Your website acts as an essential business tool — used across every industry for a diverse number of functions. B2B companies rely on their websites to generate leads, phone calls, or physical location visits. No matter what function your website serves, there is one universal goal every business wants to accomplish with its website: leveraging it to create more growth.
There are several ways to increase your leads, sales, and revenue without investing in a complete redesign and rebuild. A great website will enable your team to work smarter, not harder. Here are tips that you should consider trying — while simple, they can help your business grow significantly.
1. Responsive Design
Mobile accounts for over half of global website traffic; if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you may be losing valuable leads. In the coming years this number will only increase, and ensuring a mobile-friendly design may be crucial to your future success. A responsive website design (RWD) adapts to fit any screen in a way that makes all pages, features, and actions accessible to users. Making sure that your website can support traffic on any browsing device ensures that users are not dropping off your site because they cannot access what they’re looking for.
2. Simplify Your Navigation
In order to increase conversions, you need to keep users on your website. When a user lands on your website, they should be able to quickly and intuitively navigate to relevant content, allowing them to find the information they need without losing interest. The first step to keeping a user on your site is maintaining a simple and intuitive navigation. Too many options will likely overwhelm your user; it is important to have a clear path for users to the action you would like them to take as well as the information they are looking for. Otherwise, they may look elsewhere.
3. Avoid Clutter and Complex Noise
While incorporating animation and motion on your website adds visual interest for users and helps your site stand out, it’s important to be aware of the balance between unique design and overly-complex noise. Too much movement can be overwhelming for your user and may detract from what they originally came to your website to achieve. A complex design can also negatively impact your site speed, potentially increasing bounce rate and affecting your SEO score. While finding a middle-ground between these two extremes can be difficult, it’s important to ask if new design elements will add value to the end-user.
4. Don’t Go Crazy With Your Fonts
While fonts are an easy way to enhance your CVI and bring visual interest to your website, they may also be difficult to read for some users or on some devices. Using a Sans Serif font for your website’s body copy and making sure the font size and color meet accessibility standards is crucial in getting your message across to users. If they are not able to read the content on your site, they definitely won’t be converting.
User experience is crucial to effective website design, but so is your internal team! Here are some tips to streamline the digital sales process for end-users and internal teams. A positive user experience will directly translate into increased conversions.
Use Call Tracking
If driving users to make a phone call is one of the main goals of your website, it is important to know which page has prompted the user to make the call. You can easily track this information by using unique phone numbers on different pages, allowing you to determine which page is driving the most traffic to your call center. These numbers can easily be configured to route to your main phone line, meaning there won’t be any disruption to the way you’re currently handling phone leads.
Install Live Chat
While live chat may not seem immediately relevant to your business, every website can benefit from this simple tool. Live chat functions to facilitate interactions with your users and enables them to quickly get the answers they’re looking for without spending too much time hunting around the site. Many chat services will also integrate with mobile phones, allowing your business to easily monitor traffic.
To learn more about driving leads via a responsive UX design and how Bluetext can help you increase conversion rates, contact us today.
The term “Content Strategy” may be one of the mosts misunderstood concepts in the marketing industry. One of the reasons is that there are many different definitions for the term, not to mention that most agencies, organizations, and even core teams have differing opinions of what makes up content strategy and execution. Everywhere I have worked has handled content strategy in different ways, but all had one common trend: Content Strategy was integral to a successful website build.
One such definition by marketing guru Rahel Bailie states:
Content strategy deals with the planning aspects of managing content throughout its lifecycle, and includes aligning content to business goals, analysis, and modeling, and influences the development, production, presentation, evaluation, measurement, and sunsetting of content, including governance. What content strategy is not is the implementation side. The actual content development, management, and delivery is the tactical outcomes of the strategy that need to be carried out for the strategy to be effective.
Rahel Bailie, coauthor of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits and principal of Intentional Design
Rahel does a great job in articulating the essence of Content Strategy. At the end of the day, it is about the process that is put in place to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. Content Strategy is not a set-it-and-forget-it task; it requires active attention and ongoing support to ensure success.
At Bluetext, content strategy is a key component of every website project. At the beginning of a project, we work with our clients to define the right balance of support required to ensure that they are successful. We strongly believe that without a well-defined and well-executed content strategy there is an abundance of business opportunity left on the table. Whether this be in the form of missed SEO juice, messaging gaps, or outdated and unimportant content, the bottom line is that your organization is missing out on some of its potential.
