In our last post, Helpful Insights From a Successful Website Project: Part 1 we described how in the midst of a large amount of site content, we used imagery and color to communicate Brand Values in navigation on the website for a leading not-for-profit, Kingdom Bound. In this part we will pick up where we left off and take a look at several other important aspects of this website as a result of this makeover. Feel free to take notes and take what you can to bolster your own web design efforts:
(To review points 1&2 see Helpful Insights From a Successful Website Project: Part 1)
This may seem like a very basic question, but the implications to the answer can be massive. Your users define the existence of your website. If your users aren’t finding the information on your website that they need, in a way that they find useful, they will leave. Without them (obviously) your site has no traffic, without traffic there are no leads, those leads have no chance to become conversions from your calls-to-action, and if your website is not generating conversions of any kind it has zero value. The point? Unless you want your website to fail, consider what information your user is after and make sure they can get it.
In this case, the Line Up page is a perfect example. Traditionally, the site has had 2 pages for the information this page contains: An Artists page that simply displayed the artists/speakers that were attending, and a Schedule page which displayed a set of tables to show which artists were playing at what stage when. One difficulty that was found with this was that users could not get both sets of information at a glance. If a user doesn’t know who an artist or speaker is they have to go back and forth between pages to get information. Another consideration was that the old tables were somewhat difficult to navigate and provided an intimidating experience for many users. This seems to be reflected in the fairly high bounce rate the page enjoyed in the previous year between July and August of 62.62%. The solution? Ditching the tables in favor of a filterable artist grid.
The new layout provides more information in an interactive and useful way. Instead of seeing every single artist, time, and stage at once and having to sort through it all, it really presents the user with one choice. Pick the stage or type of performance you are interested in. If the user is interested to see only what artists play they click “Artists”, and only artists show up. If they are interested in who will be at a specific stage they click that stage name. From here, they can see information about the artists/speakers all in one area. It is a much more natural way to find the information that users didn’t have access to before. And guess what? The bounce rate for this section is now 10% lower when compared to the previous year.
We’ve seen it over and over again. A brand new, cutting edge-site is built and taken live. We are proud of our work and feel it meets the needs of the client. The client is ecstatic and glad the project is live. The site users even present warm and positive feedback. Everyone is happy. This is the honeymoon stage of a website. It is all fresh and new and perfect. Sales are increasing, contact forms are generating leads, the new design is killer and everyone loves it! What could go wrong?
Fast forward one year.
The honeymoon is over, and one day you load up the site to find this:
Or maybe even this:
It was all so beautiful in the beginning! So what happened?
Well, to put it bluntly, things changed. Regardless of a client’s desire to make a website last a lifetime without updates, the rest of the internet has no such monogamous inclinations. Browsers change, operating systems become vulnerable, plugins become outdated, domains and hosting need to be renewed!
The web is a constantly evolving and warring ecosystem. And regardless of good intentions, if the software that lives in that ecosystem is not monitored regularly it can break, expire, and/or become infected.
But this is only one half of the story. When we launched the brand new website for Kingdom Bound they were not just aware of the necessity to keep their site safe, secure, and maintained technologically, but also updated in terms of content.
Content on a website needs to change from time to time. Edits need to be made, time sensitive information posted, and new pages added. If the internet is an ecosystem, then the website is the organism which is always growing and adapting within it. And changes aren’t just good for a brand, but they also send vital signals to search engines that your site is active and worth ranking!
Who then do you have monitoring, securing, and updating your website after the honeymoon stage fades? Kingdom Bound retained us on a monthly basis in order to help ensure that their site doesn’t become neglected, outdated, or hacked. We recommend that you do something similar to ensure the best experience for your users and potential for your online presence. And hey, (here comes the plug) if you need some help, we are always happy to assist you.