We started working with Senior Living SMART in the summer of 2015. This startup is geared towards—you guessed it—the senior living industry, specifically the people who work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and so forth.
Founded by two energetic women with decades of industry experience, SLS provides a subscription based service that offers its members the latest and greatest information, tools, and resources that they need to run, market, and improve their senior living communities. In addition, SLS researches vendors, partners with the best of the bunch, and negotiates discounts for its members. (Think discounts on things like CRMs and live chat tools.)
As you can probably tell, SLS has many moving parts: three-tiered member subscriptions, partner program (also with three tiers), partner directory, free content, and premium content for members only. Just to name a few items.
The Challenge: Too Much Awesome Stuff
When we first dug into the site, we kept saying it was like an onion—so many delicious layers. Every time we peeled back one layer, we discovered something new (and often unexpected). And that, of course, was a problem. While we were happy to spend time looking around, we knew prospects and (especially) paying members wouldn't be happy if they couldn't easily find the info they needed, when they needed it.
In fact, SLS shared some feedback from current members, and one comment stood out: I don't have time to figure out how everything works. SLS endeavored to be a time saver, so this comment caused concern. Of course, it was just one comment. But the PMG team suspected other site visitors probably felt similarly. A website redesign, with a focus on re-structuring the navigation, would likely be necessary—and a top priority.
But we wanted to make sure we were right. See, too many companies decide they need a website redesign "just because" or due to anecdotal evidence (like one or two comments). Never make changes "just because." Always have a good reason (or reasons) backed up by evidence.
We decided to follow our own advice.
We decided to challenge our own assumptions and invest in user testing. We chose the aptly named UserTesting.com. It's economical and intuitive. Plus, it's easy to share the results with the whole team, including the client.
Here's how it works: you provide UserTesting.com with specific tasks you want to test (e.g. "find this resource") and/or specific questions you want answered (e.g. "After looking at the home page for 5 seconds, tell me what SLS is about"). UserTesting.com takes care of the rest, delivering videos that show users on your website as they go through the tasks and questions.
Talk about incredible insight… and evidence. It quickly became clear to us (and the client) that we needed to reorganize the website and tighten the messaging, especially on the home page.
The Solution: PMG's Fine-Tuned Approach to Website Redesign
The only thing more challenging than launching a new website from scratch is redesigning an existing website.
Well, the site is already live. So you're working around a live site with plenty of important pieces (think shopping carts) that you can't afford to have go down while changes are happening in the background.
In this case, we had multiple platforms as well: WordPress and HubSpot (not to mention plug-ins, like ecommerce and live chat). We also had a deep, deep site with hundreds of pages.
We needed to be realistic about what we could tackle with a budget that made sense to the client. We had priorities, of course (revealed by the user testing):
- Give the home page a new look
- Reorganize the navigation
- Streamline the messaging so people can quickly understand what SLS does and where they should go next
We also wanted to refresh the pricing charts for members and partners. The site hadn't been optimized for keyword phrases, so we wanted to address that as well, knowing we couldn't get to every page in this first go-round. We settled on about 30 pages. We also identified a handful of new pages we wanted to add.
Once we had a sense of the big tasks involved, we created a detailed project plan, one that included all the key players (writers, WordPress gurus, designers, etc.) and ALL the necessary tasks and steps along the way. Think artwork to content creation to 301 redirects to everything in between.
Based on the client's desired "go live" date, we outlined every task that needed to happen, who owned the task, and the target deadline. We worked in wiggle room as well because no website project—no matter how well managed—goes exactly as planned. Technical difficulties crop up, people get sick, a task might take longer than anticipated.
And we had a project manager (me!). This is a CRITICAL component. You need one main person in charge—a person who manages and follows up with all the players. Communication is essential to the success of a website redesign.
This is a big benefit that PMG brings to the table: we can map out and manage your website redesign from start to finish. Not only that, but we assemble the team. If you were to work with a web developer, you'd still need the other pieces (marketing/messaging guru, content writer, HubSpot/WordPress experts, graphic designer, account manager). But with us, you get everything you need in one place. This saves time, money, and aggravation.
The Results: Cleaner, Fresher, Better Organized
We relaunched the SLS website on time and within budget. The messaging is clearer along with the "what should I do next?" steps. The client has received lots of positive feedback. But don’t worry—we'll hopefully be doing more user testing soon to confirm these comments—and to see what else we can do to improve the website visitor's experience.
See a before and after shot of the home page below. Or visit Senior Living SMART to experience the refreshed site firsthand.
Senior Living SMART – before
Senior Living SMART – after
Are you thinking about redesigning your company website? Let's chat. We'll help you determine whether a redesign is what you need (or if you need something else entirely).