A Website for Sore Eyes

What's the different between a successful website, and useful information?

In the first few years of MyArthritis, we lumped the two ideas together, as in, "We're pretty sure we have useful information, and we put it on a website....so it must be a success!"

In 2016, we looked at the numbers and saw some interesting things. Over the years, an average of 400 people visited the site each month, spending time on an average of 2.1 pages per web session, and about a minute and a half per session. Returning visitors comprised 10% of all traffic, visited twice as many pages, and spent five times as long on the site as new visitors.

That may or may not sound impressive, but marketers would tell you, "Hey, not bad - you have an active audience, so the information must be useful."

The only problem? Our numbers began to slowly decline. Not by much - perhaps 5-10% over the course of a year, but enough that we began to realize that, while the information may be useful, the website might not be a success. 

MyArthritis Website Sessions May 2013-April 2016

Lumping the two ideas together is no big deal in entertainment, where the information can be quite poor, just as long as the audience is there. (That's a success.)

But in healthcare, good information which goes un-seen because of flaws in the delivery mechanism helps nobody.

We  realized the declining numbers on our website was due in part because it was hard to read on a mobile phone or tablet. 

MyArthritis Website Sessions May 2016-October 2017

In the past four years we've become a mobile society — young and old, male and female, healthy and not. People live by their phones.

Our first website just didn't make the grade, so in order to make the information more easily accessible, we asked our partners in health education to support a redevelopment effort.

This project also allowed us to improve our reporting, social media activities, and periodic blogging on current issues. We thank those that jumped on-board for their support.

We think the new website has achieved our goal (perhaps even leading the way in terms of "mobile responsiveness"), though as with many technology initiatives, time will tell.

We'd love to hear from you — what do you think of the new website? If you never saw the previous website, how does this site compare with other sites you visit on your phone or tablet?