Last Friday, the Albany Business Review wrote a story about us in conjunction with naming us to their Fastest Growing Companies List. Towards the end of the phone call that I had with the reporter last Monday, I casually asked “when will our story be published?” I was hoping for a few weeks. Instead, I got Friday.
The reason that I wanted a few weeks of time was because I wanted to get our Pure Adapt, Inc site updated. The site was in desperate need of an update, both the design and more importantly the content. It hadn’t been touched much since our revamp in late 2011. At the time, we were hiring, so the focus was primarily on building a site that was attractive to potential full-time employees. And it was our first foray into responsive design, a test case for the LockerPulse refresh in 2012 and big Detailed Image redesign in 2013. Most importantly, it wasn’t reflective of who we are as a business. In 2011 we still had other serious ventures, namely LockerPulse. Now it’s all about Detailed Image. While we’ll likely have other ventures in the future, we wanted the site to be a more accurate representation of who we are in 2016, what we do well, and what makes our organization special.
The plan was to roll out a new site in time for this year’s Inc 5000, which we anticipate being on. Last year’s list came out in August. I was just about to start slowly working on the new site when I got my first email from the Business Review reporter last Monday morning. Seeing as this was our first press locally, and that the Business Review is targeted to business owners, this was going to be the first time that many influential people locally were being exposed to us. I really wanted us to put our best foot forward. If someone happens to check out our site, we might only have a few seconds to hook them. That site from 2011 wasn’t going to do.
I quickly dropped almost everything else to build out my vision for the new site. I got started on Monday night. By Wednesday I had a version ready for my partners to review. By Thursday morning Mike had created the awesome graphic that’s on the homepage and we were live! (Thursday was also a big day for DI, but that’s a subject for my next post).
Here’s a screenshot of the homepage, or just go check it out yourself:
To me, that is a reflection of who we are. Aside from the home page, the next most important page is the Detailed Image page, which effectively acts as a resume for what we’ve accomplished with DI. Aside from friends and family, there are three main types of visitors to our Pure Adapt site: DI customers vetting us as a company, potential future employees, and people who read about us in the media. The last group is the minority, but still very important to us. You never know what potential future business opportunity might come our way. The Detailed Image page is angled towards those visitors while still hopefully appealing to the others. The rest of the site is more targeted at DI customers and future employees.
We also added a For Sale page to the site. Some of our older sites and domains that we don’t intend to use are now available for purchase. If you’re possibly interested, please get in touch.
I don’t necessarily enjoy these types of mad sprints…but I don’t necessarily hate them either. They force you to focus on only what’s absolutely necessary. Results happen faster. Good results too. I’m not sure that we would have come up with a better site by August, but I am sure we would have spent many more hours on it.
For this project in particular, I enjoyed experimenting with a few things. It’s built on Bootstrap. If you’re familiar with Bootstrap, it has that Bootstrappy feel to it. I hadn’t used Bootstrap since the SportsLizard site back in 2013. It was fun playing with it. The reason it’s so popular is because of how fast it lets you build responsive sites out of the box without having to lose yourself in media queries, something I can really appreciate. The “downside” of having your site look similar to other Bootstrap sites isn’t really that big of a downside (you could argue from a usability standpoint that familiar design is a good thing), plus the flexibility of the framework lets you customize whatever you really want anyway. I think version 1.0 of any new site we do will utilize Bootstrap because of how damn fast it lets you get the site developed. Often times a B+ site in a week is better than an A+ site in a month.
I also migrated the whole site to https to see how that would go. Right now DI is only https on pages where personal information is entered (contact form, registration, checkout, etc), but if I were starting an e-commerce site today I’d go https for the entire site. It’s obviously more secure, it’s really not discernibly slower, and Google is starting to use it as a ranking signal. That said, moving DI has its risks and I’m still on the fence about what we’ll do. This was a good test case. It certainly wasn’t hard to do, although DI would be more of a challenge. It’ll be interesting to see how, if at all, our search traffic is affected.
Experimentation is the best business argument for doing side projects like this, something I’ve gotten away from these past few years. I do have a fun idea in the works that I’m hoping to roll out before the end of the year.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with how the site came out, and while it was a hectic week it’s nice to have it checked off my to-do list!