Let me start this blog post by saying I really liked our old website. It was clean, simple and easy to navigate. We got lots compliments on the design, so I wasn’t excited about making a change. Besides, it felt like only yesterday we launched the last version.
Our old site launched two years ago, and in the life of a web design company, two years is a long time. As a business we have matured and our focus has shifted a little. There have been many improvements in the WordPress platform, and our skills have improved too. The website I loved no longer really reflected who we are or what we are capable of, so it was time for a change.
Since we have been using the WordPress platform for almost six years, the upgrade was more like putting a fresh coat of paint, new roof and maybe a room addition on a house you love than it’s like demolishing the house and starting over. It was comforting to know all of the content (almost 2,500 blog posts, 1,500 images and other media) would simply reformat when we switch the theme.
We are constantly looking at what ‘s new in web design, as well as which elements of our current site were working well, so we had a pretty good list of elements we wanted to change. We knew we wanted:
- Improved mobile function. Although our old site displayed properly on mobile, its layout didn’t show the most important things when someone accessed the site from a phone or tablet.
- Meaningful portfolio. We have built almost 300 WordPress websites in the past five years. We have designed lots of logos and printed material, too. Our current portfolio displays all of them equally. But the truth is, the volume is overwhelming, and sometimes our newest addition is not the most compelling. I wanted a portfolio which allowed us to display our best work most prominently. I still want people to be able to see the range of our work if they are interested, but first I want them to see our best work. So now examples of our best work are included on our home page, with links to detailed case studies so you can see what we did and why.
- Shift the focus to what people are interested in. We have analyzed our web traffic since we launched our very first site almost 12 years ago. We know that pages with detailed product and service descriptions may have some limited value for SEO, but most visitors aren’t really interested in those pages. They breeze through the brief overview of what we say we do, browse our samples, read our blog and check out our team page. Our team page is actually one of the most visited pages on the entire site. So with the update, we consolidated the list of our services and made access to our team page more prominent. We also added a list of recent posts and links to our most popular resources to the home page.
- More white and more color. The old site had a lot of grey in the background and in the headers. It gave the site a soft feel, but compared to many of the sites we have been looking at it seemed a little drab. We have opted for more contrast in our new version, with a white background and more color on the home page. Don’t worry, we didn’t get rid of the familiar Roundpeg teal and blue, but we have added just a little orange for contrast. The new look actually feels more like our business cards and other printed material.
- Bigger featured images. Words are important. Our blog content is what fuels the majority of our web traffic, but the featured images are often what drive people to a particular post. We really wanted to show off great images as well. The new format brings the featured image to the forefront.
Curious about how the pieces come together? Wander around the rest of the site, and then tell us what you think.