How we redesigned our website

How we redesigned our website - Talisman - Wireframes and sketches for a new website

Hayley Dawson

Senior Account Manager

Posted on December 5, 2014

It’s wrong to see websites as a destination. They are a constant journey. You never arrive but you keep getting closer. The best websites are the ones that evolve to reflect the company’s priorities, the needs of users and best practices from design, technology and marketing.

This is true for Talisman too. As a financial marketing agency we are evolving and our website needs to reflect the changes.

Of course, from the inside it doesn’t look so simple. This is the story of our site redesign.

The need for change

To start with, there was a bit of a misconception about the brand. Talisman has changed from being primarily focused on print services to become a full service marketing agency, specialising in the financial sector, working across different areas, anything from private banking, structured products, fund managers to investment banking institutions, and the list goes on. We also moved location and the company branding changed.

Some of this was reflected in an interim website but we wanted a wholly new site to reflect the full reality of today’s Talisman.

In addition, we wanted to achieve some other goals:

  • Showcase our ability to build sites using the latest website technology.
  • Build a ‘responsive’ site, meaning that it works as well on phones and tablets as it does on desktop browsers.
  • Improve our search engine position to help people find the site when they were searching for things we know about.
  • Fully integrate blogging and social media as part of our content marketing strategy.
  • Make our website the first step in a customer’s relationship with us.

Website design, technology and marketing

As project manager, I put together a team of designers, coders and copywriters to build the new site. Starting in October, we built some initial mock-ups and concepts and by December we had refined them into detailed design templates that a programmer could turn into a working site.

Simultaneously, we reviewed the technology that could help us meet our marketing goals and give visitors a really good experience.

We chose WordPress as the content management system for the site. It’s open source, well-supported and very widely used. For example, The New Yorker, BBC America, The Official Star Wars Blog, Xerox, Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, Harvard Business Review and more use it.

We built a custom theme for the site but added some great off-the-shelf plugins to give it extra functionality. They included:

  • Jetpack to add social media buttons and other useful stuff
  • WordPress SEO to take care of the technical side of search engine optimisation
  • Edit Flow to help manage the creation and editing of great blog content

However, to achieve our marketing goals for the site, we needed some extra help. We wanted lead-generation capture landing pages that connected directly with a customer database and trigger lead nurturing workflows using personalised emails. For this we integrated HubSpot. (It does more than support the website. For example, we use it for social media posting and monitoring and analytics but that’s another story – watch this space!)


Website before and after

Lessons learned

Looking back, we learned a few lessons along the way:

  • Think about the main points you want to get across. Our first design ideas were visually appealing but didn’t communicate the right messages. While working on the design we evolved our core concept of ‘simplicity’ and we wanted the design and messages to reflect that.
  • Work with copy and design simultaneously. ‘Lorem ipsum’ placeholder text sometimes means that writers fit copy to the design and that can mean copy where it’s not needed or copy that is either too long or too short.
  • It’s important to talk to the right audience in the right language. It’s better to focus on your ideal customers using personas and talk to them about their needs and problems than try to talk to everyone about everything.
  • Ideally, doing everything in parallel – branding, website design, inbound marketing, and copywriting – made the project more complicated. It works and sometimes this kind of intensive approach is best but it definitely makes a project manager’s life more complicated.

Beginning the journey

Of course, this is the just the start of our website evolution. We’ll be adding more content, blog posts and working to polish up the site over the coming months.