Blair Enns is the founder of Win Without Pitching, a global consultancy for marketing communication agencies. He guides agencies on how to reform their sales process from costly pitch-based engagements to high integrity relationships where agencies are paid for their expertise from day one. Over the years, Blair regularly published written resources on his site for members, yet all of it was hidden from search engines behind a membership login. The first goal in this redesign was to get this content outside the login, so that it was visible to search engines and could draw in new traffic. The second goal was to reorganize the site in a way that made sense to newcomers, and made it easy for Blair to place customized calls to action on every page to maximize conversions. The site was also in need of an aesthetic update, so our final goal was to create a design that let the content stand out and reflected Blair's personality.
Planning and Prototyping
The prototyping process is not only a great way to map out complex functionality, it's also a great time to test out simple (yet critical) things like the language of your website before they're launched. Win Without Pitching's site language and organization was creative, but at times confusing. For example, articles were called 'Thought Papers' and his online learning center was called 'Premium Content.' New visitors from inbound search needed to immediately understand what they were reading and what other content they might be interested in. The team held weekly usability reviews to gather objective feedback from those unfamiliar with Blair or his methodology. The site usability was drastically improved for both new and existing members.
Technology and Design
Although Blair's previous design was just a few years old, the modular, eclectic design was looking dated, and distracted from the content itself. There were two goals for the design phase: simplify design so the content took center stage, and chose a theme that reflected his personality and business philosphy. The client ended up choosing a moodboard with lots of clean, open whitespace, with imagery inspired by the nature of Kaslo, BC (Blair's hometown). The aesthetic experience of reading long articles was vastly improved, and no longer distracted from the content. With endless photo opportunities surrounding him in Kaslo, Blair was able to continue creating editorial imagery that fit perfectly with the overall design.
Finding time to regularly publish site content while running a consultancy is no small task, so our development goal was to streamline the content entry process as much as possible for the client. One feature that made a big impact was the sidebar call to action picker. With all the new visitors landing on his site, it was important that they knew immediately how they could connect with Blair. We created a system that allowed the client to choose those items from a master list, then check off the calls to action he wanted on each page in seconds.
The data collected after launching the new site quickly validated our strategic, design, and development decisions in this project.
As you can see from the chart above, we quickly saw an upward trend in site visits, traffic from search engines, deep user sessions, and online store purchases by comparing the first three months of 2009—prior to the redesign—with the first three months of 2010—after the redesign was completed.