Skip Callout Research For A Week -- Do This Test Instead
August 5, 2014
If you are regularly conducting callout research on your music, you're probably relying on it too much. I'm not going to expand on that statement. Deep down, we both know it's true.
Instead, I am going to suggest that you do a different type of test this week. (In all honesty, there's no reason why you couldn't do both tests this week, but I like to take my cheap shots at callout research when I can.)
This test is called a Website Usability Test.
The purpose of a website usability test is to determine what people do when they come to your website. Do they find it easy to use? Or do they get frustrated by simple tasks?
Your website is an incredibly valuable marketing tool, both for listeners and advertisers. You want to make sure that when people come to your website, they have a good experience. But you don't need to hire an expensive firm to accomplish this. In fact, you can run a simple website usability test on your own website for less than $200. It will only take you a few hours, and the insight you will gain will be invaluable.
Before I go any further, let me give credit where credit is due: Everything I am about to tell you comes from the book Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug. Steve Krug runs website usability tests for a living, and he wrote a short book telling you how you can run your own. Everybody who has a website should buy a copy of this book. It will take you less than an hour to read, and it will have a huge impact on your online presence.
(I also heartily endorse Steve's other book, Don't Make Me Think, which has become required reading in many web design courses. Again, it won't take you long to read, and he has just released a revised version with a new chapter on mobile websites.)
The way a Website Usability Test works is simple: You sit somebody down in front of a computer, open a browser to your website, and ask them to perform some basic tasks, such as, email the morning show. As they perform these tasks, you ask them to think out loud, so you can see what parts of your website are working well and what parts are giving people trouble. Repeat this process with three different people. It takes less than an hour per person. Pay each person $50 for their time (or give them some cool radio swag).
A Website Usability Test is not meant to be pinpoint accurate. We're not measuring the atomic weight of covalent bonds in dilithium crystals here. The point is to show you the three to five biggest issues with your website so that you can fix them. In my experience, these issues always fall into the slap-yourself-in-the-forehead-and-scream-duh category.
For example, I also run a website about food and travel called Taste Trekkers. When I ran my first usability test, we didn't have a search bar on the site. When we asked people to find a good place to find barbecue in Atlanta, they quickly grew frustrated.
Now there's a search bar at the center of our homepage.
Based on the results from our first website usability test, we were able to make some simple changes. Almost overnight, we found more people coming to our website, and staying on it longer when they did come.
So skip callout for a week and put together a website usability test instead.
NEXT STEP 1: Buy Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug.