Updates and Future Features

I promised you all a new post several weeks ago, but I put the proverbial cart before the horse. The “Raging RömHead” series will continue; however, there are a few items that will need to be completed before that can continue.

The next piece in the Raging RömHead series will be shining some light on the pros and cons of using Facebook as your main web presence.

Also, we’ve added some new clients in recent weeks and look forward to completing some projects for people who have some excellent ideas. Please remember, if you need assistance in getting your project up and running, we’re here to help. Just shoot an email to steven@romhead.com and let us know what you have in mind.

The Most Important Stakeholder of Your Website

Who’s the most important person or organization involved with your website?
a. You, the person or organization behind the website
b. The person who builds your website
c. The advertisers who advertise on your website
d. None of these

If you answered d. None of these – you are correct.

The most important stakeholder for your website is the reader, also often known as the customer. Therefore, the most important thing your website should be doing is keeping your customers on your website, either consuming your content or buying your products. Unfortunately, websites in the late 2010s have morphed into a landing page for serving invasive advertisements or for launching readers into a social media platform. This is the first in a series of articles that will explore ideas surrounding development of better alternatives for readers and content creators.

Killing the Golden Goose

Readers have grown weary with the constant barrage of full-screen advertisements, particularly on smartphones and tablets. My wife was recently browsing a local television station’s local news website for an update on a story that had caught her interest. The news site loaded partially before launching an ad that involuntarily took her away from the news site with no option of going back to the article. The only options were to tap on the ad or close the browser tab. She closed the browser tab and now takes in news through other avenues. The local television station lost a guaranteed website reader and a potential set of eyes on the channel itself. Instead of gaining a potential customer, the customer has fled for good.

Pay rates for ad clicks are hilariously low, usually just a few cents per click. The idea is to get millions and millions of clicks on ads to generate significant revenue. The problem is that most readers aren’t looking to click on advertisements – they’re looking to consume some content that has been provided. The reader has an interest in an article or product provided by the supplier, but the supplier is looking to make some extra revenue to help cover the costs of doing business. This is not an indictment of businesses trying to make money. If a business doesn’t make money, it’s unsustainable and will go out of business. But apparently the main goal for the online presence of many businesses is to trick readers into tapping or clicking on an advertisement with no regard to the consequences of such trickery. Many people react the same way my wife did and simply turn to another platform in hopes of finding information with far less invasion.

I hope the local television station doesn’t spend that four cents of ad revenue all in one place.

These full-screen ads that completely overtake devices have led angry web users to employ the services of ad-blocking software. This software blocks any advertisements that may appear on the reader’s screen which in turn has an adverse effect on ad revenues. Some sites have turned to limiting or even completely blocking content that is served to users of ad-blockers. Other sites have granted ad-free experiences to their readers in exchange for a monthly fee – sometimes as little as a couple of dollars per month. Still other sites have become even more aggressive in their advertising practices in an attempt to circumvent ad-blockers altogether, which punishes users who do not use ad-blockers.

This all seems so backwards. Why are content-makers insistent on beating ad-blockers? Why not study the reasons readers use ad-blockers in the first place? And then – more importantly – why not use that information to deliver a more reader-friendly website experience that accomplishes both the goals of the business and the wants of the readers?

At RömHead, we will deliver whatever the paying customer wants to serve to their clients; however, we will also strive to help content providers understand the importance of taking care of the most valuable stakeholder in a website – its readers.

Come back next week as we explore the growing trend of pushing social media as the main web presence of businesses and organizations.

 

The History of Me

Hi. My name is Steven. I’m the guy who runs this blog and does the coding for RömHead Creative Technologies projects. We’ve done a few websites in the last year, but now that I’m finishing up graduate school I’m ready to take this to a whole new level.

My interest in programming and coding dates back to the late 90s. A technology class I took in my freshman year of  high school had a web developer module. It may have been my first experience using the actual Internet, but I’m a little fuzzy on the details. In the module, we used a GUI to build sites much like you see with today’s drag-and-drop platforms. In other words, no coding was required.

Later on, I began experimenting with a personal site hosted on Homestead for free. Riverpoet’s Crash Site was a hodgepodge of Depeche Mode fandom and political blogging before the word “blog” was a household name. Eventually Homestead started charging money for all the cool parts of the service and I dropped Riverpoet’s Crash Site. Several months later, I took my first formal programming class. We learned the HTML of the day and plugged it into Microsoft Frontpage. I learned a ton about HTML and developed websites for several organizations and a couple of businesses over the next few years.

For whatever reason, I went to business school despite the fact that technology was my bigger passion. At the time, it felt like the safe bet. Who knew that the MBAs would mostly be unemployed by the end of the decade? And who would want to hire a BBA when so many MBAs were willing to work for so little? I was laid off from my first business job in 2010 and struggled to find work.

In 2011, I received a call from a recruiter who was looking for someone who could use Microsoft Excel. It was for a healthcare company – I had no healthcare experience, but I was hired anyway. A few years later I jumped up to a compliance manager role. In between all that, I continued to develop websites on the side.

Today I’m looking to grow my side projects and learn even more about the world of programming. Since I learned HTML so long ago, I’ve upgraded my knowledge and skills to HTML5 and CSS. SQL was a formidable challenge, but thankfully I was taught by the guy who wrote the textbook on relational database – quite literally. Learning C# programming was fun. I’m currently learning the fundamentals of Python. I’ll be finished with my Master’s degree in Information Systems with a project management emphasis in just a few weeks.

The way things are today is maddening. With fake news, misleading click baiting headlines, and general dishonesty in the name of a few cents of ad revenue all running rampant, honest folks have a hard time getting noticed. I’m hoping to change that, even if it’s just one project at a time.