When in the development lifecycle should you start thinking about SEO?
If you’re like a lot of people, the answer is “let’s just get this damn thing built and then we’ll worry about SEO later!” I feel your pain—redesigning your website can be expensive, time consuming, and frustrating.
The last thing you want to think about is keyword research, and besides, can’t you just hire an SEO company to work some magic once you’re up and running? Well, maybe. But the SEO company’s first recommendation might be “this site sucks, it’s all in Flash, and you need a redesign.” Have fun at your quarterly review.
OK, so SEO is important, but what should you be considering while you’re in the design process? Here are some bullet points that we’ll flesh out below.
Keyword targeting and site architecture
Analytics and tracking
Site speed (the silent killer)
Keyword Targeting and Architecture
What keywords are you going after? If it’s a re-launch, are they the same keywords that you were ranking for before, or are you looking to expand your reach? Either way, you need to think strategically about the keywords you will be targeting.
That means that each keyword phrase will need a unique page of content and each landing page should be no more than two clicks away from the homepage. In fact, by doing keyword research in conjunction with designing the site architecture, decisions about what pages to include and how to organize them will fall into place much more easily.
Another note about site architecture: key pages should be no more than two clicks away from the homepage, in order to a) make them easier for visitors to find and b) to effectively pass the link juice from the homepage to the landing pages on the site.
But what about aesthetics? Yeah, I know, aesthetics are important. And so are the actual humans that will be using your site. You have to balance the demands of search engines and real people—and helping people find what they want is part of good usability and SEO. If Ryan Gosling was using your site, you would want him to say “you’re the perfect combination of user-friendly design and search engine optimization.”
What if you could snap your fingers and be living in your ideal future? Turns out, you can, and not by magic! We know of just the tools to help you visualize your ideal life and future and make it happen. MagicFuture (formerly MagicNumber) is a platform for education and inspiration to help happy people fulfill their potential through self improvement tools. And, we have the privilege of helping them bring their wisdom, insight, and inspiration to life online.
After having developed and then obtained some key learnings for the MagicNumber beta site, EIM started on a journey to evolve the site to create greater usability for members and a more cohesive experience, tying in all tools offered–including features for goal setting, habit forming, and a vision board to paint a picture of what they are trying to achieve.
Creating User Value
To engage new users and spur growth, we helped MagicFuture implement a “Try it, risk free 21 day trial!” Seeing the value of user insights and how important it is to hear from its members, the Magic team has always encouraged feedback. Many of the things that we included in the latest MagicFuture release were spurred by comments from their community
Building The MagicTools to Build a MagicFuture
Achieving your desired future starts with knowing you want it, but it takes the right tools to stay determined and on track. And there was always so much more behind MagicNumber than just that tool alone–MagicFuture brings them all to the forefront in a more cohesive toolkit.
We are very proud to announce the new envisionit website, at envisionitmedia.com. Although it’s been live for a few weeks now, we decided to take it for a rigorous test drive before announcing it to the public. But don’t worry–it still has that new website smell.
As with every project we undertake, we set measurable goals and objectives for the new site. We’ll keep the competitive details to ourselves, but here’s a little about what we set out to do:
Our company culture is very important to us, and it bleeds into our work. So we made it a priority to ensure every site visitor will quickly understand who we are, and how we approach the work.
It was important to leverage our biggest assets as a company to help with every phase of the redesign. Our people. From our super-talented designers to our thoughtful writers, and our expert marketers to our talented business development people, everyone helped make the new website a valuable resource for those who are looking for digital marketing expertise. Not only did we want to showcase our talents, but also help visitors understand the breadth and scope of how we can help their businesses.
We encourage big ideas, both from our clients and our people. And big ideas don’t need to be complicated. So we made it easy for site visitors to browse some of our work, where we’ve brought big ideas to life.
We had plenty of fun concepting, writing, and building the new site. And we hope you enjoy taking a tour. (We don’t like to brag, but it’s pretty awesome.)
We’d love to hear what you think, you can leave a comment below. As always, we’re ready to discuss your next big idea. Contact us at any time.
