Several people this week have asked me, “Why did you all redesign your website? The old one was perfect.”
Well, most everyone who asks this question doesn’t really go past the homepage and for the most part, doesn’t grasp how powerful of a marketing tool a website can be. For us, it’s our bread and butter. Just about every customer we do business with finds us through our website—many sign up for email hosting before even engaging us. Talk about powerful! In fact, I believe that design in general is one of our strengths and a definite point of positive differentiation for our company (take a look at our webmail interface and our new website—and compare it to our competitors, if you have any doubts).
There are several things we set out to accomplish with our new website. I personally believe that we hit a homerun on every one. Of course, since this is design related, there will be a few people that would prefer the green to be blue, or the blue to be black, or something else crammed on the homepage—but that will always be the case in design. That’s why we work with a top-notch web designer and don’t involve too many people on design-related projects (the design-aspect of the project that is).
If you’re interested in what we set out to accomplish, please read on:
1. We wanted to go with a professional look, but more importantly, a look that isn’t so stiff and “corporate” like many of the professional designs you see today.
2. One of the big messaging challenges we face as a company—especially with the name Webmail.us—is that tons of people don’t realize that they can use desktop email software and wireless email devices to access email on our platform. Many assume they are restricted to webmail. Hence, the main message on the homepage is geared towards our customer’s ability to work with us but still use their favorite email client if they want to. We only have a few seconds to get people to understand this—hopefully it’s more apparent this time around.
3. We want to showcase Webmail Lite, our free email service that allows users to check third party email accounts and RSS feeds using our webmail interface. This service has been gaining popularity and we want is to get more airtime throughout the website.
4. We want to show results of some of the security intangibles we provide customers, like spam filtering. Now, on the homepage, you can see that more than 80% of emails entering our system are spam. How crazy is that?
5. We want to showcase the free and open source email tools we provide to the general population.
6. We decided to stop writing all of our content in third person. Blogging has proven to me how powerful first person can be—we want to sound real and I think we do a much better job this time around.
7. We want to provide email users, email administrators, and Webmail Lite users with the ability to all login to webmail, the control panel and Webmail Lite from the homepage. Our new login has thrown a couple of people for a loop but I’m confident that overall, it’s ingenious.
8. We want to better integrate our company blog with our website. We’re going to ditch the Typepad-powered blog and stick it right here instead.
9. We want to take one section of the site and explain why our customers do business with us and why we think we’re different. I wrote a letter within this section and it came straight from the heart—not the PR department (we don’t have one of those by the way, but we are looking. Regardless, they won’t be writing anything that comes from me).
10. We want to build out the technology section of our site. We’ve got lots to talk about and as we take on larger customers and partners, it’s becoming more important for them to understand the technology and infrastructure powering our stuff. As I write this, the technology section is still lacking but as soon as Bill has some time to get his brain on paper, we’ll have some impressive stuff for CTOs, CIOs and other technical folks to read all about.
11. We want to make it ultra-simple for people to contact us. As you can see, throughout the site, the “Contact Us” section pretty much follows you. How many companies say they’re dedicated to customer support yet you can’t find out how to contact them? Lots!
12. We reengineered our entire customer support section. We’ve now got tons of help manuals for wireless devices, email software clients and lots of other stuff that is super helpful. And if that doesn’t help, it’s really easy to contact us!
I could probably go on for pages, but I won’t. Overall, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m really happy with the results of our new website—and luckily, we’re in a business where we can see the results immediately—and we certainly have.
PS... This site will constantly evolve. Over time we’ll be adding all sorts of stuff like a wiki so that customers can request product enhancements and view what other customers have requested, a standalone login for current customers who don’t want to view our homepage every time they want their email, an RSS feed for system status updates, and whatever else we need to do to please current and future customers alike.