So what does a sample content strategy process look like?
In this blog post, we walk through a very high level overview of the core pieces required to have a successful content strategy. These are by no means the only things that make up content strategy and there will be different flavors/add-ons/adjustments based on your organization’s specific needs.
Step 1: Define your Audience
The core of a sound content strategy is defining your audience. A content strategy may have more than one target audience, but without at least a basic understanding of your users, you will effectively be shooting in the dark. For growing companies whose business goals are raising more capital, investors will be an important audience in your content strategy. Differentiating between primary and secondary audiences will help prioritize your website’s content curation, presentation, and execution. Understanding the nuances of your audience — their goals and their behaviors — will allow you to tailor the content on your website such that you give them the best experience possible.
- Analytics Trend Analysis
- Stakeholder Interviews
- Market Research
Step 2: Define your Content Areas
Having a clear definition of what content you need and how it will be structured will help ensure a sturdy foundation for your website. Thinking through how content will be grouped and how a user will find content are key to being successful in this area. Outputs from Step 1 should inform how you construct your content areas. Do you need a page dedicated to target audience testimonials? Are you planning on being a thought leader in your space? Consider where on your site your content areas will be most effective at delivering your core messaging to your target audience.
- Sitemap Audit
- ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) Analysis
- Competitor Sitemap Analysis
Step 3: Define your Editorial Strategy
Editorial strategy covers many different topics. Defining the voice, point of view, and writing style will help you create a unified website that is easy for your user base to consume. The last thing you want is every page to read like it was written by a different author with no cohesion or consistency.
- Keyword Analysis & Planning
- Competitor Research
Step 4: Define your Editorial Process
As I mentioned earlier, Content Strategy is not a “set it and forget it” type of task. It takes constant attention to keep up with not only your competition, but also evolving web trends and expectations of your user base. An editorial process will provide a guideline for you and your team to continually monitor and improve your websites content strategy.
- Blog Planning
- Content Refresh Schedule
- Ongoing SEO Analysis
Ultimately, the content strategy for every business, industry and organization will be a little bit different. The important part of a content strategy is that you have one, you are actively engaged and thinking about it and that you and your team understand it is a living, breathing thing.
Website migration – whether to a new version of your content management system or to an entirely new platform – is among the most stressful projects for an enterprise, one that will challenge the team on every assumption and analytics they have. Before starting down this path to a website migration, there are two key questions you will want to answer:
- Does automating the process save me time?
- Does automating the process save me money?
Below is our guide to go about answering these questions. Of course, every scenario is different and requires evaluation and analysis before the final decisions are made.
Determining an Approach
When determining the approach for migrating content, there are several factors that come into play when architecting out a solution to find out which one would be best.
How many pages are there? If your website is relatively simple, and there are a small number of pages (<500), it is likely going to be easier/faster/cheaper to copy/paste your content from one website to another. The number of pages will need to be determined by you, but we have found that migrating sites with more than 500 pages start to become more efficient with migrations scripts.
Importance of Site Crawls. Crawling the existing website is a critical step in determining the approach to take for a website migration. This will give you a quick summary of the volume of pages, images, and documents. Tools like Screaming Frog will allow you to export the list to a spreadsheet where you can create a more thorough inventory and conduct a ROT analysis (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) on your content to determine how much of this content actually needs to be moved to the new platform.
Where do the current pages live? Is the content that you are migrating in a database somewhere or does it live in static HTML files on a server? Where the content lives is important because it limits the options available for importing and working with the content. It also determines the structure of the content.
Database Content. Content that is stored in a database is typically more structured and logically separated. This gives more flexibility when writing migration scripts because it is already in a consumable format. It is unlikely that this will be an “easy” 1:1 mapping from point A to point B, but the first step of getting the content into a consumable format is done.
Static HTML. Content that is in a static HTML format is going to be harder to work with. In these cases, you will likely need to use a web scraper tool to break apart your pages and get them into a consumable format for your migration to Drupal. You will be faced with numerous edge cases based on how each page is built. This process may require a lot of trial & error in order to get right.