We’re proud to announce the launch of American Osteopathic Association’s microsite Mini-Medical-School.com, just in time for National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week, April 15-21, 2012! The microsite was designed to introduce young children to osteopathicphysicians (DOs) while teaching them the basics of health and fitness. With the activities defined by the AOA, EIM turned them into an online environment to engage and educate children on the world of osteopathy. This initiative is in direct alignment with the AOA’s continuing drive to properly educate children in the areas of medicine, health and fitness.
The site features information about the Mini-Medical School, the American Osteopathic Association and a cartoon host guiding you through six interactive activities. These activities span a variety of games including a bone health drag-and-drop skeleton, medical instrument matching, hygiene and germs multiple choice, complete the organ sentence, nutritional food group identification and an exercise-focused word search.
Once all 6 activities have been completed successfully, the child receives a downloadable certificate and coloring book page.
Printable Certification of Completion
Those interested in building their health and fitness knowledge can enjoy the Mini-Medical School website at home or on the go, as all of the games are iPad compatible. The experience should prove to be a fun and engaging way for both parents and teachers to educate kids on a very important topic. There may even be a few valuable refreshers in there for adults, too!
We are excited to announce the launch of the brand new Knight Hawk microsite! Near the end of 2011, we were approached by Smart Targets LLC (a federally licensed dealer of professional tactical supplies and training materials) to create a visually stunning, informational, and educational new microsite showcasing their exclusive product: The Knight Hawk Portable Pop-up Target. When developing this microsite, we wanted to make sure that the visitor was able to quickly view the product and all of its great features- all while using SEO best practices.
The Knight Hawk Target is a “smarter target” than the simple pulley system or knock-down targets that are currently used in the industry, and far less expensive (not to mention hundreds of pounds lighter) than the hydraulic pop-up targets sometimes used. This target is perfect for Military and Law enforcement training professionals, allowing them to seamlessly set up multiple targets in multiple areas of the training facility with its portability feature. It also has a programmable remote and instant feedback feature that is perfect for setting up training facilities, or for any shooting enthusiast. The instant feedback system will stand up in 50 mph winds, yet can be knocked down with something as light as an air-soft gun (we even tested it with Nerf guns at the office and it worked).
The Knight Hawk Target has received support from Top Shot Season 2 Winner Chris Reed, as well as various board members of the NTOA, MTOA, and various law enforcement departments across the country. This product really is one that is going to change the future of Military and Law enforcement training as we know it.
We are excited to announce the second piece of an interactive program for Fibre-Craft Materials Corporation’s Springfield Dolls line. Following the launch of the SF Style Club interactive microsite, we’ve just launched the second part of the piece, an ecommerce sister site for Springfield Dolls, where you can buy all your favorite dolls, fashionable clothing, accessories, and furniture!
The online store features easy-to-navigate product categories, a searchable catalog of all the fashionable doll products, and a wishlist to save all your outfits for safekeeping or online shopping on a rainy day.
We made sure the ecommerce system syncs to an existing inventory management and shipping component. This ensures that the inventory numbers within the store and the warehouse correspond at all times.
Nu Finish, a longstanding envisionit client, came to us wanting to grow their online presence and breathe new life into their several-year-old website.
After performing a full audit of the website analytics and competitive online landscape, we identified some areas for opportunity for the Nu Finish website, including consumer education, fresh unique content, and revised architecture driving users to critical pages.
To showcase Nu Finish’s car-care expertise, we added a Car Care section featuring information on car wax versus car polish, as Nu Finish’s product is wax-free, which educates visitors on the benefits of using a car polish over a wax. A new How-To video section, embedded from the Nu Finish YouTube channel we created, equips users for product application and creates fresh, search engine-friendly content to help capture “how-to” based keyword searches. We also added a Testimonials section with an online submission tool, to leverage all the great consumer feedback Nu Finish receives.
Keyword research helped us update content, metadata, and marketing messages with stronger calls-to-action and discoverability through organic search.
