23 Jun California Document Preparers Launches New Website
Visitors to California Document Preparers’ website will notice a newly designed site that we launched last week.
We rolled out our new site with neither a whimper nor a bang—a soft opening, if you will, because we wanted to make sure that everything was working smoothly. No splashy announcement or Facebook post, not so much as a press release. Just business as usual, which may be as it should be. It’s just a website, after all, and our site has proven to be a workhorse for us. Our web referrals have steadily increased over the last few years, and we expect this new site will continue our upward trajectory.
This is a little accounting of our pursuit of a better website
Our new site is more contemporary, more reflective of our business today, more in tune with our diverse client base. We think you’ll find that information is better and more accessible. We hope you’ll understand the breadth of services we provide, our commitment to a high level of customer service. Responsive design is always a concern these days, and we tried to keep our mobile users in mind throughout this project.
Anyone who’s had a website knows how this one goes . . .
A website is always a major undertaking; it’s expensive and time-consuming—and we already had our day jobs. We’d tried to retrofit our old site, but after a few lame attempts, we realized it was tired and dated, and our modest attempt at a facelift failed. Besides, it was built in Drupal; it was clumsy, with more complexity than we needed. A website has a shelf life, and ours had expired.
Ian stepped up to manage the website project
Ian Duncan, one of the owners of the Oakland office, became the de facto website project manager. He’s a smart, resourceful guy who understands technology and the process. He talked to a few vendors and selected AirTight Internet Services, in Walnut Creek. Our contact person was Jesse Dudan, and he and his team were truly our partners throughout the project. They were thoughtful, accessible and responsive. They really helped us think creatively about the best way to present information. They kept us accountable and on track.
We became extraordinarily “image conscious”
Today’s websites are colorful and visual, and Ian and I literally spent hours in pursuit of the perfect images for each page. We wanted pictures that were representative of the clients who walked through our doors. The problem? Stock photo images tend to be of beautiful white people with dazzling smiles. It’s infinitely more difficult to find images that fit our client profiles, which are all over the demographic map–gay couples, seniors, interracial couples, extended families of mixed ethnicity. Finding these became our particular challenge, and Ian and I spent many evenings comparing notes during our ongoing quest.
Rethinking content approach
We rethought our approach and retired most of our old content. We decided it was our job to explain how we worked with our clients and to identify those practice areas we cover—we didn’t need to provide detailed legal information. We raised the elevation of our case studies and added images to make them livelier. We’ll continue these real-life stories about how we work with our clients.
Simplified navigation, making online products more accessible
Jesse and his team were invaluable when it came to helping us streamline our navigation. In our old environment, we tried to show too much information—we wanted to open up some cross-sell opportunities, showing relationships between our services, but this methodology probably backfired, making it more confusing for our users. Jesse and his team helped us think through our approach—especially for the online products that are available via our storefront: Deeds, Living Trusts and Business Packages. For all three of these products, we simplified the navigation, making it easier to purchase and download our workbooks.
So that’s our story . . .
Towards the end of the project, Ian confided to me that this is his fourth-generation website, and this experience “actually ended up being fun”. And it was fun. I think we became aware early on that we weren’t just building a new website, we realized we were creating something that was going to be exceptional. We’re delighted with our new site. It looks great, has the right amount of information, is easy to navigate, and is now in WordPress—we love its ease of use. A big shoutout to Jesse and the AirTight team for all of their help along the way.
By Janet Peischel, Top of Mind Marketing. I’ve been working with California Document Preparers for the last several years, writing their blogs and producing their monthly newsletters and weekly social media posts.
Ian was really the driver for the new website. He kept looking at other companies’ beautiful websites and realized that upgrading our old site was only going to take us so far—and that just wasn’t good enough. He stepped up and managed this whole project—on top of his day job. In the midst of it, Ian was also managing the chaos of his office remodel.
I’ve worked on many web projects, and teaming with Ian and Jesse was seamless. I helped identify images, wrote intros, footers and headlines as well as new landing page content. I’m with Ian–this project did “actually ended up being fun”. Please let us know what you think of our new website—we’d love to hear from you!