We often talk about how a website is like an organic, living creature. In fact, we talked about that again last week. We also talk about that organic thing as if it were a plant, but I think it’s time we change up the terminology for the black-thumbed people. So, if you can kill a cactus with your tender loving care, this is the post for you.
Psychology has always been of interest to me. I’ve always wanted to know why people did what they did. As a marketer, this information is invaluable to me and my clients-the ability to understand how people tick is gold in this industry.
To me, neurology is just a step away, and just as fascinating a science. How does a brain form? What causes you to do on a physical level? Turns out that it’s a pretty complicated process.
The human brain, according to Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has something like 86 billion neurons. It has approximately 100 – 500 trillion synapses. Those synapses are part of the neural pathways – the conduits for communication between neurons. The synapses can be used to either reduce or decrease activity in the target area (for example, starting to tap your foot and stopping).
Growing up, synapses and neural pathways are constantly forming, but once you get to a certain age (about 25), they start to settle in and stagnate. It’s about this time that people start looking at questions like, “How can I create new neural pathways?”
The really fascinating thing is that the best way to keep your mind active is simply to… keep your mind active. Forcing yourself to learn new things, like learning a new language or how to play the piano, can help your brain build new neural pathways, keeping it somewhat young and healthy. In other words, to continually feed those pathways new information.
Repetition and practice can also strengthen those neural pathways. This helps you build good habits-by forcing yourself to do the same thing at the same time, or the same way, and so on.
This concept isn’t that farfetched from the idea of how a website works. You don’t even have to stretch the imagination. Your website, much like your brain, uses neural pathways to communicate via the Internet highways and byways. You send information down the line to other areas: Twitter, Facebook, a seed site, an ad.
-And, just like your brain, your website can get old and rigid.
So how do you keep a healthy brain? Erm – website? A few tips to consider:
It takes approximately 66 days to create a brand-new habit, no matter how good it is. So, when you start a new blog, for instance, or a new Facebook account, you have to remember what’s happening on the other side of the coin.
While you’re writing your blog post and trying to get into that habit, someone is coming into contact with your blog. However, they don’t know when you post – so they have to learn that. Then, they don’t know if you post regularly. Once they know that, they still have to develop the habit of looking over your blog when it comes out.
Point is, it takes time to grow an audience. Don’t give up quickly.
Always be looking for ways to grow your site. Places you’ve used for years can stagnate and die out without warning. In fact, die out is one of the biggest reasons for lost backlinks. Companies die, website’s close, and you’re stuck holding 30 dead links.
While there’s such a thing as growing too fast, in which case you’ll still suffer, moving too slow can be just as detrimental. Carefully consider any time you get an opportunity to grow your network. That new opportunity may be your saving grace later on.
A friend of mine kept losing her keys, so she set her mind to put them in the same place, every time she came home, as soon as she came home. It took her over a month, but she’s almost got that habit formed.
For your website, make sure that your new connections are regularly managed. If you post, post on set days each week. If you have social accounts, try to post at regular intervals. Test in the beginning, but once you think you have a good time ironed out, stick to it.
Creating new neural pathways isn’t easy, and it takes time. Your website is no different. It takes time to grow and flourish. But a well-managed website is one that grows with purpose and goals – not one that grows willy-nilly with no direction.
If you feel like your website may have stagnated, stop and take stock. Answer the 5 journalist questions of “who, what, when, where, why, how”.
- Who are my target audience?
- What do they need?
- When are they looking for it?
- Where are they looking for it?
- Why are they looking for it?
- How am I going to give them what they need?
Take the time to search out new connections that will help you solve that last question and, once found, be consistent with how you nurture them. With a little TLC and forethought, you’ll find your website – and your brain, for that matter-growing in leaps and bounds.