Content Engagement by Design

Why do you redesign a site?  For many businesses, unfortunately, it is nothing more than a whim.  The answer to the critical question ‘what do you want to get out of a redesign?’ is often something like ‘ummm.. a prettier site?’.

OK, but pretty doesn’t put food on the table.

Most marketing savvy folks would redesign to optimize conversions – and many marketing geeks sit around all day coming up with new designs and split testing them against existing designs in the search for the perfect conversion rate.

But, there is another reason.  If you are in the business of any type of expertise (speaker, author, coach, consultant, trainer, etc), one of the first things that you want to do is get people to engage with you, learn about you, and fall in love with you and your ideas.  Because those are the people who will support your business over time.

A Content Engagement Case Study

I recently worked with Jennifer Bryan of Team Finch Consultants (the client) and Mitch Anthony of Clarity (a branding consultant, who I might say, is a master in his field and a joy to work with) on the redesign of the TeamFinchConsultants.com website.

We worked on incorporating a new font set and colors from a new logo that had been designed for this rebrand.  We focused on making the site more open and readable, and the content more engaging.  We also changed the site to be responsive, so it would be wider on standard screens, but fit nicely on tablets and mobile sites as well.  Here is a before and after.

Redesign for Content Engagement

The new site feels more expansive.  It also has a lot more opportunity to engage.  Images are used to pull the eye to main topics that then link to deeper information.  Video is presented right up front, and was worked in as a significant part of many of the pages.

More space and bullet points are used to draw the eye to critical points.

To my minimalist loving eye, this looks a world better than the old site.  But hey – that isn’t really why we redesign a site, right?  No.  This is why we redesign a site:

Content Engagement Statistics

This is a comparison of two months before and two months after the launch.  Page views are up 17%.  Pages per session are up 20%.  The average session duration has almost doubled – a 76% increase in time on site.  And the bounce rate has gone down by 23%.  Content engagement is the name of the game.  If you are a bit in the dark, the Content Marketing Institute has published a great little guide to content engagement and over 20 tools to measure it.

This is the kind of hard proof that you want to have on hand for a site redesign.  If you are considering a redesign and aren’t currently running analytics, install analytics first, and run it for at least 30 days before you take your new site live.  You’ll then have a benchmark of your current content engagement to compare against.

And if it doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to turn back.  Serving your audience is never about looking cool or using the latest technology, it is about delivering value to them in a way they can use it.

Now, if you are a direct sales business, again, you’ll be tracking conversions as a more important metric than engagement.  But, for Jennifer, who engages PreK-12 schools (a hard audience) on the topic of gender and sexuality diversity in schools (a hard topic), the more people that read and engage deeply with her content, the more she establishes her expertise and credibility, and the more likely they are to pick up the phone and call.

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