Shades of Long Island
Discover how we transformed a poorly designed blog into a leading Long Island regional powerhouse for representation.
Miya Jones is the Editor-in-Chief of Shades of Long Island (SOLI). She started the online media outlet in 2019 as a way to share news and meaningful stories of minorities, millennials, and Gen Z’ers. She built the site herself, relying on popular drag-and-drop website builders that seemed to help her launch the site quickly. However, without prior knowledge or experience in website design, the first iteration of ShadesofLongIsland.com fell short of expectations. Recurring issues like poor mobile performance caused her website visitors to quickly abandon the site after a few seconds, thus contributing to an excessively high bounce rate. If the Shades of Long Island website were to be successful, it would need to be rebuilt from the ground up professionally. Miya’s vision of an authoritative media site that met her requirements would encourage her readers to stay and explore the full breadth of her offering. To execute her objectives, Miya consulted with the website team at Blue Surge Marketing Agency, and we launched a 6-month campaign to make her dream to reality.
Our strategy for redesigning the Shades of Long Island website was to create a best-in-class web experience of local Long Islanders who would be consuming the published content. As a top advertising and marketing agency with a firm grasp in website technology, we started by deconstructing the structure of the original site. We first audited the main menu navigation of the site and found issues that were causing the reduced bounce rate. To solve this, we used a visual site mapping tool to layout how the proper menu navigation should look. If visitors were looking for content in a specific category, it should take no more than two clicks to get there.
Next, we worked on gathering all the content the new Shades of Long Island site would need to prosper. We chose WordPress, a popular content management system with robust scalability features. After migrating her old website to the new CMS, we began redesigning the layout. To do this, we combined her vision of cultural authenticity with a professional backdrop. Next, we strategized what elements her current site was missing compared to industry players and built off the inspiration. The original site had many animated and graphic components that caused distractions from the actual main feature of the site itself, the articles. Our web design team created a new layout that followed industry guidelines but remained flexible to add new features.
Since Google switched to mobile-first indexing, mobile design took precedence in every move we made so that we could consider how readers who would use the site on their smartphones and tablets first would interact with it. To this effect, ensured the typography was legible on smaller devices and considering how users would interact with parallax and video elements on phones versus their laptops. Another little but intentional feature was making the mobile header a sticky element so that no matter how much a user would scroll to the bottom of the page or article they were reading, they would be quickly able to jump to another category.
Once we built the main structure out, we began moving over all her old content to the new content. During this process, we followed the best SEO practices to ensure her web visitors would not encounter broken links and 404 errors. We also monitored the average position in search engine results to determine if anything went awry during the transition.
At Blue Surge, we believe form is just as important as function. To that effect, we wanted to prevent users from consuming content without at least being prompted to share their information to that the SOLI brand could market to them over time. We added an attractive modal that appeared within the first five seconds of visiting any page. This modal would prompt users to add their name and email, which was fed into an email marketing database. This platform would then send a welcome series with a dynamically generated name element, introducing visitors to the Shades of Long Island brand.
Once the site was near complete, we worked on a 2-month brand awareness plan to launch the new site. While this was happening, we slowly reduced the number of scheduled articles on the old site. Conversely, we began scheduling the publishing of blog articles released onto the new site. Understanding the power of the community and networking Miya’s brand had already cultivated the past year, we strategized a way to capitalize on the moment by unveiling an official website launch party that doubled as a networking mixer. Professionals and creatives from different industries in both Nassau and Suffolk County were invited using the newly integrated email marketing platform our team added to her site. With no paid promotion and leveraging organic social media tactics, we were able to secure over 217 event registrations before closing the ticket availability due to venue capacity restrictions. On the actual day of the event, we exceeded expectations due to an overwhelming attendance rate, despite facing competition from multiple, more significant events that were happening concurrently that evening. The Shades of Long Island website launch received critical acclaim thanks to the effort by our team at Blue Surge Marketing Agency.
Statistics based on Google Analytics results from first 4-week launch period versus previous period.
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