A Tale Of Two Audiences
Every second of every day, your website has an opportunity to speak to two audiences:
Machine and Human. Both audiences come in search of information. The
Machine visits websites (we call this indexing) so it knows what a website is all about in case it is asked (a Google search). The Human visits because they want to do something with that information such as learn (Wikipedia), shop (Amazon) or get the latest news.
Every day, Mondays through Fridays, Companies and Law Firms use Google (and other Search Engines) to find court reporters in areas where they know no one. Without a website of your own, how will they find you?
The Challenge With A Website Makeover
When a website has existed for a while, and been visited by both of these audiences a lot, a sense of familiarity develops.
The Human prefers this sameness, the never changing way of things, because they know right where to go to get what they want.
Machine actually hates this. It is all about "what is happening now?" Unlike wine, information as it ages on a website is not a good thing when it comes to Search engines. It sees a website that does not change as being stale, no longer relevant, and it pushes the website further and further down in its search rankings. This is why websites that used to bring new business have suddenly stopped.
Keeping your website the same is fine for your current clients but bad for Searches.
Changing your website is fine for Searches (and the new clients it brings to you since they are seeing the website for the first time) but can be annoying to the people who are used to the old way of doing things.
Steps In A Website Makeover: (Circle City Reporting - Indianapolis)
This is the question we helped Circle City Reporting solve. While their content had been kept up-to-date, the overall design had not been updated in nearly 7 years. During this time, Mobile had become a dominant platform for consuming websites. In fact, as of 2020, over 50% of website visitors use a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to view a website. In some cases, that number approaches 80%. Circle City Reporting wanted a tech refresh that would satisfy both worlds: Make it easy for the existing clients to still find their way around the website; plus, make it fresh enough for Google so that search engine rankings would improve and the website could attract new clients through organic search; in addition to displaying well on mobile devices for anyone who was using them.
As a court reporting agency, we would have recommended that Circle City Reporting use a WordPress-based website. WordPress powers some 30% of web sites so it is a proven platform. As it turned out, Circle City Reporting's website was already powered by WordPress, so that was easy.
Not all websites - WordPress or otherwise - are created equal. At Court Reporter 360 we pride ourselves on designing fast, highly performing websites, regardless of whether they are running on our proprietary system or are driven by WordPress.
- The first step was to work with Circle City Reporting to identify the things they liked, the things they didn't like, and the things they wanted added (which their first web design company did not provide them with). Why is this important? A lot can happen in 7 years. New capabilities, new ways of doing things, have appeared. You have years of experience and you know that some things are no longer needed.
- Next, we went through the website backend and identified current WordPress plugins and structure, mapping it to the new, and identifying the technology gaps we would need to fill. Why is this important? Just because a WordPress plugin was the best 7 years ago doesn't mean it's the best now. We don't want to hold onto the past just because that's the way it's always been done. We need to identify the current landscape and build with the right tools today.
- Lastly, we needed to pay attention to Google (search engines in general but Google is the 800 pound gorilla everyone has to deal with) and make certain what we were doing would not "break" anything. Why is this important? The Internet is littered with website rebuilds which failed to take this into consideration. A fast website is important. But we need to make certain that we do not lose any high ranking Google has assigned to a certain page. Yes, we can get it back again. But it could take 90 days, six months, even a year or two to get a page back to its ranking after a website redesign. This should not be ignored.
With everything in hand, we set to work for our design. Simultaneously to all of this, we reworked the content, tweaking it and punching it up so that it would be more search engine friendly (what is known as Search Engine Optimization).
Once we had the framework in place, and the new content, we were able to finish the new website in about a day, but we knew we were not done. We tested the performance of the website, reiterating with changes and improvements, testing it again, until at last we were satisfied and turned it over to Rita for final approval. We made a few mistakes, overlooking one section of text. Circle City Reporting caught this, of course, and we were able to correct it. Never hesitate to get a second (or third) set of eyes on something. You already know this from all of the proofreading you have done over the years. The same is true with text on your website.
Before we did our website makeover, the website loaded in a very respectable 1.99 milliseconds. The goal is for 2 seconds or less. The old one made it under the wire.
After we made our changes, there were three big improvements:
1). The website loaded in less than 1 second - 0.828 milliseconds to be exact. This is almost 60% faster loading than the old Circle City Reporting website.
2). Not only is it faster loading, the website was now mobile friendly.
3). Lastly, organic traffic (people finding the website through online searches) improved nearly doubled. Due to client confidentiality we cannot share specific numbers so you will just have to trust us on this. As we do for all of our makeovers, we looked at Website Traffic Analytics from before and after the Circle City Reporting makeover. We used the from before as our baseline for comparison. These numbers are not real, for the reason stated, but in the 28-day cycle before the makeover there were 10 visitors who came to the CCR website as a result of a Google search. In the 28-day cycle after the Circle City Reporting makeover there were 20 visitors. We expect these numbers to continue to improve. It can take 7-28 days for a reindexing of an existing website to kick in. A brand new website (one that never existed before) can take 30-60 days for measurable results to show up. This is why it is important to get started sooner, rather than later. Therefore, in the case of CCR, in theory this 100% increase may actually have happened over a 21-day period, rather than a 28-day period.
Disclaimer: Do we promise you the same results as Circle City Reporting? No. We can't. But what we can promise is that we will use everything we know, every tool we have, every datapoint we can collect, to help your website makeover be successful too.
What Does This Example Mean For You? Why Should You Care?
It doesn't matter if you are a nice sized agency with a WordPress-driven website, or a solo practitioner with a simple one page website, if you have not refreshed it in the last three years - certainly the last five years or longer - you are due for a change. In fact, we could even prove to you that at this point your website is actually working against you, rather than helping you.
But it's expensive!
First of all, it doesn't have to be. Check out our plans and we know you will agree. Circle City Reporting was surprised and pleased that we provided the website makeover for about 1/3 the cost they were expecting to pay. WIth our current special, Agencies can expect to pay about 70% less than usual.
Secondly, you need to think of your court reporter website as an investment, not an expense. Most, not all, but certainly most of our court reporter clients make more money in new work from their Court Reporter 360 website than what it costs each year. Obviously, we can't guarantee this. A lot depends on things outside of your control or ours. One year you may "go in the hole" (don't make enough to cover the ongoing hosting fee). A few months later, you suddenly get three new jobs from clients out of town (85% of new work comes from people out of town) who needed a court reporter in your area. We have seen it happen.
Obviously, we would like to be the one you choose to partner with in order to accomplish your goals. Even if you go with someone else, or do it yourself, we hope that something on this page has helped you. We thank you for reading all the way to the end.