More than just a redesign, how I strategically repositioned my website

Portrait of Rob Simpson
Rob Simpson

I drive businesses forward with custom design and development solutions

Have you ever gone through a website redesign? What was the desired outcome?

  • More work enquiries?
  • Fewer support calls?
  • Increased newsletter signups?

More often than not, we all get caught up on what it looks like instead.

For most businesses, their website is a means to an end and should look at solving problems that will actually grow their business.

Well, it’s the same for me – my old website just wasn’t achieving what I wanted it to.

Old website Westward Leaning case study

My old website focused on what I do instead of how I help people

The ultimate goal of my website was to bring in new leads – and whilst it did that, they weren’t really the leads that I wanted.

Whilst a redesign isn’t always the only solution, I needed to make sure I had a solid foundation if I wanted to grow it further.

So this time I focused on:

  • What kind of leads I wanted to get
  • What they might be looking for
  • Where they might be

The power of words

Words can be such a powerful tool to help us sell what we’re offering — and yet, on most digital projects it’s usually an afterthought.

I am far from being a copywriter, but I knew that the copy I was using on my old website just wasn’t resonating with the audience that I wanted to hit.

I wanted to present myself as someone who provides value to businesses instead of just another designer/developer.

Throughout it all, there was one tip I had picked up whilst reading creative strategy and the business of design that helped guide me;

Focus on the benefits, not the features.

If you’re wondering what that actually means, an example might be a 7 seater car.

The car having 7 seats is a feature of the product, but the benefits of having 7 seats is that it will comfortably fit your family and all of their belongings – this is really what the buyer will care about.

Re-evaluating my marketing plans

The task of repositioning allowed me to reflect on what I had done to date and ask if it’s working.

I had put a lot of my attention on Instagram and over the past ~2 years, I had received very few work requests – of which, none turned into actual projects.

Rob Simpson Instagram profile page

The content I was sharing on Instagram was attracting my peers (other creatives)

A shift in focus

So I decided to put myself in the shoes of a potential client and ask;

If I had a digital project that needed doing, where would I look?

Three main things came to mind, I would:

  • Ask people I know
  • Search Google
  • Go to LinkedIn

I did some research and found several creatives who had achieved great success through blogging and LinkedIn – which validated what I was already seeing, most of the work enquiries I currently get come through my website.

So I came up with a new prioritised marketing plan and scheduled it into my calendar – Saturday and Sunday mornings (around 5am-8am) are blocked out for writing new content.

My attentions have now shifted to LinkedIn as my go-to social network for finding new leads and writing articles relevant to my target audience.

I still plan on using Instagram, but as a way of building my personal brand and attracting a different audience to grow my side project KitchenPal.

Crafting a thought out design

I wanted to make sure that my new design had a reason to be what it was, and would resonate with the kind of clients I wanted to work with. So to help guide me, I came up with 2 brand attributes:

  • Growth: I wanted to shift the focus to be about helping people grow their business in whatever form that looks like to them

  • Premium: I wanted to attract clients who are looking for high-quality products and not mediocre solutions

Hand holding growing plant signifying growth and sparkling diamond signifying premium – illustration

Growth and premium: 2 brand attributes I wanted my new brand identity to instil

Finding some help

With these brand attributes to hand, I reached out to David Sewell – a branding and digital designer to help with the initial branding.

Putting a visual to your own brand is a difficult thing – so I thought an unbiased individual would do a better job than I.

David helped to validate the ideas that I had and produced a look that fits perfectly with the brand attributes I had come up with.

Getting busy with typography

Choosing the right typography can be a challenge. Choose something that is too bold and the design would feel too heavy. Choose something that is too thin and it would be more difficult to read.

We knew that to get that premium feeling that a serif font would work best. We played around with a lot of different font choices and I eventually decided to go with Domaine Display for headings.

Display fonts are intended to be used on large typography – so to make the smaller body copy easier to read I decided to go with National a sans-serif font that compliments Domaine Display.

Being more efficient with the use of media

I knew if I planned on writing a new blog post each week, then I’d need to resolve the issue of creating/sourcing graphics for my posts – this had become a bottleneck in the past and I needed to resolve it.

I didn’t want to use the same stock photos that everyone else was using and I also didn’t want to spend the same amount of time creating a graphic as it took me to write the post – if I could eliminate this, then I could write twice as many posts, so I opted to use patterns and icons.

Duo colour diagonal slashes combined to create upward facing arrow – pattern

A key device used in social media assets, print material and my website that helps reflect my brand attributes – premium and growth

There were a couple of things I liked about this pattern – the upward trajectory of the shape subconsciously builds on the feeling of growth. And the composition of the pattern also reminded me of diamonds which built on that premium look.

The idea of diamonds led me to a solution for my blog posts. I knew that I was going to have different categories, so I tied each category to an icon of a diamond shape – this meant each post still looked interesting but saved me a ton of time.

6 various diamond shapes including cushion, trillion, oval, diamond, asscher and heart – illustration

Reusable diamond icons used on articles to provide variety whilst building on my brand attribute – premium

Tieing it all together with a new domain name

In order to properly reposition myself, I knew I was going to need a new domain name.

For the past ~7 years, robsimpson.me was my home on the internet. But this in itself was sending out the wrong message – this is all about me. The reality is, people are looking for help to solve their problems.

But I still wanted to operate under my own name. Unfortunately, the obvious choices were taken. So this left me with:

  • robsimpson.digital
  • robsimpson.design
  • robsimpson.codes
  • robsimpson.studio

I needed something that would scale and that was representative of what I do.

Whilst I do both design and development the .design and .codes domain extensions felt too limiting.

.studio also wasn’t representative of me as I am an individual – not a team of people.

Which as you already know, this left me with .digital. This seemed quite fitting as it covers more than just a single skillset like design or development.

The result

Whilst it’s still early days, all of this upfront planning has resulted in a website that works towards my goals and saves me time.

In reality, only time will tell how successful my choices are, but I feel far more confident with a research-backed plan than “wing it” approach.