School Appeals responsive website design and content research

School Appeals website design & content research

The challenge

We first worked with School Appeals in 2005. It’s a consultancy to help parents get through the appeals process if they can’t get their child into their first school choice. Our original site covered services, purchasing and and a member’s forum.

Flash-forward ten years and it’s time for a change for several reasons: styles have changed and building for mobile wasn’t a consideration at the time, so we needed to make the site responsive. The content required an update because School Appeals were changing their service offering. Some aspects like the forum and paid memberships were no longer needed. Finally, the underlying content management system was outdated and we could provide a new system which was easier to maintain.

The solution

In a first for how we work — and an approach we’ll take more in future — we started this project with our content marketing partners, Wildheart Media by analysing the School Appeals’ business goals and target audience and then restructuring the site around these goals. Because the client was working in a competitive market alongside other consultancies, the new site needed to be highly relevant to their audience and what they were searching for. Wildheart Media did keyword research  to find out the types of terms people were using to find content relevant to School Appeals. This research informed how pages were written and structured to attract those types of searches.

We analysed the user journey through the site and presented them with prompts that would help them find relevant information and move more people towards purchasing a service. We gathered new signups for the School Appeals mailing list by offering an informative eBook in exchange for the user’s email.

Under the hood, we replaced the outdated content management system and installed WordPress, which is easier to use, allowing the client to make fast updates to the site. We also installed a new Woo Commerce-based eCommerce platform so that website visitors can purchase services directly on the site.

School Appeals website design and content research laptop view

Creating goals

Wildheart also developed a lead magnet as a way of encouraging email list growth for School Appeals. A lead magnet is a piece of valuable content that you give away in exchange for a website visitor’s email address. Building an email list from website traffic is considered best practice when it comes to growing an audience of leads that convert to customers.

The final piece of the puzzle was setting up goals in Google Analytics delivered in a monthly email. Not only did we set up a primary revenue goal (monthly sales on the website) but we also setup secondary engagement goals so we can analyse how people are interacting with the content of the site.

The secondary goals are:

  • Visitors who stayed longer than 5 minutes/session
  • Visitors who viewed more than 5 pages/session

Shortly after the launch, we saw some great improvements:

  • A massive increase in web sessions (up by 280%), users (up by 266%) and page views (up by 266%) during the 3 months after the launch, compared with the previous 3 months
  • There was also a sharp increase in package sales in the 3 months following the website redesign
  • Their mailing list grew by over 200% proving that offering a lead magnet was a very effective growth tool

Mailing list growth after launch

User increase after launch

Page view increase after launch

Web session increase after launch

The new site is responsive, working across mobile and desktop. The design makes better use of modern screen resolutions and dimensions.

New imagery creates more visual interest across pages. And new typography and colours were introduced to create an updated visitor experience.

We love partnering with highly skilled web design agencies like compoundEye. Working in a highly competitive niche is a great challenge and it’s very rewarding to see such tangible results both in terms of sales and audience growth for School Appeals.”

Guy Andefors from Wildheart Media

The team

For us, thinking about the client’s message, audience and aspirations for a project is always our first consideration. Those factors inform how a site looks. In this case, analysing keywords, structuring content, rewriting and rethinking how a client approaches their audience became part of the design process as well. Working with Wildheart Media on the new School Appeals site allowed us a fascinating insight into the world of content marketing, SEO and gave us a better understanding of user behaviour — which also benefits the client in the end.

Finally, it means a lot to have School Appeals come back after over 10 years to work with us again. We are proud of these enduring client relationships.

schoolappeals.org.uk

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