Case Study on Developing Granite Hill Capital Management Site
Objective Behind Developing an Informative Blog-Featured Website
Granite Hill Capital Management, LLC is a RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) firm. The firm is run and managed by Paul Tanner who himself is a member of NYSSA (New York Society of Security Analysts) and the CFA Institute. Paul Tanner wanted to build a user friendly website to widen his reach to prospective customers.
It was important for us to understand his objective behind developing an informative blog featured website so that we could succeed at building his dream site. Driving organic traffic as well as referral traffic was important for both his business and site. Publishing quality content on topics covering investment, finance, risk management and economics was planned for this informative blog.
Roles and Responsibilities of Client and Project Manager
Being a Financial Planner and Investment Advisor, the primary responsibilities of Paul include helping people take control of their life savings and to build investment portfolios.
As a Project Manager and an SEO Analyst, my primary responsibility was to help him achieve his business goals in reaching out to the prospective clients.
Paul offers his financial investment services as a fee-only advisor rather than commission based advisor in order to help people build their investment portfolios. His financial services help his clients meet their financial goals by investing their hard earned money wisely. An increase in CTR to generate leads and attract more business opportunities was also expected behind developing his blog site.
Stage 1 : Understanding Client’s Site Requirement
The success of a website development project highly depends on understanding the client’s requirement before moving any further. Even a small level of ignorance may become a reason behind an unhappy client and so we started our site building process by understanding the requirements of our client in full detail.
As a Project Manager, I spend sufficient time collecting all the required information from the client before moving ahead to the next stage. Sometimes, it takes more than the anticipated time but I never compromise because preliminary information is the foundation behind developing a long term healthy client relationship. I always strive to offer full customer satisfaction while working on my projects.
Developing a Simple Site Loaded with Powerful Features
The primary objective behind developing our case study site was to build a simple but powerful blog featured site. Our client wanted the site to be simple, with minimal visual distractions but loaded with powerful features. Smooth color combinations and easy navigation had to be at the core of developing our case study website.
Since the financial markets are time sensitive, the client wanted to include a subscription feature to help customers keep themselves updated about the latest happenings in the market. It also had be free from spam, also to keep machines out of automatically subscribing to the blog. Strong security features were also required to keep the hackers out of the site.
Stage 2 : Developing a Full Featured Site Building Plan
Collecting the entire information in one go is practically not feasible. Neither the clients nor the project managers are aware of their complete obligations. The site building process has to move in a step by step approach. Firstly we have to collect the basic requirements, then develop a basic framework and have a few brainstorming sessions with the client. This helps us create a concrete road map to develop websites.
A better idea is to create a written list of all the features required by the client. This enhances the clarity behind developing great websites. The created list must be kept open to adapt any revisions popping up in the future in order to meet the client’s objectives in full. Before moving to the next stage, getting client approval of the developed site development plan proves quite helpful.
Brainstorming is a Good Tactic To Develop Great Websites
The First blueprint of our case study site was ready so we presented it to the client for his suggestions and approval. Two major additions popped up during our first brainstorming session. Our client wanted a post categorization based on his specific financial subject area. This was planned to help customers look directly at their interested categories rather than looking around at the entire blog site. A search feature was not required on the site due to which proper post categorization became an important criterion behind developing our case study site.
The Client wanted the end users to be able to directly navigate to the choice of their category for fetching the desired information. We created some of the most popular categories for the site as advised by the client. Moreover, we also gave an option wherein the client was free to create his own categories as and when required.
Incorporating The Client’s Suggestions is a Good Site Development Practice
A feature that enabled users to download pdf documents from the site was also required. Being a financial advisor, Paul loves to make quarterly investment reviews and since these reviews are quite technical in nature as well as meant for the focused customers, it was a good idea to offer them a pdf file download section for easy accessibility. It was placed on the right sidebar.
Stage 3 : Developing Client’s Website
After collecting all the required information from the client, it was time for us to get into action. An appropriate development platform for site building had to be finalized. We wanted to use a development platform that was not only easy for us, but also offered the ut most customization to make the site exactly as required by the client. WordPress CMS was the best solution for us.
WordPress comes with ease of use, rich feature functions and short development time just to name a few easy to use features. Today, content is king and in our case study site, the required content was quite financial in nature. It was developed and supplied to us by Paul himself because he is the financial expert and carries the expertise in his own financial domain.
Distribute Site Content Diligently Between Posts and Pages
Separate pages containing specialized information wasre placed beautifully at all the right places. These pages were also linked to an easy to use navigation menu bar for easy access at the top of the home page. No sub menus were added so as to keep the site as simple as possible. Financial content was quite specialized in nature so it was directed to the posts and a separate section for pdf files download was designed on the right sidebar. Displaying some pdf files straight into the posts with scrolling options and direct download links were also implemented.
The bio of Paul Tanner was placed at the top right side bar carrying a professional photograph of Paul. A simple subscription feature was added to allow users register to the blog by supplying a valid email ID so that they can keep themselves updated with all the upcoming blog posts at the site. A list of categories was also placed on the right sidebar to help users directly navigate to the specialized section of site.
Graphs and Charts Enhance the Readability of Great Websites
Any financial website would be incomplete without including data analytic, exploratory charts, detailed graphs and analysis models. Proper provisions were required to display different types of graphs, charts and data analysis models without compromising the clarity and screen resolution. Images with links to open into bigger images (wherever required) were also added to improve the user experience.
Clarity of images was highly desired as the site included many graphs, charts and analysis models for the benefit of end users. Everything was done to the finest perfection. The simplicity of this site was destined to stand out as its USP. Everything was set to make it a pure human friendly website but the site wasn’t yet search engine friendly. Even the best of the best websites would fail to meet their objectives in absence of the desired traffic. Organic traffic is driven by search engines like Google and Bing, while referral traffic is driven by Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and several other social media networks.
Final Stage : Making Your Website Search Engine Friendly
In order to empower the site for easy search engine indexing and search engine optimization, a dynamic sitemap.xml was configured. It updates itself automatically without requiring any human intervention against any minor or major change made to the website. The sitemap was submitted through Google Webmaster Tools for faster indexing.
We also thought of registering the site on Google Places and Google Business but put it on hold for the time being. Configuring robots.txt to help Google crawl the site successfully is the key behind fast and easy indexing. robots.txt defines pages to be crawled and also about the pages not to be crawled. sitemap.xml and robots.txt carry some key information about crawling the site by automated bots.
Easy SMM Feature is a Big Plus for Developing Great Websites
Social Media Marketing was another important focus area and we added all the major social media link buttons at the bottom of the posts. In order to improve the author rank of Paul Tanner, his Google+ profile was also setup and Google Authorship activated for the website. All in One SEO pack was installed and activated to create customized post title, meta description, meta keywords and some other important factors to improve onsite SEO.
The site was now ready to offer some rich financial information without compromising its reach to search engines. Developing great websites requires a fine eye to the detailing like selecting a powerful WordPress theme and great web hosts such as AECNU WMPU or WP Engine. Use of appropriate WordPress plugins is also highly desirable so that you don’t spend time on coding, but rather using the rich features of WordPress CMS straight out of the box.
It would be a pleasure for me to help you develop a full featured website for your business. Although, if you want to develop your great site yourself then a little effort, lots of creativity, some development skills, a positive approach and an ample amount of time will surely get you your dream website.