Six Lessons Learned from Launching our New Website on Sitecore

Oct 09 2020

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Six Take Away Lessons from Our New Website Development

Those who tell stories rule the world” - Plato

This stood true for us too when we envisioned revamping our website to tell the best Icreon stories of our clients, employees and ourselves.

This year, launching a new website has been a big feat for us. We are now able to serve our customers in a personalized manner. We migrated from WordPress to Sitecore Experience Platform to deliver contextual customer experiences. Our goal is to make every user interaction count for us- from employees to clients, partners to prospects. And, to position ourselves as a leading digital innovation agency with expertise across strategy, design and engineering.

Through Sitecore’s personalization, we can better connect with our customers and drive meaningful engagement.

Behind the Scenes

Launching this new website on Sitecore 9.2 platform has been a result of enthusiasm, team collaboration, and rich expertise on Sitecore CMS. As part of our replatforming strategy, we wanted to have a dynamic website based on personalized user experiences for different geographies. This undertaking required synchronization between teams across design, development, content, deep-level configurations in the Sitecore CMS, etc. A slight imbalance of these different moving parts could have blocked our paths. Or, delayed our journey to transformational user experience.

Top Six Lessons Learned at a Glance

Utilizing Sitecore CMS was a crucial part of this project to deliver an unparalleled customer experiences, accessing the site from different regions. The journey was exciting with several challenges and opportunities.

To help you overcome the replatforming hurdles, here are the top six lessons we learned during our website revamping process on Sitecore.

Know the “WHY”

It is always good to start any project with goals or objectives in mind. Otherwise, you may end up sacrificing with the most crucial part (functionality or design aspect) that you needed. At the very beginning of the website revamp, you must ask your stakeholder(s) what are going to be their primary goals for the website. And, how they will measure success.

For us, we wanted to use the website as a tool to deliver personalized content, depending on region or geography. For us, that meant US, UK, and IN, for example, and have our clients served with the content. The content includes blogs, landing pages, and solutions, all that’s most relevant to them.

Aligned to this we had three goals:

  • Better articulate our message to our audience by highlighting our breadth of work in different domains
  • Ensure our voice of thought leadership is broadcasted in the marketplace
  • Showcase our leaders for tomorrow to emphasize on our humanistic culture

Key Takeaway: Whatever the ‘why’ may be for your replatforming undertaking, it will influence the decisions you make on both the design and functionality front. This will help you keep focused on your key goals.

Choose the right CMS

Sitecore 9.2 is the backbone of our website. We chose this platform because it comes with robust enterprise capabilities ranging from content management, customer experience, digital analytics, and personalization. This platform equips us with the ability to deliver relevant content to our customers, by creating rules aligned with our goals and user engagement objectives.

Plus, it provides us with immense flexibility to integrate various APIs to smooth out various operational experiences.

Key Takeaway: If you want to deliver contextual experiences to your users, then choosing Sitecore is a profound option.

Architect the System Properly

Before you build any website or application, you should conceptualize the purpose and the structure. The process of defining various parts and what roles they play is known as system architecture. When you understand the scope of the project clearly, then you would be able to architect the process clearly.

Deploying the right people with the right expertise and crystal-clear objectives are some of the key metrics to own your project. We follow agile methodology to better synchronize with the team in each step of designing, development, and testing. We put a Continuous Integration / Continuous Development (CI/CD) setup in place to work on the iterations and resolve bugs in parallel.

In our architecture model, to avoid the risks of losing our core content during replatforming, we employed a trickle migration approach. This is an incremental approach to migration to run the old and new system in parallel and shift the old content in phases.

Key Takeaway: Do not neglect the architect step. Stay agile and evolve over time. Align with your team daily using any kind of iterative model.

Create the User Journey

Before you start working on any kind of wireframing, it is important to keep user experience in mind. It should describe how the UX process leads your customers to become aware of your solutions. And then move to the consideration stage and further take decisions. Here at Icreon, we knew we could achieve this through Sitecore personalization configurations. As the system operates within the context of the user’s interaction history, it gives us the ability to offer more relevant content to our customers.

From the regional preferences of the website to the success stories shown on each page, every part of the digital experience is crafted based on the customer’s preferences. Sitecore has all the deep-level personalization tools to drive your customers to the path of conversion.

Key Takeaway: Do not dive into wireframing without planning your user journey. It is always important to consider how you want users to navigate your website.

Get the Visuals Right

With our new website, our aim was to translate user experiences across different geographies. In addition to managing our relationship with global brands, focusing on our recruitment goals, and new engagements. Keeping our goals in mind, our creative team worked on wireframing to get the visuals right. That meant maintaining our corporate brand value and feature entirely.

Understanding the basics of component-based web design on Sitecore helped overcome the UI/UX challenges. We used Sketch, a designing tool, for wireframing. Also, Zeplin, a collaboration tool for UI designers and developers, to break down a site into smaller components to further form ‘ready to use’ templates.

Key Takeaway: Focus on your ‘creative element’ to tell your brand story and showcase your work. Stand true to your company's core values and beliefs. The quality of the work will speak for itself!

Personalize for better User Experience & Management

Personalization is the key aspect of our new initiative. And that is why we used Sitecore to create a digital presence that would cater to our different audiences. We implemented implicit personalization, which focuses on the user’s behavior. For example, what content they consume and based on their preference we display relevant content to them.

Further, we employed explicit personalization, which works on definite rules. For example, selecting regional location to reflect the content. It is success stories in our case based on the visitor type and region they belong to.

We brought our broad experience in other marketing platforms (Salesforce, Eloqua, etc.) to map directly with Sitecore. We've done this to collect customer insights, launch marketing campaigns and measure success. We integrated other APIs for different operational functions like email, HR operations, geography setting etc.

Key Takeaway: Do not set personalization and targeting tasks for later stages. Start implementing it with your content strategy to get the most fruitful results.

A Final Piece of Advice: Leverage the Power of Sitecore

When you’re considering a website revamping project, it is crucial to stay agile and expect to keep up with the customer preferences over time. Architect the system aligned with your business goals. Find the right tools and platforms to stay in sync with your teams. Make use of best practices of Sitecore to perform component-based implementations and integrations. This is how you will achieve the next level of personalization for your target audience.

Important: You must be technically sound on Sitecore’s features to take the advantage of customization and marketing automation.

If you are worried about the complex content management system of the Sitecore, get in touch with us. We are a certified Sitecore partner and we have helped several clients in their digital transformation journey. Our Sitecore experts work on deep level Sitecore configurations to tailor the solution based on your unique requirements.

Ready to take off for a true contextual experience? Get in touch with us today