How well are the static pages structured/formatted? In any website migration, consistency is key to making the process effective. You will want to determine if the pages follow consistent patterns so that you can create a repeatable process. If the pages have no uniform formatting or consistent markup, the task of creating a repeatable process of a migration script will be difficult and more time-consuming.
Does the content have references to media (images & files)? If your content contains references to media, this adds another step in the process. Your migration scripts will need to not only handle the migration of the assets but also alter the markup to replace the links/references to these assets.
What tools are available on the platform I am building the new website on? Most modern CMS platforms provide some level of migration support for getting content from point A to point B. A majority of the work that we do is in WordPress and Drupal, below is a quick list of migration options for each platform.
WordPress Migration Options
- WordPress All Import Tool
- WordPress Import Tool (Blogger, BlogRoll, LiveJournal, RSS, Tumblr, WordPress)
- FG Drupal to WordPress
- HTML Import 2
Drupal Migration Options
Other Useful (Platform Agnostic) Tools to help with content cleanup:
Determining the right solution
Now that you have all of the information you need, you can answer the two questions:
- Does automating the process save me time?
- Does automating the process save me money?
You are now equipped to make an informed decision on the approach you should be taking. You have a good grasp on what your source content looks like, how easy it is going to be to work with and what tools you have to give you a kickstart. Your next step is to crunch some numbers and get some high-level estimates on LoE for writing these migrations.
Trying to understand if website migration is the right approach for your organization? Bluetext can help.
In previous posts, we have provided tips and tricks for a successful Drupal migration from earlier versions of the content management system to the latest Version 8. In this installment of our series, we will talk about the Drupal 8 Migrate Plugin System.
Part 3: Coming soon!
About Drupal 8 Migrate
The migrate module has been moved into the core in Drupal 8, showing the community dedicated to making the process of upgrading between versions or migrating into Drupal an easier path to a successful move. The migrate module takes advantage of the Drupal 8 Plugin system, offering developers several Plugin types that they can implement: MigrateProcessPlugin, MigrateSourcePlugin, MigrateDestinationPlugin.
In an earlier blog post in this series, we dove into an introduction of the Migrate module in Drupal 8 and reviewed a basic setup of the migration mappings needed to get started. In this post, we will dive into MigrateProcessPlugins: what they are, how they work and examples on how to create your own.
What is a Drupal 8 Migrate Processor?
A migration processor is a plugin that is used to manipulate data that is being mapped from a source to a destination. These plugins are typically small, but very powerful. Processors are used in the “process” portion of your migration configuration file.
Drupal 8 comes with several migration processors out-of-the-box. Some of the more notable ones that you will likely use on a regular basis are:
- get – Default, 1:1 data migration plugin
- default_value – Allows you to define a default value for a field
- explode – Converts a string into an array of strings based on a delimiter
- iterator – Iterates over an array of values to perform a process on
- migration_lookup – Looks up an entity based on an ID from a source to a destination
- skip_on_empty – Skips the current field or row if the value is empty in the migration
What Are the Benefits of Using a Drupal 8 Migrate Processor?
Migration process plugins provide developers with more flexibility and reusability when working with migrations in Drupal 8. By utilizing the Drupal 8 Plugin system, the Migrate module allows users to create new processors that implement a generic interface and can essentially be plug and play. In addition, the OO design of the plugin system allows developers to utilize inheritance of abstract classes and enforcement of methods if they have several variations of a plugin, without reinventing the wheel or duplicating code every time.
In English, this means that I can develop my own processors that manipulate data from my data source in any way that I want, and then reuse it across any migration that needs to use it.
How Does a MigrateProcessPlugin Work?
If you are finding that the out-of-the-box MigrateProcessPlugin’s are not enough for your use case, you may want to consider creating a new custom MigrateProcessPlugin. Creating a new process plugin in Drupal 8 is a fairly simple task.
Let’s take a look at a simple MigrateProcessPlugin as an example to get us started.
In the DefaultValue MigrateProcessPlugin, we only have one method that is implemented, called “transform”. Transform takes in a value that is passed in by the user, checks to see if it is set, and sets that value for the field in the destination mapping.
How Do I Use a Process Plugin in My Migration?
