Welcome to the completely revamped version of BlueCorona.com! The latest version of our website launched April 17th—four days prior to Google’s mobile algorithm update (which made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor for mobile search results) scheduled to roll out April 21st.
The Choice to Go Responsive
Prior to the launch of our new design, we’d been getting by with a separate mobile version of our website—m.bluecorona.com. Unfortunately, this meant that in addition to managing our desktop website, we also had to manage our mobile website. If we created a page on our desktop site, we also had to create a mobile version of that page for our mobile site.
For most mobile websites, when separate mobile versions of each page don’t exist, faulty redirects are created to other irrelevant pages, or desktop versions of the page were shown. Either way—it makes for a poor user experience.
Plus, with Google’s mobile algorithm update, mobile-friendliness would be a ranking factor on a page by page basis—not on a site-wide basis. If only half of our pages were mobile-friendly, we knew that hurt the other half’s chances of ranking in mobile search results.
While the mobile algorithm update was a big incentive for us to go responsive, this redesign was one that we had been planning for quite some time. Prior to the new design, we hadn’t done a redesign in five years. And if we’re keeping this just between you and us—our previous design was a template.
Templates get a bad reputation, but we were a resource-strapped startup back then and our template site served us pretty well—bringing in a healthy amount of organic traffic as well as inbound leads.
But we’ve grown a lot in the past five years, and one of the areas we’ve really started to expand is our creative department. Greg Ratzlaff joined the team in early 2014 as Blue Corona’s first ever creative director.
A Brand Refresh
Greg’s vision wasn’t just to update Blue Corona’s website, but to refresh our entire brand. Over the course of his first year, Greg began our brand transformation by starting with our logo.
He also created a set of brand guidelines for Blue Corona, which included a primary and secondary color palette, as well as a standard typeface. With these new standards in place, Greg rolled out several phases of marketing collateral, including email newsletter templates, envelopes, case studies, remarketing ads, and social media banners.
Much to all of our delight, the new brand standards also meant new company swag:
These efforts weren’t just about looking pretty—our goal was to develop a strong, consistent, and memorable brand as a digital authority across all assets of our marketing and advertising.
A Data Driven Redesign
Prior to revamping our design, Tyler Yost, our director of analytics & strategy, took a deep dive into BlueCorona.com’s data to see what parts of our website were performing well and which areas needed help.
We used these insights to figure out what we should display prominently on our homepage and in our navigation. For example, from Tyler’s data dive, we knew that our free analysis pages convert very well, so Greg’s design featured these prominently on our homepage, subpages, and in our navigation. We also learned that our news section converted well and had a low exit rate, so we included a scroller box with our most recent news items on our homepage.
These are just two examples of how we used data to put our best foot forward with the new design.
Development and Content Importing
When Greg’s work was done on the design side of things, the head of our web department, Chase Wolf, oversaw the actual development and import of the “guts” of the website—the code and content.
This is an often overlooked aspect of any website redesign, but it was the most time consuming and arguably the most important. If care wasn’t taken during this phase, we risked losing a lot of the SEO rankings we had gained over the years as well as introducing a painful amount of site errors.
One of the biggest changes we decided to make during this phase was a switch of content management systems. Our old version of our website was built on Drupal and we ultimately decided that WordPress was going to be better for us moving forward.
After all of our page and subpage layouts were coded, it was time to import content, setup contact forms, and begin our whole-site QA process. In addition to importing content, our team also had to take great care to ensure all of our tracking codes (call codes, analytics, AdWords conversion codes, etc.) were transferred properly. The tracking setup on the new site had to mirror exactly what was on the old site so we could fairly evaluate the new site’s performance against the old.
We’ve got to add that it was during this phase of our new site project that every single member of our team lent a hand—teamwork makes the dream work, or in our case, teamwork makes sure you launch your new site before Google’s algorithm update! In the past two months, over 800 hours of our team’s time has been spent designing, developing, and performing QA on our site.
Post Launch Continuous Monitoring
Our work is not over now that the new site is launched. While no one would ever argue that the aesthetics haven’t improved, the performance value cannot be understated. After all, we rely on our website to perform like a sales rep—generating leads for our business even when our team is sound asleep.
Week over week, we review the performance of the new site and make minor design and content adjustments as needed to try and improve our website’s conversion rate. In a way, this portion of our project will never truly be over as we will always be looking to improve the site’s performance.
Need a New Website?
Blue Corona specializes in designing websites and landing pages that are not only beautiful, but also achieve your business goals – increased traffic, leads, and sales. We’ve done it for ourselves, we’ve done it for our clients, and now we’re ready to do it for you.