Three years had passed since we’d touched the design of our site in any meaningful way. While we were itching to put a fresh coat of paint on our look, the real impetus of the redesign had its roots in something not at all aesthetic. Simply put, we’d changed. Matured. Outgrown the message as much as the look.
Like we’d do for any of our clients, we took stock of our team, our best strengths, our victories and our pain points before answering the question: Who are we today? And, perhaps more importantly, Who do we want to work with? Who can we help?
Happy to Help™
That’s the thing about us. Each and every one of us genuinely loves to help. In fact, that’s how some of us met—helping each other in the forums, working on sites together, fixing broken things that no one else could figure out. That’s who we are at our core. Friendly people who are happy to help.
As a company, our culture revolves around a few key things. We’re funny (I like to think), we’re high energy, and we believe in doing good. Sometimes for no reason, usually just because.
We just so happen to also possess an expert knowledge of WordPress, and have more experience than Blanche Devereaux (except with managing websites).
See, that’s where the magic happens at WP Site Care: Our team connecting with people who need help, whether it’s an emergency situation or an ongoing relationship.
Imitate but Never Duplicate
As we’ve grown up, as a company, our competition has noticed our success, client roster, and growth. Occasionally, we’ll find someone has lifted the entire contents of our site and sold it as their own. We have to laugh a little, because our site and our text isn’t the secret sauce.
It’s our people, and you can’t fake that.
While our competition outsources their support overseas to remote places, or never really connects with their customers on a personal level, we pride ourselves on the relationships we form with ours. We’re real people; full-time, dedicated employees, all based in North America. We answer the phone, we knock out tickets moments after you send them, and our people have dedicated support staff.
They can imitate us, but they can never duplicate us.
Defining our Core Values
When approaching our redesign, or brand refresh really, it was important to do as we’d tell our clients to do: dig deep, do a little research, a little soul searching, and a lot of hard work before we ever opened our design tools. Site Care’s core values were always something that were kind of unspoken, though definitely understood, and the foundation of our budding culture. But it felt like an important step to tease them out from our mission statement, put them on paper (chisel them in stone?), and give ourselves daily reminders of our purpose and passions.
Plus, putting our core values on paper felt like a great excuse to produce stickers, adventure badges, and other fun things to send to one another for doing a great job. (Our love of stickers was almost a core value).
Every Voice Matters
However we grow, we strive to maintain the type of environment where every voice matters. Where, no matter the role, an employee can contribute to any discussion about how we work, or who we are. That anyone can and should be open to questions about their process or product. Some of the best ideas come from some of the most unexpected places and, frankly, we just really value all the smart people we work with.
Big Vision, Small Gestures
We’ve always believed that small gestures, (opposed to the grand, loud, publicly shared), are the most meaningful. We do nice things because it’s how we want our work relationships to grow, not because we want the most likes. Small gestures, for us, have created lasting professional relationships with each other and our clients.
Take Care of Each Other
We believe we’re all a team. Here at WP Site Care with our coworkers, in the broader WordPress community, and of course with our clients. There are lots of things we can do to Take Care of Each Other, from offering our skills in a crunch, to asking about each other’s family, and showing up everyday.
Keep it Real
We never want to get caught up in #growthhacking or anything that isn’t relevant to the core of who we are—good people who like helping small businesses succeed. We care about going home at the end of a hard day’s work and feeling good about what we’ve done, and who we’ve helped. That’s really what matters at WP Site Care.
We’re emerging from this redesign process with some thorough, and thoroughly dope, brand guidelines (it’s almost 100 pages; we don’t play), a clearer focus on our mission and culture and, of course, a brand ? new ? design ?!
The Design (drumroll)
On a surface level, it felt right to make our site look and feel as friendly and approachable as we strive to make our entire customer experience. We used a softer version of the same font family, and evolved the color palette to have more bold, vibrant tones.
To really focus in on our team, the fact that you’ll always know who you’re working with and be able to put a face with a name, we created illustrations of the actual members of our team, with subtle animations and interactions that will surprise and delight our customers.
Areas for Improvement
So, like, what the heck do we even do?
At a certain point, it became clear that some of our customers, while happy and satisfied with our services, didn’t really have a totally clear picture on the finer points of what our services actually were. Some of that is technical, and a sign that they’ve got the peace of mind we’re after. But it also felt necessary to simplify and explain our process, and our services in a nutshell, in a way that even our grandparents would understand.
The new design is not about stock photos or boilerplate templates. It’s about the same personal touch we apply to all customer support tickets and client design + development projects being woven through all touch points of the Site Care experience. It’s about constantly communicating to our current and prospective customers that, when it comes to our competitors, our people are our primary difference. Real people, happy to help.
A lot more than a New Coat of Paint
As part of our deep dive into the refresh, we decided to rebuild our website from the ground up. We had to take into consideration things like publishing workflows, marketing initiatives, performance, security, impact on search engines, and all of the underlying technologies that help make our website tick.
We’ll get into the nitty gritty details another day but I’ll mention that with the help of our hosting provider Pagely we setup a web server running PHP 7, http2, and implemented TLS across the entire site. We also dropped all generic schema.org markup because our testing shows that it doesn’t provide any real value from a search rankings standpoint. Finally, we really focused on mobile usability throughout our site as we’ve seen mobile traffic slowly increasing over the last few years.
From a performance standpoint we’ve been ecstatic with the results. We improved performance by about 35% sitewide, which is huge considering our average load times were already right around 1 second. We know we could push it even further but we really like our fancy new animations, and we have a few tracking scripts from third parties that slow things down too. Click around and enjoy the near-instant page loads. Browsing the web is fun again (on wpsitecare.com).
We launched our new website on July 7th, so you can see a quick traffic comparison of the 30 days before and the 30 days since our new website went live. An increase in sessions of 16% from one month to the next during the slowest time of the year was a welcomed surprise. We attribute that strong surge in traffic primarily to the TLS implementation, cleaning up a bunch of dormant content, and optimizing some of our existing content. We’re still watching things very carefully, but so far we’re super happy with the results of our reboot.
Only the Beginning
For us, this isn’t a time to sit back and rest on our laurels after a fresh coat of paint, but a time to get moving in our new direction with a clear path.
We just can’t wait to share what we do next. ?