I joined Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project(SKDRDP) on 10th March as Manager for its Website Management department.  I was selected for this Job after a long interview with Executive Director (in short ED) in the Month of February.  The ED’s primary gripe was despite their super active works none of their activities were getting onto their website, in short no one knew what all things they were doing.

This problem of their made the office of ED was kind of Bipolar. the ED was sitting with all his problems of site not getting updated. At the other end was me – The Juggernaut with will to blow their problem into smithereens. During the conversations the talk some how divulged into my blog. Then they asked me to show my blog and compared it with theirs. My blog was more techy but also more refined than their site.This charged contrasting atmosphere between my blog and their site made poles to come closer and I landed up with SKDRDP.

Joining Events

After I joined, I was given a PC for my works, and I started with the copy of website. I studied the copy understanding its control points, data sources. After some time I learned all the aspects of the website. There were many problem points in website which were affecting users who earnestly wanted to know what is SKDRDP. Some of the painful problems were related to content length, content visibility, redundancy, and most importantly user engagement.

In my initial meeting with ED after I Joined, he gave lots of input on what all things which can be done and needs to be done. When he used to say the suggestions, I used to wonder why such an easy problem was not getting implemented at all. He also constantly used to say we have lots of users, but neither of us had any estimate of it. The site initially didn’t had even analytics installed. In the beginning the site was kind of blind assault, no one knew a bit about users, there was absolutely no data regarding it. Site was for me like house whose rooms and residents I didn’t knew. This pissed me off and I decided to bring in my analytics knowledge to track the data despite it being out of appraisal purview.

The Dawn of Data Era

Once I joined, I pondered about the website trying to understand it. Tried discovering the levers which control different aspects. Once I was comfortable with it, I started with slow changes. One of the pages was down right stale and was not contributing any to the site. That was the first page to get axed by me. Once I axed it, I moved ahead into build the era of data into the site. I signed up for account on Google Analytics and installed it on all pages of the site. It took me around 3 days to install analytics on all pages. By march 21st the entire site was tracked.

Once the site got tracked and I started getting data regarding the visitors I got webmasters too linked to it to see keyword data. Based on keyword data I was able to conclude that site was indeed famous with established user base and keywords. Since SKDRDP is affiliated to Temple, the users were coming to it easy, hence by just updating news section 250 weekly views could be garnered in average for that section.

When I used to compare the data of the site with this blog, the blog was far smaller compared to its traffic. For the site the only thing to get most attention was content section of Google analytics and how well the site was doing with the content. The user demographics and user acquisition was immaterial as the site was established site with stable traffic. On the other hand the this blog was down right puny with no established traffic and Stable user base or keywords. This comparison used to give me an impression that “I am nothing”. I used to wonder what made them hire me? when compared to their tech section and their skill set, I was small and unskilled (I neither know HTML, Java Script or CSS fully). The only thing I know was, user engagement. The tech section was filled with engineers hence they focused on technical aspects, whereas I was product of experience hence focused more on user aspects of site. This user focus made me conversant with ED who used to see site from user POV. This user level focus brought the power of Facebook in getting nearer to general public willing to see our work.

Getting Social

Somewhere in the month of April, I jumped into Facebook and opened SKDRDP’s page. With the entry of Facebook, things started changing. The perennial problem of user being unaware was kicked in its butt. Initially the photos in FB were shared immediately which came at cost of reach. Later the post scheduling was employed which profoundly increased reach and enhanced engagement. Also site went through many cosmetic changes to accommodate the focus it garnered by Facebook.

By getting social and having strong data underpinning, the site is now independent, and on strong footing. Technically from now on the site doesn’t need my care any further, it can grow up on its own further.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.