Eight years ago we launched our first website. Now, we’ve finally released our latest website that we internally call “V5.” We never really have hated any of the websites we’ve had as a company, but our last one was like a set of clothes we had worn for too many days in a row. It was too dark and too dreary relative to who we are today. Since V4, we had quite a number of portfolio pieces to celebrate and lots and lots of news that has happened through the years. Redoing your own website, especially when that’s what you do, is never an easy task. In our company we have high expectations because of the different things we have learned to apply for our partners. The best advice we gave to ourselves was to follow the process, like we were the client, as much as possible. So we started with strategy. We identified our target audience and we focused on communicating better to that audience. We don’t get a ton of traffic but we do get our fair share. And, the reality of our situation is that people don’t go to the web, search for “design laboratory” and then we suddenly get a call from that google search. Typically the way our website works is that someone will be referred to us, and by the time we have a call or meeting with that person, they have already been to our website and reviewed our blog. That’s about 90% the case. The rest of the traffic on our website is probably far less relevant. Ultimately our key target audience fits into these categories:
- Business Owners, Executives and/or Managers who read about us online or who have been referred by a client or friend.
- Potential New Hires or people who might one day come to work at RD2.
While the above two categories may only represent a very small percentage of our overall web traffic (could be around 10-20%), we feel that this is enough to focus hard on our own content strategy to give them something worth while. The rest of the traffic falls into what I refer to as the EGO category. Here are those categories:
- Competitors – Sometimes it’s like a fashion show and it’s easy to take our eye off the ball and care more than we should about what competitors and colleagues think.
- Industry analysts – While these folks are important, the industry is a huge moving target. There’s more noise than imaginable sometimes and everyone is (or thinks they are) a pro. We’d rather play to our core audiences, do great work, and then let anything that gets picked up by the analysts bubble up naturally.
- Friends and Family – Yeah it’s great to call Mom and Dad and show them your website, and that’s great for the ego too, but it’s not really something we need to target as a core audience strategy.
So, what’s to be expected from the RD2 V5 website that’s worth while? Here’s a list of some of our core focus areas for the new rd2inc.com:
- Communicate our purpose clearly and in one initial page, give our audience a good idea of what we do, who we do it for, and how we generally do it.
- More clearly demonstrate our process. There’s a method and we want to share it. It’s core to how everything gets done.
- Lab Notes – This is an important one. We have a lot to share. Every day we are solving problems in the lab and we face the age old challenge of getting those valuable nuggets out into the field so that in some way it may help others. We like helping others and we think that, for the most part, a lot of what we learn about how to make today’s communications technologies work should be given freely (obviously to the extent that it is not confidential or in any way proprietary). We’re going to be working harder to do just that and there’s a plan for it.
- WordPress 3.21 – This is for our target audience. This is for those of us at RD2 that have always wanted a website where everything could be managed through one central content management system. Yes it’s hard to believe we have been old school until now. So, we deployed our new website and all assets on our website completely in WordPress.
So there you have it, if you’ve read this far. We’ve got a new website. Personally I love this one. I love the update to our branding and the integration of the red. It’s bolder and more confident. It’s less afraid to speak out. It’s bragging a little more about all the great work, great clients, and great people. It’s a better reflection of who we are.