This post originally appeared on Acento.com
Just over one year ago, the hottest device since the laptop – the iPad – first launched. One of the first websites the Acento Team checked (probably like many of you) was our own flash-based agency website – Acento.com. We discovered (as expected) that it appeared as a blank page.
Steve Jobs famously attacked Flash, promising that his devices would never accept the Adobe-owned development platform. The Web was in transition (again). Gone were the desktops and even laptops. Slates and smart phones and HTML 5 are the trends for the foreseeable future. We realized it was time for Acento to reconsider the strategic goals and purpose of Acento.com.
A very in-depth review followed and we discovered additional areas for potential improvement with Acento.com that stemmed from using Flash. Among the problems were:
1) Our website featured limited, static content. A Flash-only site was difficult to update and keep fresh. We needed a content management system to reduce the need for a programmer or even a webmaster; it had to be something nearly any employee could utilize.
2) Acento had embraced Social Media previously but our (then) current website lagged behind in integrating those sharing tools where we could then recommend articles and research to our clients and fans.
3) We found that pages loaded far too slowly and thus users visited only one or maybe two pages on each visit, far fewer than we had anticipated.
4) Most importantly, because of the above reasons listed here, we discovered that our website under-performed in delivering leads.
We interviewed executives from the biggest names in their respective industries. Some were clients, like Wells Fargo or SuperValu, others were prospective clients and others still were contacts we had made through the years. We asked, “What do you look for in an ad agency website?” Some of the responses we expected but we also gained new insights about our target audience.
We did our homework, we assembled a small and agile team and our website goals quickly became clear. We aggregated all of the research into a single document and shared it with our web design and programming leads. Because we clearly delineated the problems with the current website, the user expectations, and goals for the new website, our process moved ahead smoothly. The Interactive Producer, Art Director and Digital Director presented the final plan to our executive team.
It took us only a few months to launch a new website from start to finish – on time and on budget – with a mobile version of the website. In fact, Acento is the first Hispanic advertising agency that has a mobile version of its website.
Only one month after our launch, our new site traffic jumped over 1000% and multiple leads came into our in-boxes. Our average time spent on the website more than doubled due to the fact that the average load time of Acento.com dropped dramatically. Our bounce rate has nearly halved and our page views have doubled. In the end, there were many key elements made this another successful project, some of which include:
1) Fresh content: Develop dynamic, up-to-date content about your company that engages visitors with your perspectives on the latest industry research and trends.
2) Search and social friendly: Make sure that your website welcomes the friendly search bots from Google and Bing/Yahoo! In addition, make sure that your site easily enables visitors to share content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email or whatever social platform emerges tomorrow.
3) Analytics: Does your website deliver results? What key performance indicators are you measuring? Clearly define those in advance as well as what systems you plan on using to measure them.
4) Teamwork: Share information with all of those involved and make sure everyone feels a part of the process.
There you have it: our inside scoop on creating a digital success and grow your traffic by 1000%.