Website Redesign – An In-Depth Analysis
We launched Entreprenewlyweds in January 2014. I had a week off from his day job, so the goal was to do everything that we needed to get the site up and running in that week. We were able to launch the website and we have been adding blog articles and tweaking it over the past year. Although it has served us well during out first year, we continued to learn more and identify things that could be improved. As we started 2015, one of our goals was to really focus on Entreprenewlyweds and getting the site to where we really wanted it to be. One of the major aspects of this includes a complete website redesign.
Launching the Website
We didn’t really know what we were doing when we first launched the website. We had an idea for what Entreprenewlyweds would be and some basic criteria, but that was about it. After coming up with the name, we first registered the domain and installed WordPress. Then the next step was to find a theme (the look of the website). I had 2 main criteria in mind as we searched for a theme:
- Theme flexibility in terms of layouts and widgets
- Lots of widgets to show all of the content that we had
We decided to purchase the Traveler theme from Gorilla Themes. We liked the look, it had a lot of widget options because of the 3 column layout and it had a menu/sub-menu, which would give us plenty of options for displaying our content.
Current Website Analysis
As we mentioned, the current website has met our needs, but it is time for an update. Below is a picture of how the website looks today. In the below video, I take a walk through the website and provides an analysis/critique of the current site, what we like and what we don’t. Towards the end, he shows how we use a tool called CrazyEgg to see what our visitors do while on the site, which is awesome! In addition to the video, we are going to walk through the detailed analysis below.
Above the Fold
Our logo takes up a good portion of the above the fold space, making it very visible. It also allows our tag line to be displayed as well.
Prominent Featured Article
If we have an article that we want to display prominently, there is a great spot for it. Currently in this slot is a review of a product called fbInfluence 2.0 by Amy Porterfield. This spot has done well for us, netting us several hundred dollars a month from affiliate marketing.
We do have a way to capture e-mail addresses, which is our free ebook, and this is displayed on the right sidebar.
Place to Start
We didn’t originally have this, but after seeing a few others utilizing the idea, we added one, and it is nice to be able to provide visitors with a starting point. Having around 100 articles across many different topics, this is a useful way to guide people through the site to find what they need.
No Search Function
As you can see above, the template that we chose did have a search function on the top right of the webpage, but we ended up having to remove it as that space was needed for our logo.
Too Busy (High Bounce Rate)
There is a lot going on with the website, which does not allow us to direct people and guide them around the site. This is likely leading to many visitors leaving before they find what they are looking for.
Poor Email Lead Magnet
It’s great that we have a lead magnet, but the one on this page is not converting well. This is a result of not having an image of the free giveaway. Additionally, our free giveaway is not great. We are currently offering an ebook for how to create your website, which is valuable, but is not really standing out as anything new or anything that people just need to get. We will be adding a new (and awesome) lead magnet with the redesign.
Not Personal Enough
This is probably our biggest issue. When you land on the page, you don’t see us and you don’t know who we are. Our website is about our journey and people need to see and we need to build trust and a connection with our audience.
Can you even find a picture of us? It’s like Where’s Waldo.
Template Has Extra Features
The template that we chose was a travel template, so it had many features built into the backend that we were never going to use and just added clutter.
Way Too Many Plugins
The gift and the curse of WordPress are plugins. It is easy to add plugins to get different features, but as a result it is also easy to have too many which can slow the site down and are unnecessary. We currently have 40+ plugins. This is most likely slowing down the site, making it more difficult for us to manage and potentially leading to issues with plugins clashing or security issues if they are out of date.
Some Additional Items to Consider
Not Mobile Responsive
We wanted to save some money when we first started, so we bought the cheapest theme and it was not mobile responsive. With so many people using mobile devices, the fact that our site is not responsive is a big problem So the next site will be responsive. Google is going to start dinging sites that are not mobile responsive, so it is key that we have a responsive theme.
Keep vs. Change vs. Get Rid Of
And here is a mock-up of changes. Green are features that we want to keep (although we may change the format/placement). Yellow are one we might keep, and if we do they will most likely be replaced or in a different format. Red are things that we want to get rid of.
Items to Definitely Keep
- Main Menu
- Start Here
- Social Icon
- Latest Blog Post
- About Us
- Search Function
Items that Might Be Kept/Changes
- Our Products
- Popular Articles
- Recent Articles Published Before Most Recent
- Bottom Menu
Items to Remove
- Sub Menu & Work With Us Menu
- Featured Content
- Lead Magnet
- Facebook Widget
- Latest Post by Ariana & Tom
In designing our website, we wanted to focus on the following goals.
Improve Bounce Rate
Our bounce rate (people who come to the site and leave) is much higher than we would like at 73%. Diving in a little deeper, we see that people are looking at < 2 pages per visit and only spend about 2 minutes on our website. Given that our goal is to help people, we can’t do that very effectively if they are coming to the website and leaving. Given this, we are planning to take the following actions to improve this area.
More Focused/Less Busy
Our initial focus was to offer as much as we could to create a “sticky” page as everyone should be able to find something to relate to. In reality, this most likely caused confusion and caused people to leave. With the new website, we want a clean/simple site with a few key aspects.
Have a Single Call to Action Above the Fold
When people land on our site, they don’t know where to go. We want to create a simple path for them, so we want one main call to action that is easy to see. This will most likely be a “Start Here” button. Outside of this, we will have a standard menu as well as a search box.
Add Search Box Above the Fold
One of the mistakes that we initially made was removing the search box from above the fold and putting it below the fold. I know that I find myself using it all the time, but I have to scroll and try to find it, even though I know where it is.
Create a More Personal Site
There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of bloggers online in the entrepreneur space. We believe we have a unique and underserved niche, which is real entrepreneurs who share how to balance it all. So our site/brand is really built on our, our experiences and our life. Therefore, we need more of us on the site, especially as people first visit the site. Photo(s) of us and other personal messages will help separate us from the rest of the crowd.
Simplify Our Tagline
Our initial tagline was “The Journey of Love, Marriage, the Baby Carriage and Becoming Entrepreneurs”. I do like it, but it is to long in my opinion. In brainstorming with Ariana one night, we were discussing how to simplify it and clarify out message. After a little back and forth with ideas, she said it perfectly; Life – Love – Business. Not only was this simple, it covered our key focuses, followed the rule of 3 and allowed a simple focus for our blogs/topics.
Simplify Our Menu Structure
We initially wanted a 2 level menu structure. The first was focused on the key areas of the website, while the second was focused on specific blog categories. We want to keep a similiar idea, but only using 1 menu. So we can plan to have a main menu with the various areas of our website. Then using our new tag line, we will have links to Life, Love and Business “landing pages”. These pages will introduce these areas and provide more guidance for where people should go if they are interested in these topics.
Remove All Ads From Main Page
Our main goal of this website is to help others. A secondary goal is to have another stream of income through affiliate marketing of products that we use and that help us. Unfortunately if you look at our page now, a large portion of it contains advertisements. Although we do make money from these, we feel like it is tarnishing our brand, and we don’t get the ability to build trust with new visitors first before we recommend items. Therefore, we will remove all banners from the main page. We will still promote products that we like, but do it through a redesigned “Resources” page and weaved into the rest of the site content when it is relevant.
In looking around at other websites, we liked a few of these designs. These designs were simple (not a lot going on), personal (pictures of the people behind the site), a clear Call to Action (email lead magnet or start here button). We are interested in hearing from you. What are your thoughts? What things should we do or focus on as we redesign our website? Please leave a comment below.