Engaging Website Visitors: The Story of Our Redesign

Early this year we begun a dramatic change on the www.advancedwebranking.com website, rethinking the entire workflow and structure of features pages.

Our major concern was that the website didn’t properly meet the challenge of both addressing AWR’s large collection of features and keeping the information easily accessible at the same time.

As Advanced Web Ranking is a complex software, the information we need to provide on the website is rich. We wouldn’t want to neglect any of the features, but neither to jam it all together in a meaningless pack. Therefore the dilemma.

Were all features visible enough? Or were there visitors missing the exact information they needed?

With that much content to fine tune and adapt, split tests were not an option. We needed something else.

And so we decided to take a different approach. We developed an in-house tool that would allow us to directly ask our visitors weather the content they needed was visible enough for them.

The campaign setup

We created a surveying popup to ask questions directly to our visitors. At that point we just wanted to gather the information needed to ground our redesign decisions, so we tried to keep things simple. Therefore, we’ve only asked one question: “Where you able to find the information you were looking for?”

Also, to ensure the highest response rate possible for the popup, we’ve set some criteria for the campaign:

  • The popup was supposed to be visible but non intrusive for the visitor. That is why we chose to display the message in a small window at the bottom-left corner of the screen. For the same reason, the popup was enhanced with the option to be minimized.
  • The popup should not take too much effort and time from the visitor to be completed. The question we asked was straightforward, with only two, simple answers available: [Yes] or [No]. Optional, after choosing an answer, the visitor could leave a message and argue her answer in a correspondent open-text field:

We were counting on our visitors’ will to send us their feedback, but not by all means.

  • Questions should be asked at the right time. If displayed too soon, our question “Were you able to find the information you were looking for?” would have been useless. First, we needed to give our visitors’ the time to look around and search, before asking anything. Therefore the popup was set to be displayed with a delay of 20 seconds from the after the visit began and after two pages of navigation.
  • Answers had to be provided. We couldn’t just stand there watching our visitors leaving unhappy from the website, so it was imperative that our surveying system would also allow us to interact with people writing to us. After sending their message, the visitors were receiving a notification on support’s availability and the conversation would begin, right there on site.

Gathering the data

The response we had with the popup was unexpected. Either to disclose their dissatisfaction (that they found difficult to pass to our support team) or to express their appreciation, our visitors took the opportunity to share their opinion.

Overwhelmed by the large amount of feedback, we’ve put my colleague Alina in charge over the messages we received through the popup, to  reply, collect and interpret the feedback.

For her it became a full time job but the result was worth the effort. Our website seemed to have gained a human voice, increasing our visitors’ engagement and building trust for our company.

And at the same time we were gathering the useful information we needed to accomplish what we set ourselves to do in the first place: make improvements in our website’s content and structure.

What we learned?

  • Our visitors were asking similar questions, clearly indicating a slip in our website content
  • We discovered which were the features our visitors were most interested in
  • Some were looking for technical information to unlock themselves from a difficult situation

Taking action

As we suspected, there were a lot of “No” answers to our question “Where you able to find the information you were looking for?”. Our visitors seemed to be lost on the AWR website, meaning that things were far from being clear.

Based on Alina’s analysis, we have extracted a set of requirements and transposed them into major changes. Take a look:

  1. On our website’s Index, the page receiving the largest chunk of traffic, the catchphrase is “Complete SEO Software. Ranking, Linking, Analytics, Social.”.

As expected, after landing on this page, our visitors were looking for conclusive proof that AWR is indeed a “Complete SEO software”. They needed spot-on details on this and our website content failed to deliver them.

This is how the old AWR Features page, where the visitor was supposed to find the answer, looked like:

The information was there, but it was darn hard to be filtered.

To fix this issue, we reorganized the Features section and assembled a new page with the most important details that define AWR as a complete SEO software and placed it in a highly visible spot:

  1. Another commonly unanswered question of our prospects was “Which features of AWR give it a competitive advantage across the industry”. This one was heavy! It was definitely in our best interest to make it a priority and focus on providing clear answers for this question.

It was time we’d show off a little bit more:

    • We created a new section with 15 reasons “Why choose AWR” and made it quickly accessible right from the left side menu:
    • Implemented a new, nicer and more visible format for testimonials from our top users and put them right on the Home page of our website, where no one would miss them:
  1. Our more advanced users were easily missing out the information on AWR’s performance and didn’t understand exactly how much you can do and how far you can go while using the application.
  • We assembled new pages with Top Features, grouped by SEO segment:
  • All features were broken down in categories to highlight AWR’s performance for each task:
  • Special sections were made for Reporting and Performance, to deliver specific information to agencies and enterprise clients:

To conclude:

I guess we always knew the problems we had before this campaign, but we needed the confirmation that the changes we would make were on the right track.

If you think of it, I’m sure you too know what might be wrong with your website but worry that the changes you’ll make won’t be the most fortunate ones. And you should be in doubt without any conclusive data.

For us, the solution to overcome the unknown was this in-house tool, that allowed us to collect the exact information we needed.

But for you, it might be something else. Just take the time to think about this! And most important, don’t be afraid to explore new paths. You could discover that the answers are closer than you’d think.

 

P.S. The tool we used for the survey was later improved, enhanced with lots of other, more advanced capabilities, and released as a standalone software. It became, LeadConverter, the youngest member of the Caphyon family and is currently available for free use in Beta. If you are curious, you can sign up here.

P.P.S. I’m really looking forward to your comments.

About Dana Loiz

Dana Loiz is an Online Marketing Strategist at Caphyon. She is passionate about her job and always in a mood to chat about SEO, Internet Marketing and Social Media. She tweets the news at @awebranking and you can also find her on Google+.

  • http://twitter.com/AsaShebang shebang

    Great post on discovering website weaknesses and improving them. The site looks great, btw!

  • http://www.lattimore.id.au/ Alistair Lattimore

    The question I think everyone wants to know now is, how have your changes impacted the business?

    For example with better content, easier to use, faster to digest – you’d hopefully see your subscriptions/downloads increasing, your survey tool generating fewer no responses or at the very least, the same number of no responses but about different content topics you haven’t addressed yet.

    • Dana Loiz

      That is a good question, Alistair.

      I can tell you that indeed we saw quite an important change in the responses we received through the surveying popup. Not only that there were fewer “No” answers but the discussions we further had with our visitors indicated an improvement in our content structure as fewer and fewer where taking the time to send any relevant feedback to our question.

      That later led to the question being irrelevant and to its replacement.

      However, the thing that I also wanted to highlight through the post is that the survey is able to drive actionable data but there is also a downside. This won’t happen overnight. It requires manual processing of each message and replying, meaning a lot of time to gather any conclusive information. For drawing conclusions quite a lot of feedback is needed as messages can vary greatly, specially for a website as content rich as AWR’s is.

      As for the conversion improvements, we wouldn’t want to claim unrightful merits therefore we’ll proceed with the analysis to see exactly which were the most effective changes we’ve made and hopefully draw some insightful conclusions that would later worth sharing.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Getting visitor feedback is a great approach. You don’t want to make too many changes without first testing them. Your website is the hub of all of your online marketing activities. You don’t want to send people to a site that is difficult to navigate.