number of the web’s most trafficked websites…
Then began to write all the complicated code to make it real.
The particular Related Posts plugin i built was all custom.
It used a number of Artificial Intelligence techniques to offer highly related posts to readers of the website.
It used a very complicated database query that took months to debug and optimise.
I spent another month making the sidebar widget move with the scrolling of the page, because there was this “deep psychology” that if people finished reading at any stage, they should have an option of what to do next.
All in all, this entire exercise ended up taking SIX MONTHS to complete. Had I hired a programmer instead, it might have cost $30,000 in coding fees.
But it was PERFECT and it used a number of complicated algorithms which i developed after reading several scientific journal publications on finding related posts quickly.
Then launch day came…
No content had been developed.
No income had come in.
Nothing was for sale.
And when it was all said and done, and real live visitors hit the website, the query became so taxing on my server that i had to upgrade to a bigger one.
Wasted more time doing the migration.
Spent a few weeks trying to optimise the database query further.
Even crashed the server several times.
And any time a visitor arrived on the website, it would take a full 40 seconds to load the next page.
What use was all my interactivity features and research and custom programming if the site crawled?
I had to kill the feature.
In fact, one by one, all the custom plugins i developed were killed off.
Some had bugs.
Some had no practical application.
Some were just unpopular waste of time features.
In the end, all the remained was the overall look…
…and the content.
Drew did make a correct observation though…
The jimyaghi.com website DOES get you engaged and keep you browsing for more articles.
But the related posts have VERY little to do with it.
The content is everything.
Because think about it…
if the article you first read sucks and holds no value for you, then you’re unlikely to click another article, regardless of how related it is.
Don’t get caught up in the technology. It will waste your time and money for little reward.
Focus on the PEOPLE who arrive on your website.
Give them engaging useful content, and some BASIC navigation.
They will keep browsing not because of the technology…but because of the inherent value in your content.
Because it is enlightening.
Because it is entertaining.
Because it is relevant.
There’s an actual method to the madness…which is what makes our website so much more engaging than any other website in the market.
For less than $20, you’ll know the method.
And you won’t need to hire programmers for $30,000 or spend 6 months making the same mistake i made.
Remember, it would be more profitable for us to tell you that the technology is the secret. But we’d be lying…
That’s not how we do business here. The IBA is full of honest, uncomplicated, straight-forward advice about what works.