Jan 23, 2014

A New Website, 30 Days and 400% More Subscribers

In mid-December we launched a new version of StickyBranding.com. The old website was almost two years old, and it needed a makeover. It wasn’t performing up to my expectations.

I tasked my design firm, Design & Develop, with a clear task, “I want email subscribers.” They had the standard criteria for creating an attractive, functional website that works on any device, which they did admirably. But the real measure of success was how well the site performed at generating email subscribers.

30 days later and I’m seeing substantial month-over-month gains:

  • 400% increase in email subscribers
  • 38% increase in unique visitors
  • 129% increase in average duration on the site
  • Bounce rate fell from 86% to 35%

The interesting part in these gains is they’re all organic. We launched the new site without any pomp or announcements so we could measure the site’s performance. It went live and I kept my standard publishing routine.

A clear call to action

What do you want your website to do?

Many website projects are driven out of aesthetic goals. It’s old. It’s stale. It doesn’t reflect our brand today. It looks terrible on a mobile device.

Companies invest a ton of time on the design and copy, but lose sight of the performance metrics. What do you want your website visitors to do? What’s your call to action?

My primary goal is encouraging visitors to subscribe to Sticky Branding’s content. The reasons are two-fold:

  1. One-to-one communications. Email is an intimate form of communication. I’m corresponding with individuals versus being lost in the social media masses.
  2. Business development. Email subscribers are a primary source of new clients. It seeds and develops the relationship until there is a need for Sticky Branding’s services.

Don’t underestimate mobile

I underestimated the importance of mobile. I knew having a responsive website and email templates was important, but I didn’t realize how much.

Design & Develop purposefully built StickyBranding.com to work on all devices: desktop, smartphone and tablet. They did a lot of testing to make sure it worked well anywhere a user touched the site.

Design & Develop also selected large fonts to make the copy really easy to read. They argued that the site will perform better if it’s easy to read and use. And they were right.

It was their direction on user interface and mobile that caused the bounce rate to plummet and the average visitor duration to soar.

Always be tweaking

A website is a living, breathing marketing tool. The more you work on it and nurture it the better it will perform.

There’s still work to be done on StickyBranding.com. We’re A/B testing Pippity, which is a popup tool to encourage visitors to sign-up for an email subscription. We’re continuing to tweak the call to action on the core landing pages, and we’re working to optimize the site performance for Google.

There’s always work to be done, but it’s worthwhile if you’re getting the desired results.

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