- Company Updates
- General Best Practices
Three years ago...around this exact same time, I wrote a very similar blog post. After months of hard work and a transition from Page Manager (the retired Finalsite CMS) to Composer, we launched a bright and shiny new Finalsite.com. At the time, we were the very first site to launch on Composer, and we were so excited to showcase the power of our new CMS.
And we had dozens of data points to tell us everything we were doing right and everything we were doing wrong. Unfortunately, some of those things we were “doing wrong” were out of our control.
In addition to our own set of self-created obstacles, the past three years have brought numerous movements in the industry — such as the enforcement of WCAG 2.0 and GDPR. The mobile experience is also increasingly important. Google has probably changed its algorithm at least 100 times.
Therefore, with the new Finalsite.com, we had a quite a few very important goals:
- Improve the client user experience by providing quicker paths to the content they access most frequently.
- Improve the overall user experience by strategically mapping the buyer’s journey. This meant completely restructuring our navigation and sitemap.
- Be people-focused, not product-focused.
- Make data-driven content and navigation decisions.
- Streamline the look and feel of all website pages to enhance our brand.
- Make all pages much more SEO-friendly using the most up-to-date best practices.
- Use all of Finalsite’s modules to power our content, including Posts, Calendars, Resources, Directories, PagePops, Feeds, and Portals.
- Make all content accessible and forms GDPR-compliant.
- And of course, launch a visually appealing website that “wows” our visitors in its content, design and overall UX.
This set of goals meant the new Finalsite.com almost started completely from scratch. We were able to salvage some content from some pages, but in most cases, everything was new, including:
- Almost 150 pages of new website content
- 300+ new call-to-action buttons and graphics that kept the website visitor’s journey and accessibility in mind
- 500+ new images (including more than 100 little iPhones that appear on hover in the portfolio). With all of those images, we also kept ALT text in mind — which was easier than ever with the new Resources and Posts module. (In Resources, when you upload an image, you just have to add ALT text once, and it automatically applies to anywhere you add that image on your site. In Posts, your thumbnails automatically get ALT text added, no effort from you).
We also manually categorized and tagged more than 700 pieces of content in Posts that we migrated over from News Manager. Granted, we didn’t have to do it manually. But, this was 100% user error. Learning moments...am I right?
And...did I mention we started this process at the beginning of January / early February? That’s a lot of content in a rather small window of time (when you consider that we were still posting blogs, hosting webinars and workshops, and planning FinalsiteU).
So, with all the hard work behind us, let’s take a quick tour of some of the site’s biggest enhancements:
Designed by Senior Designer Kelly Wilson and coded by Senior Front-End Developer Jeff Snow, our homepage has dozens of subtle enhancements to accent its clean, modern look.
PERSONALIZING THE EXPERIENCE BASED ON WHERE YOU WORK
On the old Finalsite.com, we had some pages buried within our website that received a ton of traffic and had high conversion rates. They were hidden in the hamburger navigation, in a page called “Client Success,” — which, if you’re a client was probably very confusing. These pages were meant to target the exact needs of particular professions and industries. But when we couldn’t find a place for them in our main nav, we kind of just...lost them.
Our new site puts a big focus on these pages on our homepage in the “Who We Serve” panel which morphs into an interactive sticky navigation at the top:
A PROBLEM-SOLVING APPROACH TO CONTENT
While you can access content and resources by the type of school you work for, we also know that certain obstacles transcend all industries — like trying to understand the point of Snapchat or optimizing your site for search. Our new “Solutions” tab in the navigation allows you to browse both content by industry and by need/pain point.
THE FINALSITE BLOG AND RESOURCES
Powered completely by the Posts module, our blog and resources have advanced filtering to help you find the exact piece of content you’re looking for! With Posts’ “category” and “tag” options, you can now browse by two filters, and not just one.
Also Powered by Finalsite Posts, our new portfolio is fun, interactive, and includes additional information on each site featured.
A FOCUS ON OUR PEOPLE
While Finalsite continues to grow, one thing stays true: our people care about your people. We’re picky about not only hiring the most talented individuals, but also those who mesh perfectly with our culture, and we wanted to incorporate these people into our site more. Throughout the site, you’ll find us putting “a face to the name” in sections like Support and Design. And of course, you can see all our team members (and their lovely new headshots) on our main “Our Team” page.
NEW CLIENT PORTAL
The new “Clients” section of the site follows the “portals best practices” we preach with our clients and provides our current clients with a launch pad to access the people and pages they need most often.
With about 150 pages of content, there is a lot to explore — and we encourage you to do so! And, if you have any feedback, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, and Marketing Manager for Public Schools, Mia creates content that is helpful to public schools and districts. As a former TV and news reporter, freelance cinematographer and certified inbound marketer, Mia specializes in helping schools find new ways to share their stories online through web design, social media, copywriting, photography and videography. She is the author of numerous blogs, and Finalsite's popular eBook, The Website Redesign Playbook.
- Web Accessibility
- Web Design