Want to jump straight to the new website? Here you go – http://www.biztalk360.com
One of the things that get overlooked often times in a business is the company website. It always takes a back seat. You burn your entire team energy up until the last minute focused on releasing the product and pay very little attention to the website at the end.
In the 5 years of existence, our website has been refreshed only 3 times. Most of us keep the company website like a dump yard — you keep patching them throughout the year. We throw all kind of stuff into the website (new event, new white paper, new landing page etc, etc) and completely forget about the end user (potential customer) who is going to land on the website trying to figure out about your core product. Generally, the website clearly doesn’t get the same love what the actual product gets.
Triggering point for thinking about new website
Probably we would have continued the same way this time as well after the new version (8.0) was released. We could have added a couple of new pages showing the features set of “What’s new in version 8.0”, a hero image on the home page saying “Version 8.0 released..”, and that’s it. But, I felt there is something fundamentally wrong. Every time, we spend literally 1000’s of hours on adding the features to the product and probably about 1 or 2 weeks in the last minute to update the website. Clearly it’s not going to convey what the product is capable of, and what kind of features you have added in the new release.
If you think about it, your website is the face of your business. No one sees your product in the first instant. They only see the website, some information what’s in there, videos, few explanations here and there; and finally, if they are convinced, they will see the product. If your website doesn’t convey the quality of your product clearly, there is a very little chance the user will spend any further time to evaluate the product.
Last year, we set up brand new offices for both India and UK. We were so excited about both the projects. We spent a lot of time researching into each and every material we had to purchase like desks, partitions, tiles, sound proofing materials, cupboards, fridge, chairs, pedestals, kitchen setup etc. etc., paying attention to detail on each and every item. At the end, when we opened our new office, we were super excited. There is nothing wrong in this, in fact, this is how it should be, celebrate moments like this.
However, if I think about it, for some reason we don’t pay the same level of attention or excitement when it comes to the website when comparing it to the physical (tangible) items like offices, cars, furniture etc. This is the first triggering point when we decided that we wanted to revamp our website and pay attention to detail, showcase the real power of BizTalk360 to the outside world in an elegant way. If we can spend so much time, effort and money on something internal, why not show the same love and affection for something that connects us to the external world, and for something that fuels our growth.
That’s the moment we decided, the website is going to get the love and attention it deserves. You can see the end result here – http://www.biztalk360.com
Every single website looks alike!!
When you have decided you are going to build a new website, your first reaction is not going to sit with a clean paper and pencil. Instead, you are going to take a look at all the websites out there, all the bookmarked ones you collected over the years and try to get some inspiration.
Like anyone else, I started looking at few of them. These days, pretty much all the websites looks more or less identical. One big hero image on the home page generally something completely unrelated to what you sell, some nice scenic picture, kids, sometimes some good looking models, one big value proposition message, a standard set of menu items, footer, etc. There are various reasons why pretty much all the website these days looks like carbon copies of one another – the evolution of responsive websites, native video with HTML5, and lots more such things are the things that helped this visual trend become mainstream.
The more I browsed through, I got more frustrated seeing pretty much the same pattern again and again. We really don’t want to build something that’s going to look like one another website in the wild. We wanted something unique, and that’s the vision we set up for the new website.
We set the bar high for the new website
The moment we decided we are going to have a brand new website, we decided it should be of a very high standard. It should reflect the quality of our product (BizTalk360) right on the money. Here are basic ground rules we set up:
- Attention to detail on each page
- Don’t mimic any website(s), do something unique!
- Do not use stock images anywhere
- Custom hand drawn cartoon illustrations everywhere
- Use real product images, real team member images wherever possible
- Every statement we define on the website should mean something
- Every page/link in the site should be for a purpose
- Mobile friendly, should work on any device/any size
- Convey the information to the user in the least possible time
- Convey the company culture to the outside world as clear as possible
- Refresh the logo, without changing the original identity
Even though there is only so much you can do on a website, we wanted to make sure the website looks unique in all aspects, it should feel trustworthy without any jargons or false promises.
I believe after months of hard work, the new website reflects what we wanted to convey. Please take a look http://www.biztalk360.com and feel free to leave your honest opinion in the comments below.
Phase 2 coming soon
By the way, we only managed to release phase 1 of our website. We wanted to ship and get things done instead of just hanging on forever. Hence, we went live with phase 1 implementation. The phase 2 will go live in a week or so covering our community activities like whitepapers, eBooks, videos, and event details.
I really wanted to write more about this experience and share the learning. I hope I’ll find the time and energy to do so.