Standard Club UK
A frictionless user experience
The Standard Cub are one of the thirteen clubs that comprises the International Group, between them they provide marine liability cover for 90% of the world’s ocean tonnage. Formed in 1884, The Standard Club are among the world’s most successful of the clubs, with a reputation for service and their “member first” approach.
Extending the brand into the digital space
When The Standard Club approached us, they had just completed a huge rebranding project. With this work having been so recently completed, our brand development role was to expand this into the digital space. One of our first challenges was that their brand pillars were being used as a navigational structure for their website.
Although there was some rationale behind why content was kept in these ‘buckets’, it quickly became obvious from our discovery work that this wasn’t where end users expected the content to be. Confusion was also exacerbated by each pillar using a different colour, which made little sense on the web, where pieces of content such as a report could appear in more than one location. To solve this, we needed to adapt the guidelines to create clear rules about how these colours were used online.
We then employed a rapid design process utilising style tiles to share our vision for how we envisaged the brand should translate to digital. A major benefit of this exercise was being able to include their in-house brand designer so that we could work collaboratively and efficiently, without losing time on the overall project.
We often find during our discovery workshops that different stakeholders bring different perspectives regarding the focus and requirements for a website.
For this project there was a tension between the website being a sales tool to generate more leads versus an information platform for members. In a simple world, the website would be one or the other, creating a more streamlined experience for its audience (as well as making our job easier!). However, with a project on this scale, with many stakeholders and with statistics pointing towards a diverse audience, a pragmatic view was needed. The website needed to attract a new audience, while at the same time being a useful resource for current members. In one sense these are related – by showcasing invaluable member content in a rich, engaging way, and surfacing this content so that it was easy to find, it shows the club in it’s best light. Demonstrating their knowledge, innovation and showing that they care about the experience of their members in turn makes them attractive to new audiences.
In order to achieve both requirements, we rationalised the club’s taxonomy and structure to create a central, searchable repository for all their knowledge. This includes a powerful faceted search based on topics and content types. We also created landing pages and spaces in the site for different departments to curate their best content.
Fixing the Search Engine Optimisation Issues
The old Standard Club website was suffering from quite a few issues that often happen to websites that are added to piecemeal over time:
- Duplicated content - Pages in different locations of the site that had the exact same content.
- Declining click through rate from search engines - This is often a sign that meta descriptions aren’t engaging enough.
- Thin content - Although it’s good to be succinct and we’d never recommend adding content for the sake of it, search engines tend to surface longer pages of rich, informative content.
- Lack of headings - Without useful headings blocks of text become hard to read and digest for humans, as well as search engines. It is also a missed opportunity to highlight keywords and phrases.
- Lack of structured data / schema markup - A missed opportunity to provide content for rich snippets on search engine results pages.
- Overuse of PDFs - While these can be indexed by search engines, we’d much prefer if users clicked into pages where we can influence their journey through the site, rather than downloading PDFs.
We worked through each of these points and advised the marketing team on how to follow SEO best-practices in the future. This has resulted in a 73% increase of users, and 24% increase in page views in a 6 month period compared to pre-launch.
We’ve also worked with Standard Club to identify various goals to measure in analytics that will be useful for them to be able to understand what content is and isn’t successful.
One of the project objectives was to attract new business from Asia. However, translations amounted to only circulars being offered in Japanese. Translating an entire website of this size was prohibitively expensive and although there are plans to translate more, we opted for a Japanese Hub to host the existing content. This gave the Japanese team a space to talk about relevant issues to them, and a focal point to collate all the Japanese content in one place.
This has created a 175% increase in traffic from Japan compared to the same 6 month period from before launch.
A better back office workflow
Talking to the marketing team, it quickly became apparent how laborious it was to add new content on the old content management system. This resulted in frustration within the team and difficulty in publishing content on time. Standard Club are now fully in control of being able to add content when they like, including rich content and articles. They can also control their taxonomy and site navigation without the need to involve us.
The new Standard Club site has been totally redesigned, with a new hierarchy, messaging, content and design that not only supports but enhances their new brand. The issues that we were seeing with SEO have improved resulting in more traffic.
This is just the beginning of our relationship with Standard Club with plans to continue to improve the website and push it forward to be the best amongst its competitors.