Launch the Website POD

The beginning of the year often comes with reflection and wishes for the future. In the next few minutes of reading, I want to share my thoughts on the present, and the future of the Index Coop website. The forum post ends with a proposal on how I envision a website team responsible for the long-term maintenance of this product. Let’s start with the present!

Where are we today? :eyes:

A key recent milestone was the re-style of the website page and the introduction of the Index APP. When you head to indexcoop.com, you can taste the same experience as in other DeFi protocols. That is, we offer now a dedicated web page for users that want to discover Index products and a separate one for users that want to use them (buying, selling, or staking for example). This is what is immediately visible.

What you probably haven’t noticed is that we introduced a new way of working when it comes to website product requests:

  • There is an unofficial team, whose conversations happen on Discord, that coordinate and share knowledge to immediately respond to issues and change requests
  • We have a dedicated page on Notion to collect relevant information and updates (Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.)
  • We have a product backlog in a Kanban format to collect change requests and manage priorities
  • We have a clear process in place for development-testing-deployment changes in the production environment
  • We have a roadmap publicly accessible which contains the major feedback the community shared when asked “how would you envision the future of this website”. Also, we are busy implementing the features to execute this roadmap :100:
  • We now have a dedicated Discord channel #website to raise questions, concerns, feedback & more

I am sure I missed some other great achievements done in the last months, but this is not the scope of this post.

Why do I think it is an unsustainable model? :open_mouth:

There is a tweet that I sometimes quote when I want to give my words a more sensational tone. The tweet is the one from Vitalik at the end of the 2017 bull cycle about the market cap spike.

image

Let me re-use it in this context. Have we earned the recent achievements with our website? IMHO, the recent achievements are the result of the extraordinary work of some contributors in our DAO that have constantly delivered value beyond expectations. This is what made it possible to release this recent progress in a reasonable amount of time. But, what happens when the same people need to allocate time somewhere else? Short answer: we are stuck and we don’t have a fallback plan. In other words, we can’t deliver.

Moreover, there is an excessive reliance on a few contributors to make progress and this is not healthy in any working group. In an ecosystem as loose as DAOs, the scenario of depending on one man/woman’s job to move forward is worth flagging.

How can we improve? :rocket:

Before writing down my proposal, I would like to know from other IC members how would you rate the value of the website in comparison with other products. Would you consider the IC website creating more or less value than our social media accounts? Would you consider the website generating more or less value than our Index products? Or, they are not comparable?

When I try to answer some of these questions myself, I do see a lot of value generated through our website. The challenge is that it’s not so easy to measure. However, it generates value in so many different ways. It does when it nudges a user to buy/sell our products after providing a list of detailed information. It does when it announces that a certain initiative is happening (for example, the Earn Yield section). It does when it gives the user the curiosity to discover and eventually join our community & more.

As a result, I believe that a product generating a high value needs a dedicated team for maintaining and generating even more value. This is why I propose the creation of a website pod whose scope is to manage the long-term growth of the Index website including both the marketing site (indexcoop.com) and the Index APP (app.indexcoop.com).

The website pod/team would have the following characteristics:

  • A dedicated team made of at least 6 dedicated contributors with the following roles/responsibilities: 1 product representative, 2 engineers with both FE and BE knowledge, 1 designer, 1 SEO expert, and 1 tester.
  • Using Kanban as work methodology with the presence of a weekly alignment meeting
  • A dedicated team budget that we can use to finance the website-related activities. I haven’t come up with any estimation because I would like to sense the community first on this initiative
  • The entire team will own the product roadmap and use the shared knowledge to manage the product in the long-term in such a way that no contributor is “too big to fail”.

I hope this will elicit the proper level of discussion within the community. I am open to expanding more some paragraphs if you see the need.

Wish you a great beginning of the year! Ciao :slight_smile:

11 Likes

Great proposal. Just curious about this part whether there is any tracking on the site or social media in place right now (to see the impact of different channels on buying products)?

I’m supportive of this! Methinks formalizing the website team into a pod will make it a lot easier to coordinate with the rest of the Coop. Group chats aren’t good for that.

5 Likes

In support of this. Our website does a number of things for us including:

  1. Provide legitimacy to IC
  2. Only location for people to get LM or SSS rewards
  3. Facilitate Exchange Issuance for larger purchases
  4. Go to for all product information

Right now it’s not clear who owns this process so adding some legitimacy will improve the process.

5 Likes

Agree with the Website Pod… needs a budget same with other growth initiatives.
Having dedicated team on both app and marketing site is essential for branding, design and development.

3 Likes

You have my “Aye” on this.

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Definitely support this. Interested to see where this will fit in with the new org structure.

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Great proposal. I fully support maintaining a good website – it is often what people are looking at when they are deciding whether to invest or not, so it should not be a turn off.

With respect to the mention of ‘excessive reliance on a few contributors’, I would like there to be documentation efforts as part of the pods work.

