Case Study: Planning brief for design / develop new website or update / improve current site

Draft Website Menu Strutcure and Layout 2012

New Website development and website design brief

You need to plan and structure what you want and what you need your website to accomplish, whether your building your own using website design templates or briefing a website developer.

I suggest you document a planning brief for creative and technical development of a new website.

We used the following framework as a planning brief for a new website with a client (Freeman Schwabe).

  1. Business Background
  2. Business Goals and Website contribution / strategy
  3. Website status / performance
  4. Website Challenge / Opportunity
  5. Target Audience
  6. New Design Requirements
  7. Website Positioning – overall look / style
  8. Business / Brand Architecture
  9. Website – specific Needs and Capabilities
  10. Site Map

Website Design Case Study – Freeman Schwabe - Mid 2012

1. New Website – Business Background

Freeman Schwabe is a global OEM of the highest quality die cutting presses and compression molding machines, including the world-renowned brand of SCHWABE presses.

2011 breakthrough year for Freeman Schwabe business.

Top line Sales Revenue increased significantly, with new customers making up 40 % of the overall revenue.   Business Goal is to maintain this level of sales growth.

2. Website Strategy / Internet On-Line Visibility

Freeman Schwabe competes on a global basis in a highly competitive market, and is updating its product range continuously, the website is critical to communicate with past, present and potential future customers. The website contributes as the main contact point for people Requesting a Quote or More Information about Freeman Schwabe products.

3. Current Website status / performance

The significant increase in website traffic in 2011 was a key factor Freeman Schwabe sales growth , the number of visitors to the site doubled in 2011, achieved from better rankings and online visibility with more sales enquiries / sales leads received and converted.

A number of other key factors contributed to overall outstanding business performance:

- manufacturing die cutting presses as OEM in Cincinnati, which required company reorganization and expansion, and quality hiring

- improved cash flow / wise investment of resources with broader development of “in-stock inventory”

- the Schwabe brand name and specialist products e.g Model D clickers, was promoted stronger

- new Blog continues to grow each month

4. Web Site Challenge and Opportunity

  • The goal of the website 2012 is to continue to deliver more Contacts and Leads / RFQ’s, to do this we need to get more Qualified Visitors to the site and convert more of them to Contact Freeman Schwabe or RFQ
  • We need to re-assess what are the Key Topics visitors are searching for, and make Menus easier and quicker for them to navigate – remembering
  • The key challenge is selecting the Top Menu Topics which (along with  related content) get the best ranking / visibility i.e. the site doesn’t have to represent 100% of the Freeman Schwabe business,
  • All the Top Menu Tabs should focus the Key Products & Services
  • Selection of which Keywords to promote is also critical as we noticed in 2011 with popularity of “schwabe” “herman schwabe”

5. Target Audience 

Current Customers and Potential New Customers

Buyers and other people that influence the sale

People searching for cutting presses and cutting systems

People referred to FSM site by friends / colleagues

People to influence the which is a broad from Top to Down business levels and demographic profile

  • senior executive managers
  • finance managers
  • operations / manufacturing managers
  • maintenance managers
  • engineering managers

6. New Website Requirements

The Design should explore new looks and new images / icons to replace the word, especially as people search becomes more mobile.

Draft Menu Structure and Home Page Layout after detailed discussion with client input / feedback

Draft Website Menu Strutcure and Layout 2012

7. Website Positioning – creative overall look / style

- Style: Clean, Clear, Crisp, Contemporary

- Brand Image =  SCHWABE Efficient, Technology, KPI,

Move towards using Capital Font for SCHWABE and using Bank Gothic Font brand image

Eye-catching graphics and specific color-oriented designs to excite and draw in the target audience and from there

  • Shortest clicks / click route to get what information they need
  • Easy to follow

8. Business / Brand Architecture

Brand Architecture Online Visibility Infographic

Brand Architecture Online Visibility Infographic

9. Website – specific Needs and Capabilities

Summary - Specific Needs and Improvements

General – on Every Page

Fresh Clean Clear layout – main content 2/3rd of width of page

(i.e., Google News,………white and space)

Info on every page:  Address, Phone, Address,

Social Links on every page Blog, You Tube, FLickr,

Easy / Impactful Links to RFQ request

Use above the fold more effectively / reduce size of “Featured Item”

- Featured Item should rotate to different subjects

Increase visual Impact of Search Site facility

Front Page

  • Fast track Link to Contact RFQ page

Keep simple and Ideal for Mobile (less tekkie)

  • Icon Images more visible

Differentiate between New Visitors and Returning / Existing Customers

  • Contact Page / RFQ

Differentiate between NEW and EXISTING visitors

  • special incentive for NEW customers?

