The new and improved Bean Ninjas website was a project that spanned two years.
That’s not uncommon for a website redesign, by the way, especially one like ours, which also involved a rebrand and positioning changes. In our case, shifting from being a generalist bookkeeping productized service for online businesses to a niche accounting solution for 7 and 8-figure eCom businesses.
In this post, we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes perspective of the entire website redesign process (including plenty of screenshots!)
When should you redesign your website?
Updating your website is a big project. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here are some signs that it might be time for a website refresh:
- You are entering a new market or the existing market has changed.
- You have changed your positioning (think niching down, going up-market, etc)
- Your customers are actively complaining about your website
- You don’t have a website at all.
If none of the above applies, then it is probably in your best interest to keep your existing website. In fact, updating your site can actually be a gigantic distraction from more pressing sales and marketing projects.
Why did we change our positioning
We updated the Bean Ninjas site as part of a larger brand repositioning initiative.
In our case, it was about niching down and going from a bookkeeping productized service for all online businesses to your go-to eCommerce accounting firm for 7-8 figure businesses.
From vCFO and financial advisory services to accounting and bookkeeping, we empower eCommerce entrepreneurs to gain confidence in their numbers and make data-driven decisions.
The Bean Ninjas website didn’t reflect this focus.
What our website looked like before
This was a screenshot taken in the fall of 2020.
And, this is the new homepage as of January 2022.
As you can see, the Bean Ninjas website was very focused on bookkeeping and Xero.
It doesn’t reflect our new positioning of eCommerce. In fact, eCommerce is only mentioned once on the homepage.
Not to mention, the website didn’t stand out. It looked like any other bookkeeping or accounting firm’s website.
When your website blends in, it is hard to stand out and you risk your services becoming commoditized.
The unique approach we took with this redesign
When we have made changes to the website in the past, we did it all at once. This time, we launched in smaller sections.
This was in part due to the sheer size and complexity of the project. This wasn’t just a new website. This was also a branding, positioning, and messaging exercise.
Note: For the purpose of this post, we’ll skip most of the messaging and positioning pieces.
This started by mapping out every single page on the website (and doing a pretty big clean-up!). That was hundreds of pages btw!
At the same time, we also focused on revamping the site UX.
One of the goals for the site was to make it abundantly clear that Bean Ninjas is your go-to eCommerce accounting firm.
We used Miro to initially think through the site content and UX.
Here is a screenshot from some very early mockups of our new navigation menu.
The first part of the website we tackled was the resource section, which houses our blog, customer success stories, podcast, long-form content guides, and free training (i.e. courses).
Just like with the site UX, we started with a ton of lo-fi mock-ups for what we wanted each page to look like. This was a project that was super collaborative between me, our copywriter, and designer.
Doing the lo-fi mock-ups sped up the copy, design, and revision process. It is another example of sometimes you need to start slow to go fast.
About, Team, and Career Pages
The next section we tackled was the about/team, careers, and media pages.
This was all about unlocking and sharing more of our company’s story and our team’s background and personality. (i.e. Meet the ninjas!)
These pages serve two key purposes:
- To educate prospects
- To help us recruit more awesome people to work at Bean Ninjas.
Additionally, this also served as another place to share social proof by displaying a lot of our media and podcast appearances.
The 4 platform pages were a brand new addition to the site. This came about from listening and really getting to understand the language and pain points of our ideal clients. They talked a ton about the specific accounting nuances on the eCommerce platforms they used.
So, we created pages for the four that came up the most:
- Amazon FBA
- Omni-Channel (not a platform technically, but it encompasses a specific type of eCom business)
Key Takeaway: Make sure you are speaking the same language as your prospects. You could be world-class experts in one topic, but if you are sharing that expertise in a way that doesn’t resonate with your target clients, then it will still fall flat.
On our old site, the only pages that talked about what we do and who we served were service pages, like our:
- Xero HealthCheck
These pages got the job done kinda, but again they didn’t reflect our eCommerce expertise.
Not to mention, we didn’t have any pages for accounting, tax, or VCFO.
In total, we created four brand new service pages:
Since we have Bean Ninjas offices in Australia, the US and the UK, we also created three country-specific pages that detail our deep eCommerce expertise alongside how we work in each region, including:
In fact, each of these pages also had a short video from the country leader. In an industry like accounting, trust is everything. Video can increase credibility and likability faster and easier than copy. This also allowed each country leader to showcase their personality and while speaking to the nuances of accounting in their specific region.
Finally, the homepage was all about tying the website together.
One of the challenges with our homepage is that we had to account for many different visitors and visitor paths, from prospects who already know about Bean Ninjas and are ready to start working with us to people who stumble upon Bean Ninjas for the first time from our content.
Whether you are creating your first website or doing your 5th website redesign, I’d thought I wrap with some key takeaways.
1. Do customer research
One of the biggest mistakes that brands make is not talking to customers/clients or not talking to enough of them.
Do customer interviews, record your sales calls, and have regular chats with clients. The more calls you do, the more you’ll see trends and patterns emerging. These are all data points you can use to make sure your new website will resonate with your target clients/customers.
2. Have a consistent POV and message
This brings up a second point. If you want to stand out and attract your ideal customers, you need to have a consistent and clear message and point of view.
3. Invest in design
Your messaging and POV aren’t just your copy. It is also how your site and copy are laid out.
4. It is going to take longer than you think it will take
Website redesigns take awhile to complete. There are a lot of moving pieces from copywriting and design to QA and making sure all key stakeholders are on board.
Redesigning your website is not always about making your website look pretty. Always remember to design your website with the target audience you have in mind. There could be a lot of good consequences when revamping your website when it is properly planned and executed well.
Website redesigning technically requires good effort, takes time and budget, but bear in mind that your website is a crucial tool that can help aid your business success. Having a website aligned to your brand strategy helps you generate more traffic, get more leads and improve user experience.