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Why we redesigned the GoSquared Blog

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It's hard to stand out online - here's what we changed when we redesigned our Blog.

Welcome to the shiny new GoSquared Blog!

Over the last couple of months, we’ve been working with creative agency Manifesto Studios to give our Blog an overhaul.

Content marketing has become a fundamental part of every comprehensive marketing strategy, which means there is a vast amount of content on the internet competing for the attention of readers.
It’s hard to stand out in this space, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t contribute to this ever-growing library of online content.

It’s hard to stand out in this space, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t contribute to this ever-growing library of online content.

The most important thing is working out how you can uniquely contribute to this library and carve out your own space amongst all the noise.
Redesigning the Blog was more than just an exercise in aesthetics, it helped us to dive into the core reasons of why we create content and how we want GoSquared to serve our customers and visitors.

In this post, we are going to share the lessons we learned about content marketing and finding your space in the crowded blogosphere.

Why do we have a blog?

Good projects always start with healthy strategic thinking. As we began to think about redesigning the Blog, we took it right back to the roots and challenged ourselves to answer the question: why do we have a blog?
It’s good practice to question yourself every once in a while. Practices and routines that we take for granted might be outdated or could be improved. The perfect moment to do this is when you’re embarking on a redesign (or new build) of your blog.

Even if you decide that you’re on the right track and don’t want to edit any parts of your strategy, it’s good to remind yourself, and your team, of your purpose.

We have knowledge that we want to share.

The most central and most important reason for us to create the GoSquared Blog is to share the knowledge that our team has spent years building up.

From design and engineering to customer success, sales, and marketing – we have a lot of expertise and a tonne of experience. We know that this information can be useful to others, and keeping it to ourselves just doesn’t seem right. That’s not a world we want to live in or a culture we want to build.

By sharing knowledge and supporting each other to thrive, we can make better products, grow our businesses, and reach personal and professional milestones. This is why we take the time to share our knowledge on the GoSquared Blog.

We want to help other businesses grow.

The reason GoSquared exists as a company is to help other people start and grow businesses. One of the ways we do that is by creating a suite of products and tools. Still, another essential part of this mission is educating and inspiring likeminded people with new ways to grow their businesses. This, we primarily bring to life through our blog.

You can think of it in a similar way to the “teach a man to fish” proverb.
“Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

When we put that back into the context of our own business, it means that making products isn’t enough. We also have to help our customers understand how to use those products, and share our solutions to the problems that so many businesses face.

We truly believe our products are useful and want to talk about them.

If we didn’t think our products were helpful, we wouldn’t make them. Our team is ambitious and incredibly talented, and no one wants to work on products that aren’t needed or aren’t used. We make the tools in the GoSquared suite because we hear from our customers that they want what we can build, and we hear success stories from customers who use our products.

To get the most out of any tool, you need to know how to use it. The Blog fulfils a lot of this function for us.

We gain so much from reading the content that other people put out.

We are part of a massive network of intelligent contributors, copywriters, and content marketers. Each week we read countless articles, case studies, how-to guides, and posts from all around the world (some of which we curate into our Weekly Newsletter). We gain so much from reading about other people’s ideas and experiences, and part of the enjoyment of having our Blog is getting to contribute back into this pool of collective knowledge.

Often, we change our own strategy and behaviour based on the articles we read. This, to us, proves how valuable good content can be to a business, and we hope to have a similar positive influence on others.

Why have we redesigned our blog?

Once we all were sure we were aligned on the core reasons for creating the GoSquared Blog, we thought about why we want to redesign the Blog itself. Here’s what we came up with.

To make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.

Each piece of content on our blog has been written as part of a more extensive collection that, when linked together, can help guide businesses through the entire customer journey. This is one of the foundational elements of our content strategy. We work hard to create content that can be a resource for each step of your business.

In our old blog design, it was difficult to navigate between posts or to understand how content linked together. We wanted to make a smarter design that smoothly guided readers towards related content and pieces they might find interesting.

To bring the design more in line with our product and brand.

The last blog design happened in 2013. Since then, so much has changed in the way we present the GoSquared brand and tools.
Simple, clean, and beautiful design is a principle that we hold close at GoSquared. After its years of service, the old Blog no longer felt like it was living up to the standards of design we set for ourselves.

To give our content the best home.

We spend a lot of time and effort researching, planning, writing, designing, and uploading every single post that goes up on this blog. Over time it started to feel like we could do the content better justice by hosting it in a new space.
Although we firmly believe that the real value of a blog post lies in the quality of the information it contains, good design helps to bring that to life and engage readers in a new way. Paired together, we have a perfect recipe.

What lessons can you apply to your content marketing strategy?

Learning from the journeys other people have been on is the best way to get a head start.

It’s one of the few “shortcuts” available to us in business and in life. Sharing knowledge is one of the core reasons for any company to engage with creating content. If you’re just starting to create content, you’re about to become part of a fantastic pool of resources and guidance. Use this to your advantage, absorb all the information you can, and then contribute your knowledge back in.

Get into the ‘why’ of your whole business before you start doing anything.

