Because the best marketers deserve great content.
Before Embarking on a Blog Redesign, Ask These Four Questions
Today, we’re excited to introduce a major refresh to the Percolate blog. If you’re a frequent reader, you may have noticed some changes to the layout and format. Let’s take look:
— Recommended Content: See featured articles on the homepage sidebar in addition to the most recent posts. Discover additional resources like research reports, videos, webinars, and case studies towards the bottom of the home page.
— Email subscription: Want to get new articles from us in your inbox? Now you’ve got a dedicated form for that
— Explore categories: On our homepage, discover articles in each of our major content categories: Culture, Design, Marketing & Tech, Events, and Percolate News. At the end of each post, find more articles from that category
— Focus on Visuals: Ultimately, we want our blog to be an attractive place to interact with our content. We’ve used the redesign to make our header images more powerful and relevant to the material.
— Sharing buttons: next to the email subscription form at the top, we’ve also got buttons to share any post back to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
— Speed and Stability: While you can’t see it, we also put work into the backend of the blog platform, making it more powerful, more stable, and load faster.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done here, and expect a few smaller updates in the upcoming period.
Redesigning a blog (or a website or any other owned property for that matter) is a significant project — and it’s definitely something you don’t want to jump into without some forethought. Before embarking on this project, we had to really ask ourselves if this was worth the time and effort. If your team is considering a major redesign, these questions might help you determine if its the right move.
1) Is longform content a strategic asset for your brand?
Percolate is active on a number of channels, including LinkedIn and Twitter as well as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. But for the most part, these are places to share lightweight content which has a relatively short half-life.From the very first days of Percolate, we’ve been intent on using longform content to communicate our ideas, share stories about clients, and share the experience of building a fast growing technology company.
Our blog has been a tremendous asset to our company for building thought leadership and allowing people to express interest in our technology. We’re not alone: experienced marketers are 60% more likely to use blogging as a marketing tactic. (See more B2B marketing benchmarks in our new report). But for some brands, like consumer goods or retail brands, longform content might be lower on the priority list of marketing tactics. In this case, it might not be worth investing the time and resources in updating what might be a satisfactory platform.
2) Do you have the resources to produce high quality content on a regular basis?
Producing great longform content is a lot of work. It’s easy to stumble across a corporate blog that hasn’t been updated in weeks if not months. If your team is small or overloaded with existing campaigns, you may not be able to reap the benefits of a blog because you simply can’t support the content required. It would valuable to consider sourcing from content providers, or hiring strong content marketers to augment your efforts.
For Percolate, our marketing team has grown in the last few months (and we’re still bringing on great people) so we’re confident we can produce smart, useful content regularly. That content will come from the marketing team but the entire company: to date, over fifty people from across numerous department have authored posts for our blog.
3) Do you have business objectives identified that you want to improve?
Whenever you’re looking to invest in a channel, you have to make sure you have clear business objectives you’re looking to achieve. And you have see an opportunity to achieve greater results on those objectives.
The previous iteration of our blog looked great, but the experience wasn’t ideal for new visitors. Because we posted frequently, our best posts were typically not the most recent posts and it was not easy to find relevant or popular content on our site. Readers also expressed interest in subscribing to our content and we didn’t have an easy way to do that. We knew that by providing a better user experience on the blog, we could better share important industry trends with our audience, find articles that were addressed their interests, and ultimately help them better evaluate if Percolate is right for them.
4) Do you have design and development resources to execute on these objectives?
Ultimately, your blog redesign should have goals that are oriented around the objectives you identified earlier. Only when those business needs and project goals are established can design and development really step in. Too many people want to jump into looking at shiny new themes or making a list of specific features they want to add to their site, and without a strategy, that activity is mostly going to waste.
For our redesign, once we had established our business objectives, we worked with our communications design director, Sofia Hoflin, to put together a design brief. We mapped out the user experience through rounds of wireframes, sharpened the visual design details, and finally brought in our marketing engineers to build the WordPress templates on the front-end and code the backend functionality.
Whether you have in-house designers and developers, or outsource these efforts, you need to have trusted professionals who understand your brand and project goals who can execute quickly and effectively if you want your blog redesign to be successful.
We’re thrilled to bring you, our readers, a better experience, and excited to see the blog expand its role in supporting our business. Have questions, thoughts, feedback? We’d love to hear from you at @percolate.