Hoping this pod can be made to happen!

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Alex, first thanks for all the work you put into this in the last weeks. You have been the turbo to this machine :slight_smile:

Just some quick thought from my side on this.

I totally see @mrvls_brkfst point here. For many people a website is still the first place to go. If you are under 25 and reading this, then it is a different story. When your are over 40 you grow up with www. Today things are more platform driven, but for older people like me it is still the first thing to check the website. If it appears trustworthy I will have a deeper look. Btw this was one of the main reasons I am here. The old website was cool. But in the future we address millions of 40+ who want to spent a part of their live savings, and for this you have to appear, again, trustworthy.
This doesn’t mean it has to look like a bank website, but should have a clear, direct message to communicate. All transparent and easy to get. No chichi.
That is one point to have a good website. But it can be more than a website from my point of view, it can be the hub of others things, too. I want to see blog posts in many different languages so we don’t have to rely on medium or substack, and build our on content on our on site.
Close to this, I want to have internationalisation, this page has to be available in every single language it makes sense. And if this means 28 of them, okay.
Website is the the starting point of the APP, the point where you can sell/buy, govern or stake. This is the point for professionals/corporate and casual investors to track the Index token portfolio to make smart decisions.
And it could be the door to Real Life with an event calendar for local community meetings or big conferences.

And for all this you definitely need an encouraged team for maintenance and develop new necessary things.

4 Likes

Really appreciate the effort that has gone into the website lately, and the way that it’s provided some awesome contributors with a platform to show off their work! That said, I’ll play devil’s advocate on the idea of a website pod…

First, I don’t think that websites as content hubs play the same role with the same importance in Web3 vs Web2. Information moves so quickly, in a highly distributed environment, and websites are historically bad at keeping up with that kind of pace and flow. Rather than try to track down all of the different sources of content about IC, I’d advocate for providing links or feeds to all of the different sources (medium, substack, twitter, etc) so that our consumers can easily DYOR. This is a lighter effort from a dev perspective that will keep the user more up to date. This does not benefit us SEO-wise, but I have yet to see SEO be a key lever for any org in Web3.

Instead of an expanded group of core website contributors, could we continue to rely on a few contributors from PWG/EWG to prioritize needed updates, and open-source the website so that anyone can submit updates to it? I could see this being a great way to support additional languages, add new features, fix bugs, etc. I do recognize the importance of finding rewards and exchange issuance, though would expect those to be tackled by the pods that launch and maintain the products they relate to.

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Our website has the potential to deliver customer touchpoints at every level of the marketing funnel. We need to measure

  • Increasing number of Users as a measure of increased AWARENESS
  • Decreasing Bounce Rate as a measure of audience ALIGNMENT
  • Increasing Average Session Duration as a measure of ACQUISITION
  • Focus on Purchase Signals "connect wallet and “buy” as a measure of ACTIVATION
  • Increasing New vs Return Visitors as a measure of RETENTION
  • Connecting buy signals with on-chain data to attribute REVENUE to web activity
  • Increasing the number of “Shares” or Reviews on content as a measure of REFERRALS

@catjam as an indication of the use of SEO as a key lever I offer this example from a competitor analysis - Bitwise Investments, the planets leading crypto assets manager with a web profile showing that over 50% of traffic comes from search, primarily Google organic (45%). These guys have a massive SEO presence that we are now chasing.

The “unofficial” website pod have been mission critical to getting our technical SEO to a position of best practice, including working weekends. The behind the scene activity is deserving of a pod.

However, I come from a background of web 2 digital startups and in the last decade have rarely required engineers - beyond initial set up - in order to operate a marketing or commerce site. I understand the need from the security perspective of having engineers involved in the App. side But not for a marketing website. Can someone explain to me please why we are operating dual systems, adding complexity and making simple website updates significantly harder than it needs to be?

Removing engineering lift from the website build was a problem WordPress - still the world’s #1 open source Content Management Systems (CMS) - solved for over a decade ago. Website planning was all before my time so I’m interested to learn more about the decisions that bought us to this juncture.

Q: Was a comparative analysis undertaken when selecting tools
Q: What were the key consideration for selection?

Effectively, a website team should not need even one full-time engineer and we could significantly reduce the engineering lift on the marketing website if we could simplify. And so I’d like to suggest we run a cost-benefit analysis of consolidating the marketing website to a single platform that would require no engineering lift to publish pages and posts.

We should compare the cost of transitioning to Contentful or WordPress against the ongoing cost of having engineering talent build a website instead of products. I know we have just got a lovely new web flow site live, but sunk costs should not prevent us from identifying (and pivoting to) the most efficient and effective path forward.

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Hey @alerex

Thanks for proposing this. I’ve been taking a moment to think - and we’re speaking tomorrow.