Incentive to send email

More data collection to identify specific needs

10. Site Map

  • Home
  • Freeman Schwabe – Overview
  • Herman Schwabe – innovator
  • Customers – Testimonials
  • Press Releases – Media
  • Site Map URLs
  • Presses
  • SCHWABE Presses Machines Systems
    • NEW Roller Press
      • Product Spec / Cut Sheet
    • Straight Ram (SR) Beam Presses
    • Clicker Presses Model D, DF, DS
      • Spare Parts Kits – Model D Clicker Presses
      • SCHWABE Clicker Spare Parts Manual
    • Molding Presses Model DG DGHD
    • A7A Auto Traveling Head
    • Jigsaw Puzzle Cutting Press
  • Die Cutting Presses
    • Clicker Presses
    • Envelope Cutting Press
    • Full Beam Press
    • High Speed Press
    • Receding Beam Press
    • SCHWABE SR Straight Ram Beam Press
    • Traveling Head Press
      • Traveling Head CNC 3 Axis with Nesting
  • Compression Molding
  • Kiss Cutting Presses
  • In Stock Presses for SALE
  • Customize
  • Design Build Examples
  • Rebuilds, Retro-fits, Conversions, Upgrades
  • Automotive Interior – Die Cut Parts
  • Cutting Materials Applications
  • Medical Devices Products
  • Accessories
  • Cutting Surfaces
  • COBRA Systems
  • Hot Melt Roll Coaters
  • Support
  • SCHWABE KPI Dashboard
  • Machine Safety Features – FAQ
  • Machine Maintenance Tips – FAQ
  • Technical Service Agreements
  • Contact / RFQ


While there were a number of revisions based on user research and management preferences the new site was launched mid August 2012, and is performing well in search and visitor conversion.

Visit NEW Freeman Schwabe website and send me your comments and feedback.

John Cullen email 




Improving Visitors Web Site Experience: Case Study Example

Freeman Schwabe Website View

Working as a self employed consultant, its been enjoyable working as a member of a team the last few months designing and building a new creative and improved web site for Freeman Schwabe.

The team included the Freeman Schwabe IS manager David Eytchison and Ron Adams IT engineer consultant and owner of the Constellation Media group.

The Goal of the new web site design and layout:

To continue the growth in web site visitors (2012 +50% vs 2011) and increasing conversion to purchase, i.e. company sales revenue (+42% 2011 vs 2010).

New Website Design Strategy

  • providing visitors with relevant useful content on Freeman Schwabe Products and Services
  • improving the visibility, look and layout of the site
  • making it easier to navigate and search for what visitors need
  • stay within limited marketing budget of small business
  • use known template and content management system (Joomla)

Deliverable benefits of the NEW web site structure and design

  • Less clicks to find products and services
  • Clearer concise menu structure
  • Improved Search site facility
  • Simpler page navigation
  • Quicker to get back to Home Page
  • Company Contact Info more visible
  • Social Media links provided 
  • Fresh contemporary clear layout

10 Web Site Development Design Tips

- start with clear goals and detailed design brief

- design brief should include user feedback internally and externally

- lock in key goals / elements with top management

- analyze existing data on visitors behavior vs goals

- use specialists in IT, Marketing and SEO, keep team small

- driving team effort with clear roles and responsibilities, pays dividends

- better user experience is a balance of functionality and aesthetics

- project time management skills plus decisive decision making is essential

- updating client regularly avoids wasted time and effort

- ensure you have all artwork, images, content up front

- test user reaction

Freeman Schwabe Website View

Basic Marketing SEO Checklist for Website On-Line Visibility

Marketing Positioning

Dynamic Marketing SEO

As the internet continues to rapidly change and evolve, especially with the influence of Social Media, its important that we remember the basics to achieve online visibility of a website.

The key point to remember is, that it’s not just the mechanics of SEO that I list below, that will make your website stand out, it is your marketing positioning, your unique competitive positioning and the unique content that supports it.

Brand Positioning for Optimum Online Visibility

Brand Positioning for Optimum Online Visibility

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”.  Coco Chanel

Page Titles

Page Titles are the single most important SEO element on a page.  Most people don’t pay attention to them because they aren’t an element that we spend a lot of time looking at, but they are critical for people searching and for website online visibility. Page titles should have relevant keywords (relevant means describing what this page is about) while also being no longer than 80 characters.

