My name is Bruce Bell and as Chair of the IOBAbooks Committee I thought I should keep you, our members, informed of the committee’s work. Over the coming months the IOBAbooks committee is going to begin a programme of changes to the IOBAbooks site. These changes are based on a number of things we believe about IOBAbooks.
- As the only trade body aimed at ‘online’ sellers the IOBA should have the best possible (if not the best) online sales portal.
- Most of us lack the resources (time/knowledge/technical know-how/finance) to create our own, truly effective, web presence, but collectively we can do just that.
- The IOBAbooks site should be more than simply a sales venue for our members. It should also be a means of promoting the IOBA and of promoting the businesses of our members.
- The IOBAbooks site should serve as an educational resource for members developing their own site – we’ll share with you what’s working and what’s not and, if we think we know them, the reasons why.
- IOBAbooks needs to be radically different. Lots of small venues have come and gone. If we do what they did we’ll end up where they ended up.
- Central to all this is moving the site from a search based model toward a browsing model. At some point I shall say more about this but for now all I shall add is that I want visitors to our site to browse the books we do have, not search for something we very well might not have.
So what are you going to see?
In the very short term we intend to make a few, pretty crude, changes to the front page. These changes are a stop-gap measure while we work on a full redesign and are aimed at reducing the site’s bounce rate. As we make these changes we’ll publish to this list regular analytics reports. This will give both you and us an insight into what’s working and what’s not and, we hope, why.
Going forward the site will be redesigned. The brief for that is that we want a site that is engaging and interactive and which encourages browsing (we will not be removing any of the search functionality from the site). Obviously engaging and interactive suggests things to interact with and to be engaged by. This is where you all come in. How far we can get with any of this will depend on how involved we can encourage you to be.
One of the things the committee is working hardest on is finding ways to involve the membership in the site. This is about us helping you to help us to promote your books and your business. But all that is in the future.
For now if anyone would like to get involved (those with ideas about marketing, driving traffic etc might be especially welcome on the committee), has ideas on or questions about what we’re doing, then please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org