An Artful Science® Presents

Website Story

November 2014 I had it made. Or so I thought … After twenty years in the game, I ran a successful digital marketing agency in the U.K. with a tonne of clients across practically every industry. Life was pretty simple back then.

And then out of nowhere, that smile was wiped out.

Yves Klein International Klein Blue

In December 2014 my clients started tumbling like lemmings off the first page — and I was powerless to catch them. (Yep, I know lemmings don’t actually commit mass suicide, but you get my point!)

Even the ‘Merry Christmas’ card I received from Google came complete with a Webmaster tools warning.

Left jab. Haymaker.

Naturally, I did all I could. I scrambled back up off the canvas and tried to minimise the damage to my clients and to my reputation.

But after the dust settled, I came to a terrible conclusion:

I’d failed my clients because I’d become complacent.

I was the cause of my own obsolescence;

I had put myself on the canvas.

Not one to wallow though in what could easily have become a serious mid-life web designer crisis, I decided to do something about it ...

A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.Brian Tracy · Share on Twitter

So I let the clients who wanted to run free go without a fight. I stopped answering the phone (actually, I lost the darn thing and was ‘too busy’ to order a replacement).

And I set myself a goal:

To find — and if there wasn’t one around, create — a scientifically-backed formula for producing successful websites.

Then I went back to school ...

Poetica Ampersands

The University of Typography

I’d always approached web typography as the slightly annoying thing you have to think about at the end of a project.

But given the primacy of the mobile reading experience – and the fact that the minimum average word count for results on the first page of Google was 2,000 + words ...

I had to nail typography & readability.

So I read all the books by experts like Robert Bringhurst, Jason Santa Maria and Jim Williams.

And developed and shared my own new ideas with all the major type experts like Tim Brown, Oliver Reichenstein, Kenneth Ormandy, Rina Miele, Jessica Hische, Jason Parmental and Elliot Jay Stocks.

This video by Tim Brown, Typesetting Body Text Like a Pirate Jedi with a DeLorean, is genius:

I got all emotional by the emotional power of fonts. Fascinated by their origins and history. Illuminated by their various weights and classifications. And I grasped the essential techy bits like vertical rhythm and modular scales.

Along the way, I also encountered a typography-focussed approach. Inspired by Oliver Reichenstein’s seminal 2006 article, Web design is 95% typography, the roll call of superb designers who bought into this approach now included Roger Black, Jeffrey Zeldman and Paul Scrivens.

Trajan (typeface)

I absorbed everything.

But I also noticed that something was missing:

A scientifically sound way of decoding website demographics to inform the design style and strategically uncover the most engaging content topics.

To do that, I needed to dig much deeper.

When I first started out in a design agency in Oxford, we spent a long time with every new client discussing who their target audience really was and what motivated them.

But although those discussions can help shape the design of a site, I wanted to know whether you could take the reader persona research one step further and leverage digital intelligence tools to get a deeper understanding of your audience.

To find inherently likeable, sharable and linkable (Google ranking) topics.

And as it turns out there are tools out there like font spotting browser extensions, demographic profiling and content research insight tools that can help you drill down not just into the demographic profile and aspirations of your target audience, but also uncover the specific typefaces and articles that your visitors are already comfortable reading and sharing.

And comfort matters:

Especially for your body copy, the bulk of your content, the more immediately ‘familiar’ and readable the copy is the more likely it is that people will stick with it and share it.

But I wasn’t ready to get back to work just yet ...

1.618

Now I wanted to know whether there was a scientifically – or naturally – proven way of structuring the design.

And as it turns out, there is: 1.618, The Golden Ratio.

So I looked at the influence of The Golden Ratio in design, art, history, the science of perception, as well as in web design.

And then – to see if it worked - I built this site that uses everything I’d learned so far:

  1. Using reader persona research techniques to design to your demographic
  2. A step-by-step approach to getting the typography right for maximum readability
  3. Content Analysis to uncover what performs best for any topic or competitor
  4. The Golden Ratio as the key to laying the content out

But before I got going, there was one more thing I needed to know ...

How to Influence your Influencers

Back in 2014, I wasn’t alone in getting burnt. Many others in design and especially those who donned the darker SEO hats had got their fingers and bridges burnt too.

One of those was Brian Dean, who I came across shortly before I launched An Artful Science. Brian was as open as I was as to how crushed he’d been by Google’s updates.

And like me, he’d gone back to the drawing board.

But while I had spent that time learning about audience analysis, typography and The Golden Ratio, he’d pieced together a new white hat SEO technique.

So I read everything he regularly churned out on things like influencers and backlink building strategies.

I also avidly checked out everything other SEO, marketing funnel and content marketing gurus like Neil Patel put out that he endorsed.

And finally I was done;

Watch the full case study

I had worked out a new web design and digital marketing strategy to make music again.

New music ...

3 years later

So almost 3 years later here I am with a complete blueprint taking the guesswork out of planning super successful online businesses which not just embodies but also exemplifies everything I’ve learned — and everything I now stand for.

What do I need to get started?

  • Step 1 — Request an invite to watch our ‘free’ case study to get the ‘really big picture’.
  • Step 2 — Read the digital marketing eBook.
  • Step 3 — Prepare for lots of "Aha!" moments ...

And that first "Aha!" moment starts here …

Watch the case study
Stephen has helped us for the last five years and has been responsible for transforming our web-based sales. His knowledge of digital design and web marketing has proved invaluable.Jon Blakeney. Absolute Museum & Gallery Products Ltd

Share on Social Media:

Helpful Marketing Guides

Certifications & Media

Press & Media

The Opportunity Accelerator

Win more clients · Outpace your competitors · Grow your company

TopMenu

Services

How many first time visitors on ‘average’ go on to buy your services? Just over half? One in three?

How about just… 2%.

And that’s because despite all the research we do, we rarely make the final decision on the first hit. Keep your business in front of your prospects from the day they first search … all the way until they buy.

Is it time to revamp your old website?

Most business websites are nothing more than fancy brochures. They might be pretty ... (but they don’t sell.) Here’s how we fix that.

Foundation First

Helpful Marketing Guides

About Me

Watch the case study

Policies

I use cookies to ensure that I provide you the very best user experience. Please refer to my Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy for more information.

An Artful Science®

Making your marketing truly valuable™

20 – 22 Wenlock Road
London
Greater London
N1 7GU
United Kingdom

1-on-1 Marketing Strategy Session Offer

Apply now for a 1-on-1 strategy session worth £200

( 5 FREE spots available each month. )

Share on social media:

Website vs Sales funnels

New Case Study:

If the thought of attracting new clients using Digital Marketing makes your head spin counter clockwise, you need to have a look at this new case study on how to reverse the situation.

¶ You're data is in safe hands. See my Privacy Policy for more information. All my emails include an unsubscribe link. By submitting this form you are giving me consent to send you my guides and learning material.

Close
Open navigation