I think it’s worth investing in the website, but in a slightly leaner way, under Growth, as I think a Growth person, an SEO, a designer are all key members of this team anyways, there’s probably a slightly lower amount of Engineering work (IMHO), and I was kinda hoping you might be a Growth PM in the newly forming Growth Nest! :slight_smile:

A few of the reasons that I see to own and manage our own site, and as currently structured @catjam @lee0007:

  • We produce a lot of written content, currently hosted elsewhere, which we’re about to deploy via our own Contentful blog. This will us improve our SEO as well as help us learn more about what content does for us generally and which themes work
  • We don’t need to build a giant citadel though - the primary product thing we do here is launch index and leveraged products
  • The marketing site and app site structure is really a security (and kinda best practice) thing too, which the contributors to this project so far felt was optimal, with security and functionality being concerns raised by Engineering. In time, with more functionality and infrastructure build we could offer more technical functionality in the marketing site and think about unification. The current structure is the same as UniSwap and other defis as well as Fidelity and Schwab in tradfi. Contentful for the blog and Webflow for the marketing site where chosen after an analysis of the options available to us, the Coop’s needs today, and the Coop’s ambitions in the future. We also considered Wordpress, Ghost, Webflow for marketing site and blog, custom html, and a couple of others I’m forgetting. Engineering always wanted the app site to be a react app (which is was already).
  • With a change in process we can also deploy content without needing Engineering. We can deploy using Contentful (blog) and Webflow (marketing site pages) - all the infrastructure is built, with Contentful blog being available to clients soon (within a week or two I guess, depending on an engineering contributor). With an agreed change in process, I’m cool with it - Growth can launch and testing landing pages and content as it needs, the app site being a react app which (for good reason) has less pages deployed each month/quarter can be maintained by a small engineering resource.

(If the app site needs to do more and more things, and we as a DAO want to very significantly scale up the ambitions there, we can revisit where this all lives in the Coop).

So, Ale, again, thanks for posting; thoughts in the second paragraph above; and look forward to chatting.

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Congrats @alerex on the very public job offer! :grin:

I agree engineering resources can start out way leaner than the original post has it.

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First of all, thanks a lot to everyone for the replies (here or Discord), suggestions, critiques, & more. This whole discussion brought us already an incredible result: there are today concrete conversations for the institution of a website pod within one of the existing nests. This is more than I could hope for after 10 days from this post.

Replies in order:

This is an area where I need to catch up ASAP. We have an SEO squad that it’s helping us to make our website more SEO friendly as well as keep track of relevant website metrics. I am not sure about our social media analytics :man_shrugging:

Not a simple decision. I know that both product and growth nests are two candidates for it.

@mrvls_brkfst have you already checked our Notion page?. What other document sources would you like to see in the future?

We are on the same page here when it comes to this website vision. I think we can do a better job to express and share this vision outside our small workgroup. Some points that I also want to see in our roadmap indeed are:

  • more languages support → not started yet
  • website as a place to read our blog posts → there is an ongoing development for a blog site that can be reached out via our website
  • index APP as a place for investors to make smart decisions about their Index portfolio → this is nr. 1 priority at this moment; there are a lot of opportunities to exploit with the Index APP. I think we are working in the right direction atm by updating the style and introducing the dashboard feature

Thanks @catjam for bringing an alternative view here.

Yes, I think we could continue with the existing model and there wouldn’t be any major impacts. However, I still believe that this model is less valuable than an official pod that takes ownership of the website growth and delivers accordingly a roadmap.

Without an official team, the coordination might become very messy when people join/leave, no clear who owns the roadmap, no clear who to contact for change requests, & more. I envision a pod better prepared to tackle these challenges than the existing model.

Great points @lee0007. I agree that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to believing that Webflow is the only tool we will ever use for our website. There are likely better tools out there to fit our website offer and I am keen to start the conversation about it.

At the same time, we should be careful with the timing here. We are still busy finishing the implementation/re-style of the Index APP and the announcement of a new tool to integrate would lead to a lot of frustration.

My suggestion is to work with what we have until we reach a maturity level. Maturity for me means a stage where we don’t have major improvements to release as well as we have a clear overview of how users are using our website. Most of the work we do by then is updating page content and implementing small design changes.

That is the moment where we start the conversation for a new website season with for example the proposal of using a new tool. Just my 2 cents. Curious to hear others opinions on this

I would be honored to continue this journey in the new proposed structure. And, I agree that the pod composition requires a growth representative. It slipped my mind when I was thinking about a pod composition :rofl:

3 Likes

Fully agree that more resources should be applied here. I anticipate that for many people (especially those who aren’t as involved in web3 / retail investors) the website will be the final friction zone prior to investing in one of the IC products, so having a high quality website/app is essential for continued growth.

I think it would be helpful to use some A/B testing on website updates to determine how to better capture users and increase interaction with both the marketing site (for information consumption) and the app (for hopefully pulling in a higher # of users).

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Yes, the notion info is great and helpful for coordination, no doubt! My thought in the comment was just around having a change log, so that context can be maintained and people can pick up where others leave off.