You might have noticed that things look a little bit different around here.
That’s because we launched our redesigned blog early in November.
The Blog Redesign Was a Priority for Several Reasons
Our Blog Was Looking Outdated
With it’s fixed layout, two third content area and one third archive area, our blog was looking pretty old fashioned. Since one of our main services is web design, we didn’t want clients thinking that we endorse this kind of uninspiring, static look. The layout had to go.
It’s Design No Longer Matched Our Main Site
bOnline.com, our primary site, had been redesigned since the blog was created. This meant that the blog design no longer matched the look and feel of our principle site’s home page. We needed something that suited our reimagined visual identity. It also wasn’t clear that this blog was linked to our company. Our logo was not present anywhere other than on the video thumbnail in the right-hand column.
Some of Our Best Work Was Going Unnoticed
Our old blog was very restrictive in terms of the size of the images we could upload. This meant that our blog did not do justice to some of the amazing work of our designers. Not only was this a disservice to their achievement, but it also meant that clients looking to us for inspiration could not find it.
It Was Difficult to Read
The main purpose of a blog is to have people read your work. The lettering of our old design was so small that many users found reading it laborious.
People Could Not Find What They Were Looking For
The layout was cluttered and chaotic. New users often felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to click next. Unsurprisingly, many left the home page as soon they arrived.
It Didn’t Work Well on Mobile Devices
Our blog took a long time to load on smartphones and tablets. The text and images were tiny on the smaller screens and the buttons used to navigate from article to article were made for clicking rather than tapping or swiping. All this meant that people visiting our blog on their mobile devices were not impressed.
Getting in Touch Wasn’t Easy
Our contact and subscription sign up forms got lost in a chaotic sea of tiny text and mini images. It has always been our goal to grow our newsletter subscription basis, but how could we, if clients were struggling to find our signup form?
It No Longer Matched Our Goals
In the past, we mostly used our blog either as a sales tool, to show our work to customers who were already interested, or to help our existing clients find solutions to their problems. Now, we want to start offering website advice for everyone, not just our own clients. It is our goal to become the go-to site for small business owners looking for online marketing advice. Our old blog was not suited to this goal, due to its lack of user-friendliness which made it difficult for clients to discover relevant, new content.
Our clients are our main priority and most of our resources go towards helping them achieve their business goals. This means that our developers could only dedicate a limited amount of time to creating a new design for our own company blog.
Existing Content and Data Preservation
We had to make sure that we didn’t lose any of our previous blog posts or our developers’ other data.
Innovation Without Alienation
Our developers had to ensure that the new design aligned with the reimagined branding of our primary site, but still worked according to the content structure our current readers were used to.
How We Did It
We had known for a quite a while that our blog needed an update. However other projects always seemed to take priority. Finally, in July of this year, Casey, our Head of Marketing and Customer Experience, finally voiced what we were all thinking — “Our blog seriously needs a major overhaul.” He helped to get the ball rolling and oversaw the redesign project from start to finish.
Robert, our Senior Front-End Developer and Shaun, our new Junior Front-End Developer, began working on the project at the end of October. According to Robert, Shaun is the real hero of this project, since it was Shaun who did most of the initial concept development, prototyping and planning, as well as the greater part of the design and development work. Robert talked Shaun through the functioning of our old system and helped to keep the project moving forward when Shaun ran into snags.
Once the setup was complete, Robert and Shaun created a local copy of the blog. They used this as a test environment to try out the new changes and fix any issues before taking the new design live. This helped to ensure a technically smooth deployment, and we successfully launched our new blog at the beginning of November.
Our Redesigned Blog
Looks Cleaner, Sleeker and More Modern
The new design is much more simple and uses a more contemporary aesthetic.
Matches Our New Branding
Our new blog’s visual interface is much more in line with the style of our main site. They now share the same, grey, white and blue colour palette and the same screen width banner image on the home page. We also added our logo to the top left-hand corner. The log links to bonline.com’s home page.
Better Exhibits Our Work
The new design displays featured sites right up front, at the top of the home page. Other articles are shown in boxes below. The larger images ensure that our designers’ work is properly showcased.
Features an Improved Reading Experience
With more open space and larger text, our new blog is easier to read and the experience is much more enjoyable.
Is More User-friendly
Clearing the space and having larger images makes it easier for our clients to find and access what they are looking for, faster.
Is More Mobile-friendly
With larger images and text, our new blog looks more visually appealing on mobile devices. The loading speed is also faster, making the overall experience better.
Ensures that Contacting Us Is Easier Than Ever Before
Our new contact and subscription forms are bolder, clearer, larger, making them a breeze to locate and complete.
Supports Our Inbound Marketing Efforts
Improving navigation, readability and visual appeal will help us to achieve our goal of growing our online community. More readers can now benefit from our valuable, trustworthy and thought-provoking content.
All in all, we think our new blog better represents what bOnline is all about — providing small businesses with the advice and resources they need to connect with their existing customers and attract new ones.
What About Your Site?
Websites age quickly and our blog was no exception. It started to look dated within only two years of going live.
When was the last time your site had a makeover? A year, two years, more?
If your site has started to look obsolete, you can be sure that customers will think your business is too. It is therefore likely that they are flocking to your competitors’ sites, draining some, if not all, of your business. Your website is your digital shopfront. If it looks messy and antiquated your business comes off looking unprofessional. A striking, easy-to-use site inspires confidence in your services.
Moreover, most sites from one or two years ago are not sufficiently mobile responsive. This is a big deal considering that up to half of internet users access the web using their phones. If your site is not mobile responsive you are likely losing out on half of your potential business. Google has also noticed this trend and many of their latest ranking algorithm updates have been about making sure that sites which are not mobile responsive do not make it top the of search results.
The good news is that we can help. And do it affordably too.
Contact us for a web design quote today and we will get back to you shortly.
It’s totally free and you are under no obligation to continue working with us if you don’t like what you hear.