The how and why of the new



It’s a busy week of launches and new announcements at Raven. The Task Manager and Messages got a big update yesterday. Today we rolled out a reboot for link reporting in the Report Wizard. And more announcements are on the way.

Normally, the marketing department doesn’t get to add to the big announcement fun. But today is one of those rare days as we debut a brand-new website for Raven.

(And when I say rare, I mean “thank God we don’t launch a new website every week.”)

We’re proud of the new site and, most importantly, believe it will help online marketers discover all the ways they can get results, save time, be more productive and grow their business with Raven.

Why redesign?

old-site-mainRaven’s old website was no slouch. Since its launch in March 2011, the company has grown substantially in terms of revenue, customers and trials.

But there were a few big things it could have been doing better.

  • The bounce rate for the homepage was entirely too high, especially for brand term searches.
  • The rate of trial registrations didn’t improve significantly with the design. Trial registrations are the lifeblood of a SaaS and one of our core metrics.
  • Pages were not designed with testing in mind. That made changing the trial registration rate even more difficult to accomplish.

All of these were important issues. But two bigger issues overshadowed everything.

  • The previous design could not keep up with the growth and maturity of our software. Here are all the improvements from 2011 alone. Add to that a new CRM, new Link Manager and the new thing that we’re going to announce next week. Raven is a teenager in the middle of a growth spurt. Our clothes didn’t fit anymore.
  • The second big issue was lack of detail, especially about the tools. They are the closers in the sales process and deserved more explanation.

The new site puts Raven’s tools in their rightful a place of honor – and offers up a ridiculously addictive way to explore them with playful rollovers.


Personas for target buyers

The Catch-22 is that Raven has many tools, which is great for marketing but can be intimidating for users. The cure for this paradox is knowing for whom you are writing.

We dove into the writing process with three personas in mind:

  • Digital Strategists: They likely work in an agency and do multiple jobs for multiple clients every day. They spend a lot of time switching among software, getting data to work together and building reports for their bosses.
  • Power Users: They love data and the ability to customize tools to their specific approach. They do high volumes of specific tasks. They likely use three or four different tools every day. They’re experienced buyers who can make a decision quickly.
  • Team leaders: They run an agency or an in-house digital marketing team. They spend a lot of their time in meetings or on phone calls reporting results and talking about strategy. They want visibility across the team without the need to ask everyone what’s happening. And they want everybody on the same software for simplicity and redundancy.


At one point, I mapped out more than 50 potential conversations that we could have with potential users. I’m not smart (or masochistic) enough to plan 50 different funnels.

In place of funnels, we put in place better wayfinding site-wide. It’s nothing new to let users discover on their own, but it does take some planning.

The wayfinding has three primary levels:

  • The top level includes Tools, Data and Reports. This combination explains everything Raven builds regardless of what the new product team dreams up in the future or what data partners we add to the mix. And most Raven fans list reporting as a favorite feature, yet it wasn’t emphasized in the prior website.
  • The next level are the 16 tasks that users can do in Raven – 12 online marketing tasks and 4 admin tasks for teams. This is an important addition because the tasks speak to the work our users need to do every day. The number of tasks can expand and contract without the need to revamp the entire website.
  • The final level are the tools themselves. This is where users expect to drill down and find specific details.

We’ll continue to tweak and refine the wayfinding going forward so that visitors can find what they want.

Focus on tasks and tools

The site features new content in two main areas: new tasks pages and more detailed tools pages.

The task pages help prospective customers understand (and remind current users) the scope of how Raven can help them get results.

new-site-task-detailFor example, SEO Campaign Management is one of the tasks. It’s for people managing the intricacies of multiple SEO campaigns from keywords to competitors to links. From this page, visitors can easily find the 10 related SEO tools as well as high-level summary of how Raven helps manage SEO campaigns.

The other 11 tasks featured on the website are SEO Research, SEO Link Building, SEO Rank Checking, SEO Competitor Analysis, Social Media Monitoring, Social Media Campaign Management, PPC Research, PPC Management, Content, Metrics and Reporting.