Our most significant learning is one that we’ve already covered in this post: get to the ‘why.’

If you don’t know why you are putting energy and resources into creating content, it will show in your writing and in your results. Go right back to the source and understand your company’s reason for existing. Then, use this to understand how you can provide resources and knowledge to your customer base, while also being able to promote your product.

Strong content begins with effective planning. And robust plans start with a foundation of research.

Understand what you want to gain from a blog redesign.

We outlined out a clear set of aims and metrics before we even began discussing what the new Blog might look like and how it might function. Knowing what we wanted to gain from redesigning the Blog helped us to justify why we were making decisions and choosing to focus on one aspect rather than another.

In case it’s helpful to you, the metrics we are using to measure the success of our new Blog are:

  • Increased time on site
  • Increased number of pages viewed per person
  • Improved traffic flow from our Blog to our marketing site

Prioritise accessibility.

One of the significant changes we made on the Blog was adding an audio version of the posts. You’ll have noticed when you started to read this that there was an option right at the top to listen to it instead. Maybe you’re listening to this right now.

Rightfully so, Google and other search engines prioritise ranking websites with good accessibility so that as many people as possible can enjoy the content they are serving up. You might also want to think about adding an audio recording to your blog or making links easily identifiable, using larger size text and being thoughtful with colour.

Create multiple points of browsing.

We know from our blog analytics that the majority of people land directly onto a blog post, as opposed to landing on the home page. This had a significant impact on the way we wanted to design our Blog. Readers need to be able to browse the Blog from multiple access points, not just from the home page.

Browsing by author.

In this new design, we made the author pages much more interactive and content-filled. Our team all have different interests, strengths, and voices that they write in. We are introducing a new access point to content through the author pages. If a reader finds a particular affinity with one writer’s style or the topics they cover, then they can choose to see posts just from that author.

Browsing by Categories.

In the WordPress system that we use to run our Blog, Categories are the highest level of content organisation. On the GoSquared Blog we use these in a few ways:

  • On the homepage to filter out content
  • To recommend similar posts to users browsing within a category
  • To highlight a section or topic that we want to draw attention to
  • To help customers explore topics by theme

Categories are an essential feature for readers who browse content, are looking for inspiration, or who aren’t sure what they’re looking for.

Browsing by Tags.

We use Tags to narrow down topics and make the Blog easier to search. Our search function searches the entire text of each post to make sure that people can still find what they’re looking for, even if a post isn’t tagged with a particular keyphrase or word.

A post primarily has one Category but can have multiple tags. Readers can choose to stay broad in their browsing by using the Category filters, or they can be more specific by selecting to see posts within a tag.

Browse by ‘relevant article’ blocks.

We know, from looking at the average reading times on our Blog, that not all of our readers get to the bottom of every post. Adding a way to see relevant posts before you reach the footer helps to encourage longer dwell time, and increase the number of pages a reader views.

Let people find their voice and their interests.

It’s essential to have a content strategy and to identify which topics are relevant to your company and your company’s aims. That said, your team will create more compelling and higher quality content when they are interested in the topic they’re writing about.

We recommend having a small number of editors for your blog, which enables you to keep a consistent tone, without being too prescriptive about the style of writing each author chooses.

Set guidelines and provide samples of writing that you feel are appropriate for the blog, but let writers take on their own style.

Creating a variety of styles is great for showing the range of knowledge and skill within your company, but also helps readers to find posts that resonate with them.

Create multiple points of action.

One of the core functions of content marketing is as a top-of-the-funnel marketing exercise. To get the most from your content, you need to include a selection of Call to Action opportunities for the reader. We’ve written extensively about how to design Call to Action buttons before, but below are some that are specifically relevant on your blog.

Newsletter Sign Up

We have been running GoSquared Weekly for over 200 weeks, and it remains an integral component of our content marketing strategy.

As well as curating our favourite articles from other blogs and publications, we use the newsletter to highlight our newest and favourite posts. This helps us to build relationships with our readers, some of whom become customers.

Sign up for a demo

In certain situations on your blog, you might have the opportunity to offer product demos. There are many different ways you can incorporate this into your post:

  • Use blocks in the text to drive readers to book a demo
  • Use a custom prompt to display an opportunity to chat or schedule a demo call
  • Link to a tool like Calendly to make it really easy for readers to grab a bit of time with your team

Talk about yourself; just don’t push a hard sell.

Getting the right balance between promoting your product and not making your entire blog feel like a sales pitch is tough.

At the end of the day, all businesses have products to sell. Hiding from this doesn’t make sense.

Your readers and your customers are smarter than that. They’ve likely heard of content marketing if they don’t practice it themselves, and they understand that it’s a powerful form of marketing that is infinitely better than traditional marketing because it offers an exchange of value.

We don’t believe that our readers are going to get annoyed if we mention our products because we aren’t pushing them in a way that devalues the content. If you write with the rule “content first, product second,” then it’s hard to come across as too pushy.

We’d love to hear what you think about our new Blog. Chat to us or find us on twitter!

Written by
Beth is our Head of Growth. She likes to write about customer behaviour, creative strategy, and, well, growth.

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