In 2011 we made progress on several fronts on the different J. Boye websites. Among those an improved interface for the Aarhus 11 conference website and a thorough review of the text on our corporate site. Facebook and LinkedIn also got some attention, while we merely scratched the surface when it comes to mobile, SEO and video.
With all the valuable input and learnings we get from the J. Boye group meetings and our wider community, we want to use this opportunity to be open about our own web activities and highlight some of what we learned in 2011.
New and better conference website
Probably the most visible progress we made happened in August, when we finally launched the redesigned Aarhus 11 conference website. Among the notable changes were:
- Improved visual identity to support the conference brand
- Clear call-to-action
- Better program and speaker pages
- Fat footer
The project was a joint effort with our Aarhus friends at Klean and ME! ME! ME!. We've since re-used the interface for the Philadelphia 12 conference website and the conference websites are all powered by WordPress.
Better website texts
Early 2011 we worked with David Lalley from Worddesign. David helped us get a better understanding of our message and highlighted the many areas we simply did not describe and communicate clearly enough. We worked through how to better communicate our vision for web and intranet professionals. David did an excellent job and it was quite an eye opener to see the company and the website through external lenses. One of the tangible results of this work was clearer copy on the website and less unclear or obsolete content.
As happens over time for small and large organisations alike, we had started using different terms for our few products, eg. "community", "network" and "groups" to describe one and the same thing. This creates confusion and lack of clarity. According to David and other friends, our texts also had quite an "insider feeling" making it hard for people new to J. Boye to figure out what actually we have to offer.
J. Boye blog
During the year we shared a number of fascinating stories where digital professionals shared the full story about the successes and challenges with recent projects including:
- Darden Restaurants: CMS selection in a large enterprise
- Mercer maps out career paths for knowledge management professionals
- Swarovski hosts treasure hunt using smartphones
- UPM explores the one page website
The blog also featured several popular guest postings, eg. on Google+ and we wrote our own postings on relevant digital topics. The total number of page views on the many blog postings grew some 12% during 2011.
Since 2008 we've known that a website without statistics is just a hobby, but it remains difficult for us to prioritize and find the time to actively use our website statistics. While we continue to use Google Analytics and have easy access to many useful numbers and reports, we don't systematically use the valuable data.
In 2010 traffic to jboye.com was up 30% compared to 2009 and in 2011 this trend continued with a 24% growth in visitor traffic. The bounce rate unfortunately continued to grow from 71% to 73%.
Compared to past years we did more SEO work in 201. Still much less than intended. Search traffic was up almost 30%, so the potential remains high.
Besides the different ways to spell the company name, popular search terms were "mobile CMS", "SharePoint pricing", "umbraco vs. sitecore" and "intranet trends".
Unfortunately we did not manage to make much progress when it comes to mobile. Traffic from mobile devices is now at 4% of total traffic and was up 50% compared to last year. Some of this is probably coming from iPads, iPhones and Android devices internally on the J. Boye team.
Most of the year we used a simple mobile-friendly template for jboye.com. Based on user feedback, we disabled this at the end of the year, so that mobile visitors now just get the same website as anyone else. The websites, in particular conference sites, are quite heavy on smaller screens, so we need to do better.
With Facebook we've taken a few steps back and forth. In 2010 we decided to close our group and spent a couple of months figuring out how best to use the platform. Based on recommendations from several members, we decided to experiment and launch a J. Boye Page on Facebook in April. The page has since accumulated 117 likes, which might not be very impressive, but has certainly given us useful insights into how Facebook works from a business perspective. Traffic from Facebook is up 77%, but still less than half of what LinkedIn sends us.
LinkedIn continued to become more and more important for us. As a source of traffic, the popular networking site sent us 41% more visitors. Also the J. Boye LinkedIn group grew from 662 to 1121 members and remained a good forum for group members to ask questions and get input and answers.
Twitter traffic was also up, although with only 17%. Still, Twitter sends us more traffic than LinkedIn and the @jboye account ended the year with 1,360 followers up from 781 at the beginning of the year.
A few of us signed onto Google+, but as a company we've done nothing noteworthy yet, except being curious and trying to understand where the rapidly growing network is heading.
High on the 2012 wishlist are better credit card payments, better usage of visual communication including video and responsive web design. Hopefully we'll make progress with our content, SEO and analytics.
Where do you think we should focus our limited efforts? Please feel free to leave a comment and share your ideas for 2012.
- Read our past online annual reports: J. Boye online in 2010, J. Boye online in 2009 and J. Boye blogging in 2008
- Become a group member: Meet with others and get the full story behind the scenes in our many J. Boye groups across Europe and North America. Not yet a group member? Find out which one is right for you.