In 2013 I started a blog, "Yumiko Sato Music Therapy" in Japanese. As my blog grew, it became important to organize a wide range of content and promote my books. I also began consultation services and a podcast. My website no longer met my needs, so I decided to create a new one.
The goal for the new website was to organize content, promote merchandise, create an online store, and post podcast episodes.
The initial focus of the blog was on music therapy, end-of-life care, and grief, but over the years it began to include a wide range of topics such as disabilities, mental health, dementia, medical ethics, and social issues. It became increasingly difficult for readers to find a post they're looking for, since I couldn't organize them based on the topic.
02. Lack of flexibility
I was using Wordpress.com, which gave me little control over the design. As a result I couldn't promote my books and CD in the way I wanted to.
03. Needs for an online store and a webplayer
I began consultation services that required having an online store to handle a reservation and a payment. I also started a podcast in which I’d interview healthcare professionals in Japan. In order to post podcast episodes on the website, I needed a new design.
The goals for the new website:
Organize the articles based on the topic.
Promote my books and CD by creating separate pages.
Add an online store.
Post podcast episodes with a web player.
In order for readers to find the articles they're looking for, I organized them based on the topics. I also added breadcrumbs and the search bar to help them navigate the website.
Since 2014 I've published three books and released a CD. The contents were directly related to my blog - music therapy, end-of-life care, and grief. I created a page for books and another for a CD.
Prior to launching a podcast, I conducted a poll and learned that nearly a half of the readers had never listened to a podcast. Many of them weren't familiar with using a podcast app.
In order to streamline the process of paying for the consultation, I created an online store. Customers can pay either via Paypal or direct deposit, a common paying method in Japan.
Although I was able to translate the theme into Japanese, some words couldn’t be translated, such as “search the site.” Also, since the theme was built in English, it didn’t look as good in Japanese (The inability to change the font contributed to this problem). So I ended up incorporating both languages, using some English words Japanese people could understand.
Not many Japanese people are familiar with listening to podcasts. It was difficult for me to explain to potential listeners how to listen to the episodes, using apps they weren't familiar with.
Making a website and maintaining it was much more time consuming than I had thought. This gave me an insight into the minds of business owners who would rather hire a company to do it.
Most Japanese bloggers use built-in platforms similar to Medium, which not only makes it easier but also helps them gain traffic. Had I done that it might have helped me get more traffic for my website, but ultimately it was more important for me to build my brand.
Initially I thought that my blog readers would learn how to use podcast apps and begin listening to the episodes using them. But the analytic shows that most listeners of my podcast are still listening to it on the website. I learned that it’s hard to change behaviors, even though one way is easier than the other.