Pleased To Announce a New Client Website Launched:

I’m very excited to announce the culmination of a lot of planning, design, and coding. The site went live on Monday night without any major fiascoes, issues, meltdowns, or problems.


The goal of this site

The website team set out with a few goals in mind (listed in order):

  1. Increase sales leads
  2. Claim a better position in search engine ranking pages (SERPs)
  3. Create a better landing page for email campaigns and conference leads

To this end, the design and content of the site serves to drive visitors towards the Contact Us form (aka the request a demo form). The software being sold on this site is a large, campus-wide relationship management tool so the option to pay and download does not exist. Our goal is to convince people that we’re worth the time to check out, drive home a few salient points, and get them to call or email for a demonstration.

Information architecture to assist our sales lead goal

Since the goal was to funnel visitors towards the contact form, the site needed to avoid navigation confusion and always have the option to jump right to a contact form. Here’s what was done to achieve that goal:

  • At the top of every page is an attractive button that leads to the demo request form. Studies show that page elements that look like things people can touch in real life get the most clicks. There’s no missing the button and no mistake what it does.
  • Content resides only one or two levels deep. This means it takes only one or two clicks to get to the main content. Portal pages were created for topics with more than one page to create an index and a good landing spot for general links like the clients we support and our main selling points.
  • Appropriate headlines and link text was used to both inform and entice. Whenever possible, long pieces of content were broken into sections and/or lists to make it easy to scan.

Other features

A lot of time, energy, and planning went into building this site. This is easily the most well-planned, fully designed site I’ve ever built. A few things I’m really psyched about:

  • The whole thing is completely valid XHTML and CSS written by hand from scratch. It is served through PHP to make it easier to add pages and make changes. In the future, I’ll have certain pieces of content served up through XML (or CSV) so other members of the marketing team can switch around the content.
    Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!
  • We created a general keyword strategy for the site which is miles apart from what existed before. On the old site, we were accidentally ranking for a few different words. This new site is optimized for those words and a few others.
  • Navigation at the top and the site map in the footer at the bottom make sure people don’t get lost in any particular section. I also added a dynamic breadcrumb function just below the header that keeps track of where people are in the site.
  • The sidebar modules are just that – modules. They all reside in the same PHP file and can be changed in one place to affect each instance on the site. The content within each box is served up based on the page being viewed.
  • The forms go to different mailboxes depending on the option that is selected. A special CSS-based anti-spam measure was added to replace the original idea of using a reCATCHA.

What’s next?

The site is not quite complete but needed to be launched. Here’s what’s just around the corner:

  • Drop-down navigation for certain options
  • Pages specific to each product (remove the annoying PDF documents)
  • A little better linking in between pages
  • Tighten up the keywords used for each page
  • A few more design touches here and there (pull quotes, a little more texture on the sidebar, etc)
  • More context for the Contact Us box (or, potentially, remove it completely).

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