Using a process plugin in your migration is relatively simple. If you have written a migration before, you have used these without even knowing it. Let’s take a look at the example below:
In this example, you will notice several plugins are utilized:
- get: The “get” plugin is the default plugin. Any mapping that does not have a child element defining a plugin will utilize the “get” plugin
- default_value: In this example, we are setting the user ID of a blog_post to user 1
When am I Going to Need a Custom Processor Plugin?
Before you venture down the path of creating custom processors, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can any of the existing process plugins, or a combination of any of the existing process plugins, manipulate the data to the format I need?
- Is the data transformation something that follows a pattern?
- Is this processing/data manipulation something that will need to be used for more than one migration?
- Is this a transformation that other users/migrations may benefit from?
If the answer to any of the questions above is “YES”, it is worth your time to create a custom processor plugin.
Stay tuned for our next blog post in our migration series on custom processors. In this post, we will dive into what it takes to create a custom processor for a WordPress to Drupal migration.
Would you like help to create a more detailed plan for migrating your website to Drupal 8?
Are you still on Drupal 6?
Whether you operate a blog, a small business page, or a large corporate website, if you are still operating on Drupal 6 it is past time for you to consider upgrading your operations. Drupal 6 officially reached End-of-Life on February 24th, 2016. Since then, the Drupal community has largely abandoned support for this version of Drupal.
Why does this impact me?
Anyone running their business on a Drupal 6 version should be concerned because the Drupal community has moved on. As an open source platform, the vitality of Drupal depends on contributors adding new components, modules, features and more. When the community moves on to new versions of Drupal, the older versions are no longer receiving the care and attention required to maintain modern content platforms.
By not adopting Drupal 8, you no longer have the community actively working on modules, bugfixes, improvements, and most importantly, security updates and improvements. The Security team is no longer providing Advisory updates for Drupal 6, and the majority of modules are no longer supported by the maintainers. The bottom line? If you are still operating on an old version of Drupal, you are exposing your site to unnecessary security risk.
Uh oh…so how do I make the switch to Drupal 8?
It’s easy! Upgrading your Drupal site using a migration approach. The first step is to decide how you want to handle your upgrade. Use these questions to help you get started:
- Am I happy with how my website functions and how it looks?
- Does my website/brand need a refresh or update?
- Do I want to refresh my content as part of this upgrade?
- What are the key functions that my website needs to perform?
Based on your answers to the questions above, you will likely fall into one of two categories: Lift & Shift or Website Rebuild.
Lift & Shift: As is migrations
Drupal 8 has made significant strides to make the upgrade process from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 as smooth as possible. Mike Ryan and others have made a huge impact in this space, rewriting the migrate module from the ground up and including it in the Drupal 8 core. The fact that this was added as a Drupal core initiative speaks volumes of the importance that has been placed on this by the community.
If your site is mainly brochureware, the upgrade process from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 should be quick and relatively painless. The new migrate module not only migrates content, but it will also migrate data structures through a configuration migration tool. Wait, what? I can migrate my content types and taxonomy terms so that I don’t need to rebuild them!? The answer is YES! (…with some caveats of course).
Website Refresh: Rebuild Content, UI and UX
So, I don’t have a basic brochureware site but I really need to refresh my brand. Can I still use these tools to take some of the load off of my shoulders? The answer is yes, but in a more limited fashion.
Depending on the size of your website, utilizing the D6 to D8 migration tools may still save you time and money. This will ultimately depend on how significant the changes to your information architecture and content will be.
If you have a large number of pages (let’s say >1000) and some percentage of these pages will remain relatively in-tact from an information architecture perspective (Blogs, Resources, Press), then you will likely still benefit from investing time in migration scripts.
If you are planning to refresh/rewrite all of your content AND provide a new UI/UX on your website, the effort to create a migration script may be higher than handling the process manually.
So, how do I get started?
If you are planning to move forward with an upgrade, it will be useful to check out the following links before you start:
- Upgrading from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8
- Upgrade using Drush
- Known Issues when migrating from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8
While the idea of being able to be generic enough to meet a wide variety of peoples needs, it is unlikely that your migration to Drupal 8 will be handled out-of-the-box. In the likely case that you will need to customize, here are some more useful links:
- Migrate Process Overview (Processor Plugins)
- Webinar – Migrating to Drupal 8
- Carlyle Example Migrate Project
Would you like help creating a more detailed plan for migrating your website to Drupal 8? Contact Us – We would be happy to help!