Keyword Density

Another key measurement of promoting your keywords efficiently, check out to the SEO Tool Live Keyword Analysis


Internal Links help people navigate the site including the “search engine robots”  and a good link strategy helps with search rankings


From a usability standpoint describing what the page is about in the URL can help someone figure out what they are clicking on.  The key is early planning of the positioning, website goal, structure and architecture, Google advises “ Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers)”. I recommend using hyphens rather than underscore in URLs. For more detailed information visit Google URL Structure

Alt Tags

All images need descriptions using Alt Tags to provide details of the image or the destination of a hyperlinked image.


Paragrah headings should be identified by <h1>, <h2>, <h3> HTML elements on a page.

Meta Keywords and Meta Description

The key SEO elements are the famous “meta tags” for each page, meta keywords and meta description.  Although Google currently does not even look at meta keywords  it is still a best practice, and a good SEO disciplne.

Site Map

Provide SiteMap for vistors to navigate and search engines to confirm the website structure

Submit SIte to All Search Engines

The basic step many people miss or ignore

Webmasters Account with Google and Bing

Helps identify any problems quickly and improves interface with search engines

Contact John Cullen direct

6 Weeks for New Website to become #1 Search Ranking Result on Google

Art Classes Cincinnati Google Results June 16th 2011

6 Weeks… achieve #1 Search Ranking Results on Google…

…follow up to my post dated June 1st :

“A recent and live example, is I worked on a new site last week, the site page were Indexed by Google within 7 days. The search results ranking fluctuates at present, but there are positive signs that the site will reach the first page for the targeted keywords, within the next few weeks.”

Website went Live Mid May 2011

Search results for come on June 16th 2011

Phrase Keyword Search with “ keyword” (in quotation marks) on Google Search Results / Ranking

“art classes cincinnati”….#1 

Art Classes Cincinnati Google Results June 16th 2011

Art Classes Cincinnati Google Results June 16th 2011


Broad Keyword Search with keywords on Google Search Results / Ranking

learn to paint cincinnati….#1

Learn to Paint Cincinnati Google Results June 16th 2011

Learn to Paint Cincinnati Google Results June 16th 2011

private art lessons cincinnati #2

Private Art Lessons Google Search Results June 16th 2011

Private Art Lessons Google Search Results June 16th 2011


For more details on Case Study go to Marketing Optimization – SEO Case Studies page on this Blog, which will be updated going forward.

Check out my website for information on Marketing SEO Optimization

“How long does it take Google to Index and Rank my new website?”………

Google Webmaster Tools

The modern equivalent of the idiom “a watched pot never boils” is probably……”a watched new website never gets indexed or ranked”……….

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools

It’s frustrating after all the hard work and excitement in building, designing and adding rich & relevant content to new website to wait for the search engines to find your site. It’s even more frustrating if you do not even Submit the new website to Google as the first step in achieving visibility!

The answer to the question ”How long does it take Google to Index & Rank my new website ?”………is therefore the obvious one, it depends!

Google quotes “several weeks”, and from my own experience it ranges between 2 to 4 weeks to be indexed and achieve a consistent ranking level or range.

But there are ways to improve the speed and the ranking performance, and it’s all in the way you present the information about your website to the search engines.

Here is a brief checklist to help a new website be indexed by Google as promptly as possible:

  • is the website compact and compressed to make the search robot crawling and indexing easy?
  • do you have unique URL addresses, do they follow the guidelines?
  • are all Alt Tags correct?
  • are all the Meta Tags complete for every page, reflecting the content of the page?
  • is the website content or subject allowed by Google?
  • is the hosting of the new website guaranteeing “it’s available to be crawled at any time”
  • have you verified that the new site meets the Google WebMaster Guidelines and have you provided a Site Map?
  • are you sure the domain has no issues?
  • does your website provide internal links to help the robots navigate the new site?
  • make sure there are no issues with transferring the new site from an old address

There are many more “guidelines” provided by Google on the Webmaster Central page.

A recent and live example, is I worked on a new site last week, the site page were Indexed by Google within 7 days. The search results ranking fluctuates at present, but there are positive signs that the site will reach the first page for the targeted keywords, within the next few weeks.

I will keep you posted on its progress, as this is but the start of the process. The goal is to maintain interest in the website content and build visits and conversions. In my current example it’s to get more people to book art classes with Greg Storer in Cincinnati (by the way a very good art teacher!).

For more information on Marketing your website and SEO generally visit