Not only did organic search traffic increase 111% for “wax versus polish“ searches, but bounce rates and site engagement times improved significantly. Also, the number of visitors proceeding from the Home page to the valuable Where to Buy page doubled in Q3 over the same period last year.
Now that we’ve revved the engine of Nu Finish’s online presence, we invite you to see the Car Care site for yourself!
We are proud to announce the launch of the Springfield Dolls microsite SF Style Club! Fibre-Craft Materials Corporation approached us to create an interactive program that will grow awareness and drive traffic to their Springfield Dolls line. Fibre-Craft is the parent company to crafts, games, and toys lines including Creative Hands, The Springfield Collection, Jr. Designer Series, and Rondo Room.
The Dressing Room in SF Style Club
SF Style Club is a space that encourages individualism, imagination, and creativity in young girls. Each site visit encourages deeper engagement by earning points to unlock content, merchandise, activities, and special features.
A key component on the site includes an interactive Dressing Room that enables users to dress their doll in over 160 clothing items from the Springfield Dolls Collection. The photographed items in the Dressing Room allow the girls to see their actual doll in clothing options before purchasing the items at a local retailer. Within the Dressing Room users are also able to share an image of their doll and the outfit they created with a loved one—which includes product SKU numbers so the recipient can locate items in-store, and soon, online!
Want to see what the site is all about before signing up? No problem! Just view the video we developed below for a quick overview of all the fun features and activities SF Style Club has to offer!
Carnivale is an exciting, colorful, and unique Chicago restaurant and bar located in the city’s west loop neighborhood. With energetic colors, photography, and wild design, it’s a luxurious restaurant that engages all of the senses with global flavors, Latin music, and savory aromas—not to mention their award-winning Mojitos, fresh ceviche, and wood-grilled steaks.
Carnivale approached us with the task of bringing that exciting, colorful, and unique experience of the restaurant into the online space, along with improved usability, strong SEO benefits, and an emphasis on their private event booking opportunities. We were more than happy to accept the task!
When you first enter the site, you’re exposed to an array of dazzling colors and a vivid movie behind red curtains that showcases all that Carnivale has been known to host–from weddings and private events to cabaret shows and live music.
To go along with the elaborate design and taste appeal (we all found ourselves constantly salivating while we developed this site), you can easily make reservations and request a booking or more information for a private event, while easily viewing the layout of every room and what each one has to offer. Users can browse Carnivale’s extensive photo galleries, view the menus and daily specials, and watch Carnivale videos on the site. You can experience Carnivale while on the go via the new mobile site we developed for them!
So, make sure you go check out Carnivale Chicago for some fine Latin cuisine, your next private party booking, or if you are just looking to enjoy a great Mojito (or three!) in a stunning vibrant atmosphere.
envisionit media is once again happy to announce the launch of another website, www.AlvaAmco.com! In 2010, Alva came to us to not only update the last website we designed for them, but with a list of several other business objectives. As a leading over the counter (OTC) Pharmacal company located in Niles, IL, Alva Amco has a unique challenge of wanting to sell their OTC products online without upsetting their distribution channels of offline retailers. Launched last week was a robust ecommerce site, Alva-Direct.com that integrates into AlvaAmco.com without taking any attention from the retailers that sell their products.
Along with this challenge, below is a list of Alva Amco’s business objectives that EIM accomplished:
Improved website optimization, allowing for Alva to be found online for non-branded keyword searches, and increasing online market share
Custom reporting that allows for Alva to make better marketing and product decisions
Improved site speed using the latest technology and resources like Google Webmaster Tools, which allows for a better visitor experience as well as improved search rankings
Implemented online customer surveys tool that allows site visitors to provide feedback on their favorite products to obtain a coupon; also allows Alva to organically grow their database
Improved CMS capabilities, allowing Alva to make changes to their site on the fly, even to add a complete new product line. This means they won’t have to engage their agency for moderate web edits… but that’s okay, we still have lots to do
Last but not least, we provided them a much-needed updated look and feel, with unique brand pages that reflect the target audience of each product.
Congrats to the wonderful Alva team, who we’ve known and worked with for years. We’re poppin’ a champagne bottle to many more!