I just got back from an extended business trip to Istanbul, including a visit to the Grand Bazaar—one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, and widely considered to be a precursor to the US shopping mall. It's an impressive place, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops selling everything from mugs to machetes to an estimated 250,000-400,000 visitors daily.
Inside the crowded marketplace, you get the sense that there's nothing you couldn't find there. The problem, of course, is not knowing where to look: The streets are choked and crowded, even in December's off-season. And the merchants shout at you from their individual stalls, clamoring for your attention with invitations like "Hallo! We can help you spend your money!" and "Good day! Come look!"
It's sensory overload, and unless you know exactly what you're looking for and who sells it, despair can set in.
I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that Istanbul's Grand Bazaar reminded me of the MarketingProfs homepage that was. In our case, there was nothing marketing-related that wasn't represented there. (Content marketing training? We've got that over here, lady! Stats on how small businesses are using social media? No problem! Come look!) But as in a colorful, crowded market... good luck finding it on what was our previous homepage.
Today, we've launched a far simpler and cleaner homepage that we think helps visitors make sense of MarketingProfs and directs them efficiently and easily to the content they are looking for.
The biggest change is this: The old MarketingProfs homepage was organized according to our business units, but the new homepage is organized according to the needs of a visitor or subscriber. In other words, the old MarketingProfs homepage was about us. But the new homepage, we hope, is squarely from the perspective of the site visitor.
Now, our homepage is all about you.
That sounds like a simple change, I know. But for a site with our longevity in online marketing—for one that's as topic-rich and content-dense as MarketingProfs—that's a surprisingly complex task!
Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. Ann co-founded ClickZ.com, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.