Why Your Website Is Never Finished

I wanted to share a story of discovery. A story of what happened as we built our newsletter site.

Why Your Website Is Never Finished
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       I wanted to share a story of discovery. A story of what happened as I built this newsletter site.  I first built this newsletter's website using Ghost and hosting on a professional ghost web host,  gloathost.com.

       While I could host myself, the hassle of keeping Ghost up to date is something that I am willing to pay for. Reasonably priced web hosting services off economies of scale that make it easier for me to outsource that kind of maintenance to a web host. The website design went smoothly. I intentionally went for a minimal 'undesign' style of the website for now. The CSS/HTML code  I was able to write by myself. I had a freelancer help with the difficult parts.

       While OnTheDaily is an email-first newsletter, without enough traffic, it is hard enough to see what is popular. For newsletters, we have something called an 'open rate' where we find out what percentage of readers opened the email. A newsletter open rate, while great, only tells part of the story. We can tell approximately how many people have opened the newsletter, but we don't know what PART of the email letter was popular.

       What I did not know, among other things. was how much the world is ruled by SEO ( Search Engine Optimization). Over the years, an arms race has been going on.  People trying to game search engines and search engines trying not to be gamed have been getting more and more sophisticated.

       I found many of my problems through constant testing. Frankly, I was amazed at how many errors I had on my website. These were not 'errors' in the sense that they caused the website to stop working. They were errors in that search engines may not be able to index the website properly because of the changes brought on by SEO. I was testing using different web performance websites, constantly improving OnTheDaily.

       The result of all this is that you are someone on your team who needs to constantly test your website with different services. Your site will always be changing and each change can be a source of a problem.  My routine every day is to look at a site performance website, to see if anything we have done has changed. Usually, it is nothing, but I made it a habit. I usually make any changes on the weekends, so any misconfiguration mistakes would show up a few days later.

The Founders blog is a behind the scene blog on our thought process while building onthedaily.info.

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Derrick Jackson
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