Late last Friday afternoon, Dayna, our content master, and I watched the launch of our new website. It is both fun and stressful to watch the cutover from old to new and ultimately, we were delighted that all went well. It was fun to walk around the office hearing the “oohs and aahs”. My personal favorite part of our new site is our blog as I love how the hero image is front and center.
The Three Phases of EverString.com
We’ve come a long way with our website in a short amount if time. Only six months ago, we had a very simple site (V0), launched with minimal information and with a primary objective to gather leads. The second phase of our website (V1) launched in my second week of employment at EverString. It extended the story a little but was also primarily about lead capture.
With this V2 release last Friday, we have graduated to tell a more complete story and present in a flow that makes sense to the visitor. This version is much deeper than the last and could only have been built out once we had a clear line on what our audience message needed to be. This is a major step forward and allows us to communicate more and have multiple CTAs. This was a complete reset of our site and we hope it is of more value to our audience. We’ll find out soon.
There are definitely some tweaks we will make over the next few weeks but it is a solid start in the right direction.
Five observations about a website reset
With this site and with many I’ve been involved with in the past, I’ve collected a few important points for resetting a site. A big thanks to all the teams I have learned from in the past.
Here are some things to think about:
- Content is King
We’ve spent a lot of time the last few months creating and curating a story that resonates with our audience, the B2B marketer. Our focus for the new EverString.com is ultimately, a calculated flow of this storyline. We also tried to optimize as much as possible to bring additional, supporting content forward because we believe that in the new world of B2B marketing, content is king. Not only do we want to present valuable material, but we also want it to be as easy as possible to access. We hope our new site effectively walks you down a path of our story and all the while presents multiple moments for you to gather more information. More often than not, I see sites that don’t tell a story and you get lost. Whatever you do, don’t be elusive and difficult to navigate. You have only a few moments to “hook” your visitor. Tell your story. Do this and do it well.
- Launch is not a date, it’s a process
This concept applies to more than just your website. I’ve been involved in countless product launches and time and time again, I find myself helping people understand this point. It is critically important to set a date for a go-live moment for your site. This will serve as the north star during design and development and will help schedule delivery and build project plans. However, your launch does not end that day. Our plan extends well into the next week and the following. We’ll observe traffic and modify as necessary. The launch is never over. Another key lesson I’ve learned is to set post mortem meetings for big project like this as a standard and invites are sent well in advance of the end date. This allows you to mitigate the negative connotations of this important event and turn it into a more constructive call.
- Hire the “right” agency
Even if you have internal design and web resources, it makes a whole lot of sense to hire an outside firm to manage and deliver your next website. Your internal resources have a day job and a reset is a full time deal. However, it is paramount to hire the “right” agency. For us, we chose Atrenet as our partner in this journey because they not only had a qualified team, but they have shown immense experience in building
out websites for B2B companies. They have been through the process so many times that it has become second nature for them. Tushar and team “got” us from the minute we met them and were concerned to get our story “right”. When you have the right agency you will know. For me, I knew right away, but when they delivered first pass comps of our new home page and I had no other comment than “wow”, I knew.
- Keep reviews to a minimum, review and edit inline
I’ll admit it, last week was hell. The site went live on Friday afternoon after a lot of edit and review. There were only two reviewers on our site, Dayna and myself and we chose not to involve others until we went live. Now, we have a company of fresh eyes on the site and they are all submitting comments and corrections. This may not be for all, but our QA is working. Also, we wrote a lot of new copy and only performed a quick edit early on. We waited for a complete edit of the site until it was near complete. Editing content for visual fit on a page is critically important. A clean, well written, and balanced site is easy to consume.
- Make it personal
EverString is a cool place to work. I enjoy the people around me and am always learning and growing. Our site is us and is the first thing people see when they are considering working for you. I rarely use stock photography for any public material because of this. In our last version we had Justin on our home page (he is back in on the contact us form BTW) and in this rev we have Michelle, our Director of People and Culture, front and center. This is who we are and we would love for you to join us. Check out our open jobs.
Our launch hasn’t ended
As noted in point 2 above, our launch isn’t over. It’s a process. Now the hard work of data-driven optimization begins. We feel our story is effectively communicated and are excited to start collecting stats and make changes to optimize it going forward.