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Three Reasons We Upgraded our Website and Why you Should Do it Too!
Event Birdie kicked off in February 2014 as one of the best-looking and easy to use directories available in Australia for finding venues, caterers and event suppliers (if we do say so ourselves). The clean design and emphasis on letting the businesses listed in the directory colour the pages (rather than flashing banner ads) proved a hit with both users and advertisers.
So why, after only two years, did we decide to redesign the website?
Other than being a little crazy (it’s certainly not an easy, time efficient or inexpensive project), there are a few key reasons as to why we embarked on redesigning our website so early on. We wanted to share these reasons with you now, so that you too can consider whether it’s time your website had a makeover…
1. Make it mobile
The main reason we embarked on this project was that we wanted to make our website mobile responsive. This is when a website is designed to be easily viewed and navigated on mobile and tablet devices.
There are over 15 million smart phone users in Australia, with the majority of them using their devices to research, read and engage with online content multiple times a day. It’s no wonder then, that Google (the Lord of the Internet), rewards those that have an easy to use, mobile responsive website.
While our website analytics show that the majority of our users still view eventbirdie.com on their desktop (mostly professional event buyers researching at their desks Monday to Friday), we still attract a hefty amount of traffic via mobile – and this amount is growing!
Our blog and social media content is also paramount to our marketing strategy and with more than 75% of mobile users viewing that type of content on their phones every day, it is extremely important that eventbirdie.com (and your website too) is where people are looking.
2. Make the content fabulous and easy to find
When we started Event Birdie we started a blog. The blog was there to showcase our client’s work and give us a place to publish helpful tips about planning events. We wanted to create a directory that gave event planners useful advice, along with our venue and supplier recommendations.
After several months of publishing some kick-arse content we noticed that some of the articles not only brought in traffic at the time of publishing, but they continued to bring in the traffic long after the publish date. We quickly realised that much of our content was ‘evergreen content’ (the type of content that is always relevant and useful) and this is gold for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)!
The result was that eventbirdie.com went from being listed “not-even-on-the-top-50-pages-of-Google” to being listed within the top five and then, for most of our key target search terms, the allusive page #1 of Google…
We had made it! Our chicken-and-egg moment had finally cracked! You can build an amazing directory, but advertisers are of course apprehensive about joining when you don’t have a lot of traffic. On the flip side, users tend not to visit websites with very little content… and so you see – this was our chicken-and-egg conundrum.
Content is King and for websites this could not be more true. So how do you create great content for your website? Well, for starters you get yourself some good writers. You need to not only write for the web (cleverly integrating your key words and phrases) but, more importantly, you need to write about interesting and useful topics. This is where some SEO experts fall short – they just don’t understand events! Luckily though the events industry provides a never ending supply of topics to cover, the trick is to then be good at putting it into words so you sound like the expert. This then attracts the quality traffic and the quality leads.
Our desire to harness the power of content marketing to promote our clients and our own services was exactly why we upgraded our blog. We wanted our blog to look and perform as well as the quality of the content we were writing. Our articles are interesting and useful to our readers who are, for the majority, potential buyers for our clients. The links we provide back to their website also help their Google juice and by sharing the articles all over our social media channels the reach gets even wider.
3. Make it clean and easy to use
The brief to our web developers (back in 2014) was very clear – we wanted a website that was a blank canvas where we could showcase our client’s products and services without any other distractions. We wanted the directory listings to be fresh and clean – we didn’t want any banner ads distracting users, we wanted the images to be the hero and we wanted the information to be useful and easy to read.
When we launched Event Birdie later that year the result pretty much matched our brief. We loved it and so did a lot of other people – users and clients alike. So when we decided to invest in updating our website recently, we were not really looking to change the look. What we did want to do though was tidy up some of the usability features that we thought could be better.
We wanted to improve the way clients searched the directory. We wanted to make it clearer that we promote more than just venues. We wanted to ensure that the right information was easy to find.
Essentially, we wanted to take everything that we had learnt over the past two years about running an online business to create the best events directory possible! A little ambitious maybe, but you’ve gotta have a goal…
With that in mind it was only natural to do a makeover of the site. Eventbirdie.com v2.0 not only looks even cleaner, but we’ve ironed out a lot of the usability issues, so it’s now even easier to use!
Your business website is the most important marketing tool you have and you cannot afford to have one that doesn’t sell your business. In order to convert sales your website not only needs to look good, but more importantly, it needs to be easy to use and lead potential clients to your sales team.
Potential clients will not engage with your product if your website flashes up washed out images, filtered images or barely no images at all. If you make it difficult for potential clients to find key details about your business, they will quickly move on to find a website that will give them the inspiration they need to make an enquiry.
Which leads us to the contact details – make sure all methods of contacting your sales team are available and easy to find: phone, email and an enquiry form. And never rely on just the latter – enquiry forms sometimes break and you’ll never know what opportunities you missed out on. Make your calls to action clear and repetitive – don’t just rely on a Contact Us page to lead your clients to your sales team.
In summary, if your website doesn’t deliver the following it’s time to consider investing in a makeover…
1. Make sure your website is in the palm of your client’s hands – make it mobile responsive
2. Make sure you are creating relevant and engaging content that showcases your best work, makes you look like the expert, while helping to bring in the right traffic
3. Design your website to showcase your best work and make it easy for clients to contact you. Events are not a ‘click here to buy’ style product – you want to have a conversation with your clients so make it easy for that conversation to start.