This article is a continuation from Need a New Website Part 2.
In my previous article we looked at four critical questions to ask yourself when deciding if you need a new website. Here they are again:
- Can people find your website?
- If they can find it, can they navigate it and use it to get the information they want?
- If they can navigate it, does it come across as trustworthy and authoritative on your area of business?
- If so, is the information it contains benefiting your business (either with an immediate sale or by establishing a long-term relationship or both)?
We then saw that in our case, the answers to all those questions were no. Rather than just jumping to a new web design, we did start with just our content. This might be a realistic step for you to take. However, unless your website is quite new, I would recommend you move to a completely new website design. The main reasons we did so were:
- We wanted a responsive website that adapted to mobile devices and looked good on all screen sizes. Our current website was not built that way.
- When we dug down into the code we realized there were better more efficeint ways to write the code and build the website to maximize our SEO.
- We were getting tired of our old website design visually.
- We wanted a simpler, less wordy look and feel that was more consistent with our branding.
Design changes were not all we did though – we broke our work into 3 main categories:
- Physical Changes to the Design
- Content Changes
- Approach to SEO
A New Website – Physical Changes
We simplified. Along with making our new site responsive, we simplified the colors and images used. We have less menu items and they are larger and clearer than before. We took out many of the extraneous items – even social media buttons (we replaced some that had the most potential to be used). We focused on our logo and our brand as well as gave the site stronger contrasts between fewer shades of color. We adopted some new fonts that went with the new look to help the site feel modern, fresh but light and friendly. We really felt that the old saying “less is more” was applicable here.
See for yourself, click to enlarge:
If you are unsure about how your business website is coded, if its responsive or if you would like it analyzed and reviewed by a professional web designer, let us know. We’ll be happy to go over it in detail and advise you on what we think could be changed to help your users find the things you feel are important with greater ease.
A New Website – Content Changes
This is a stage that isn’t technically difficult but still takes a lot of time and hard work. We started by creating a taxonomy or a map on paper of where all our content was, organized by page name. Then we started stripping away content, merging items together and simplifying. We wanted fewer pages overall with a digestible number of main level menu items, but still consistent, themed content on each page. We simplified our language, removed the sarcastic tone and paid attention to the mention of words we had identified as keywords. When people mentioned them in their searches – we wanted to be coming up in the results.
We also paid more attention to our heading styles and types – progressing down from the most broad topic as an H1 (heading 1) to more specific topics (H2 – H6) as we wrote. We tried to break up our content into smaller paragraphs. We added more lists. We read , reread and edited so that our content was better quality, easier to read and came across as business- appropriate and authoritative. We wanted to keep ours lighter than just facts though, after all our senses of humor and approach to work and life still needed to come through! Don’t worry there is room for this in your writing too!
A New Website – A New Approach to SEO
We not only targeted a variety of keywords in our content and updated our headings to match those. We began more carefully doing all the things that help SEO like adding meta descriptions to our pages, titles, alt tags, descriptions and meta data to our pictures and tinkering with the content that way. One invaluable tool I can recommend if you are using WordPress is the SEO by Yoast plugin. It gives you areas to fill in required info and rates or scores your page after each set of changes. It is a great tool to start your approach to SEO with.
We also began a regular blog, with a schedule, list of topics we wanted to cover and a target audience, you. Our purpose in writing these articles is to reach out and educate, inform and assist small to medium business owners and website administrators. We want to make the vast array of decisions surrounding your website, easier to navigate and wade through. Let us know how we’re doing – We’d love to hear from you – especially if you have suggestions for future articles.
We took a good look at our Social Media policies as well and decided to start with Corporate or Business accounts of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We committed to keeping these three up-to-date and regularly posting on them, with the intention of drawing or pushing traffic back to our website. In the future we may look at other social avenues of doing that, but we knew we had limits on what we could fit into our days and do well and that is our recommendation to you as well. Start small and do it well. Then look at expanding. Our social links are in the bottom right of our website – so please feel free to visit any of them although – they really are designed to bring traffic here and not the other way around.
There are numerous other ongoing tweaks and checks that we are constantly monitoring and trying, from speed improvements on our website, to Google Adword campaigns, plans for video blogs as well as guest blogs and more.
Well its been a long time coming and I apologize. We needed some time to acquire more Analytics data!
Here’s what we’ve seen since the relaunch:
1. More people are finding our website – a lot more. We now track and even target different keywords then we started out doing but here’s an example of where we rank now on Google for some of the old keywords and some newer ones:
2. People can navigate our website more easily too. We saw a small jump up in our bounce rate ( just a few percent) but this is expected due to the increased focus on our blog and one-page articles. Here we relied more heavily on Behavior Flow where we saw:
- A 67% increase in the amount of traffic that navigated to a second page.
- A 74% increase in traffic navigating from second to 3rd page
- A 6% increase in traffic continuing on to a 4th page.
3. Our site in definitely increasing in its trustworthiness as well. When we compared our Engagement now and a year ago we see 91% increase in sessions, 59% increase in pageviews and a 119% increase in returning visitors! We’ve also seen a large growth in our traffic sources from organic searches and social media sources:
4. We’ve setup goals in our current Google Analytics account so we can start to begin to measure how well our website is actually achieving our targets. There is not yet enough data to give a useful measurement but things are trending in the right direction and we’re beginning to see from measurable statistics – how our website is driving more business for us. You can see here a graphical representation of the increase in overall traffic as a result of our new website.
(this year in blue, last year in orange)
If you find these kinds of results exciting (we sure do) then lets get together over a coffee and discuss your goals for your website and how we can help you achieve those goals. Don’t wait, start today! Call us at 306-586-6118.