Website rebuilds and design are all about the latest buzz. “How can we catch up with the industry to have the hottest thing?” “This is what others in the industry are doing.”

The perception is it’s all about what your competitors are doing and what you need to do to stay current, however, this is not going to get you an effective website. It’s going to get you a website that needs to be updated just to stay relevant.

A client of mine came to me requesting a moving video banner. When we discussed why they wanted a moving video and if they had the video created already, they referenced a few websites that they liked that all had the same look and feel with the same moving video and in the same sector of business. We began to discuss the purpose of their website, and to my surprise, they hadn’t come up with a clear strategy for what they were trying to accomplish.

Were they trying to provide information, drive membership, drive e-commerce, or build email subscribers? It was unclear. So I flipped the approach.

The client’s actual goal, was to provide information and highlight their first-to-market knowledge and analysis in their field. I ran some analytics analysis which showed that the people who knew how to get to their briefs, were staying on the page for a whopping 2-5 minutes. We could tell based on location that these were people in the industry who were consuming the information. Looking at how users were navigating through the site showed that they were clicking several places around the site before finding the pages that were being consumed. So again, we decided to flip the approach.

We wanted to highlight and showcase the first-to-market information they were creating. So instead of a moving video, we created a news banner with the latest articles. This yielded and increased number of session > 2minutes within the first 2 weeks of the change. Furthermore, the bounce rate, for people who land on the page and move on, also dropped. The company has had many customers note their briefs and they continue to see high interaction with their news briefs today. All accomplishing the same goals, without following any of the trends in their industry.