The tool pages now contain far greater detail in a consistent format that includes:

  • What It Does: a summary of the functionality
  • What Data It Uses/Keeps: emphasizes Raven’s many data partners and integrations
  • What You Can Report/Export: another significant advantage of Raven’s integrated approach


Revamped Raven blog, Customer Care

Our blog is one of the most popular elements of the site. It’s updated every day of the work week (usually) and routinely accounts for about one quarter of our traffic. (Interested in guest blogging? Email blog editor Courtney Seiter.)

In the old design, the blog was buried in the footer of the website. Not good. Now the blog has some real estate in the new header and a presence on the homepage. Much better.

The blog also got its own design with some significant improvements. We can now feature a post for as long as we want and show three times the number of headlines without overwhelming readers.

Several months back, we began a refresh of the Customer Care section. That refresh is where we first created the tasks that became core elements of the entire site redesign.

Why the need for three different designs for the website, blog and Customer Care center? Because each type of visitor has different goals or tasks.

  • The marketing site is for evaluating Raven for purchase.
  • The blog is for news, learning and sharing.
  • Customer Care is for getting help with a problem.

What’s next?

With the website now up to speed with Raven’s present, now we get to concentrate on optimizing the website for SEO and trial conversions. For an SEO software company, we’ve neglected SEO for ourselves. Not anymore.

Likewise, we’ve done far too little on-site optimization for a company without a sales team. I’m talking to you, bounce rate.

Phase 2 includes finishing the Customer Care revamp, adding custom variables and new downloadable materials.

Meanwhile, the new site reflects where we’re at with Raven these days – friendlier, more useful and all about making you more successful.

What do you think? As always, we welcome your comments and feedback – in the new comments section.

Brannan Atkinson

Partner at Amy Atkinson Communications

Brannan Atkinson

Partner at Amy Atkinson Communications

  • Nick

    I liked the old site, although I rarely interacted with it. Didn’t need to once I started using Raven. I do *love* the new one, though. It’s so…market-y. In a good way. Nice visual brand language!

    • Courtney Seiter

      “Market-y in a good way.” We’ll take it! Thanks, Nick!

  • I like that you used clouds in the new design to accompany the bird ::tweet tweet::

    Bird- ::pecks at cloud with beak::

    • Courtney Seiter

      Thanks, Mark! Isn’t it so friendly and zen now? We are super psyched about it.

  • Kate

    I like the new site! “Market-y” Indeed 🙂 Much brighter than the old grey site 🙂

    • Courtney Seiter

      We agree! Colorful and friendly were two concepts we were going for. We’ll be talking more about design decisions soon. And the fact that we’re now on Disqus instead of Facebook comments.

  • Nikki Klemmer

    I like it! Congrats, Brannan and team. Love the behind-the-scenes look into the decision making process and why you made the changes you did.

  • Mike Slaats

    I’m also diggin’ this 🙂 Like it. Much more friendly and still in the same style

    • Courtney Seiter

      Thanks! Friendly was the idea.

  • Manu Sanches

    Is it already live? I don’t see it…

    • Courtney Seiter

      Hi Manu,
      Yes, the rollover to the new site is complete now. You can see a small screenshot of the “old” site towards the top of this post.

      • Manu Sanches

        Hi Courtney! I logged in my account, but I still see the old version. I’ll check it again later. Thanks!

        • Jeremy Rivera

          The update was to the site itself at and of course the blog as well. It seems like you may have thought the update was for the toolset. We did update new functionality with link reports, but the User Interface is still the same. 😀

  • RecumbentJournal

    Feels vaguely SEOMoz, but a big improvement over the slate gray of the old design. The old site felt very Edgar Allen Poe, suitable for a Raven, but this new design pops better.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Yes, I think we outgrew the gray. Raven’s got a lot of personality, and we wanted to reflect that a little more.

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