It’s time to refresh the website

Where to start?

The starting point is usually a comment from someone that the website looks tired. This is probably not the best criteria to make a decision about updating the website. Reviewing visitor stats via Google Analytics or Insight reports from Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud are a better place to start. You need to understand your website traffic, get a solid idea around exactly what people are looking at and what they’re not looking at.

I recently started the process to refresh the website at work for a couple of reasons:

  1. Our website was really nothing more than a splash page. It looked good, it was modern, had parallax images and was mobile friendly. The downside was it was on a platform I didn’t know how to edit or change in any way. That was a negative.
  2. I built a blog using WordPress, but this was a different look and feel to the main website and hung off the main website and in part this made it very slow to load. I’m sure people dropped off because pages took too long to load.

Choosing a Website Platform

I decided to stick with WordPress, I’m familiar with it as a platform and I can make it work and do the things I need it to do. I should point out my HTML skills are next to zero, although I’m getting better. I found a template, that cost the company US$45. Outrageous I know 🙂 This saved mountains of time and gave me a rich amount of functions e.g. varying ways to present information.

We specifically wanted a parallax website, it had to be mobile responsive and we wanted the website and blog to be a single entity. We had no need for e-commerce capability, so that was crossed off the list. Although there are any plug-ins for WordPress to help make this possible.

Copy Development

Man a desk 200x200pxlDevelopment of your copy is probably the hardest part of the website build. We actually started this process about six months ago. Not that it took us six months end to end, but finding time in amongst business as usual means a good amount of time needs to be set aside. You could outsource this to a 3rd party copywriter, but we wanted to keep this in-house.

The upside for me with WordPress is that over the coming months I’ll be able to review the website traffic, look at where people are going – understand what they’re looking at and make changes accordingly. I will largely use the Insight reporting as part of Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud. The upside this gives me over Google Analytics is understanding “who” is looking at what on the various website pages.

I can make changes to the website copy on the fly and add new Pages and Blog posts as the need arises. This will also be augmented with Eloqua Landing Pages included as either links within copy or perhaps even as pages inserted within the WordPress menu structure.

Planning ‘Go Live’

Making the transition from the old website to the new website needs to be thought through. In our case at work, this also meant changing hosting providers. In addition the domain was hosted by a 3rd party and we also run Gmail which I believe means we need to update Google when we redirect the website. I leave this detail for the technical team to manage, it’s a little out of my area of expertise.

We go live this coming week, I hope. The site is currently sitting on a staging server and will be moved outside of work hours just in case anything goes wrong. If you feel so inclined, take a look here some time after May 20th, 2014.