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180 Update: Becoming Our Own Case Study

A major goal of Pantheon 180 is to enhance the way we work as a team, by adopting WebOps ourselves. We aim to cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement, to aggressively pursue operational agility, and to improve cross functional collaboration. See how we're progressing, as we approach the final month of our 180 days.  

Five weeks ago, we announced the launch of Pantheon 180, a project to update our website and refresh our brand iteratively in 180 days. The project started internally at Pantheon at the beginning of 2021, and we're telling our story publicly to offer transparency into the obstacles, surprises, and wins we're experiencing, as we adopt WebOps and become our own case study.

Hopefully, you've seen the weekly videos on social media, documenting how we decided on the project, built the team, agreed on scope, and bridged the gap between marketing and development. Now, for a more official project update, this blog post digs into the projects that are in-flight and the results we're seeing as we move toward the end of 180 days. 

See our videos documenting the 180 project on YouTube

You'll remember that we split the project into three tracks — the UX track, the Technical Track, and The Storytelling track (which you're seeing here). This post reveals what's happening in each of those tracks. But first, some results: 

Improving Load Time With a MarTech Audit

In just five days, our growing WebOps team significantly improved the quality score and load time of four high volume pages through a MarTech audit.

We executed stack optimizations for eight tools, including Visual Web Optimizer, Intercom, Crazy Egg, Floodlight, LinkedIn Insights, Oktopost, Quora, and Twitter, and reduced our load time from 4.37 seconds to 3.45 seconds. Plus, we improved our quality score from 80 to 87 across the four pages.

Here's how we did it:  

Image above showcases the improvement we've measured in our quality score and load time of four high-volume pages. 

Engaging Visitors With a New Experience

We restructured and rebuilt our pricing page to reflect Account-based pricing and to introduce new messaging. Initial experimentation showed:

  • Visitors are engaging with multiple CTAs 

  • Primary user focus is on Packages

  • There's high interest in the technical sheet

  • Many users specifically search out pricing

Next up: Content optimization and layout improvements based on usability testing 

Heat mapping of the pricing plan page shows what's resonating with potential customers and what's not. 

Decoupling the Website on the Technical Track 

As part of the modern website technology track, we plan to implement a series of new approaches to how we deliver end-user experiences, leveraging modern CMS and web development techniques. To do this, we're exploring a wider swath of Pantheon’s own tools, including current add-ons like the Advanced Global CDN, as well as future capabilities like Edge Sites. We're also looking to prove the value of certain partnerships. 

To achieve this, we've created a month-by-month plan, which extends beyond the 180 days. In April, we're starting with one page, and one page only — the How to Kill the Website Relaunch ebook page is now decoupled and lightning fast. Here's our process:   

  • We aim to validate the impact from a decoupled ebook landing page

  • We leveraged Storybook components and Gatsby for the build 

  • We are now measuring improvements in core web vitals, bounce and conversion rates post-launch 

Personalizing Experience on the UX Track 

We established three target personas as the basis of our UX research, and we're starting to build personalized experiences and user flows for each persona. This begins with a tailored "thank you" page that appears after an ebook download, and a tailored home page that appears according to click-throughs on paid campaigns.

The goal is to expand each user's exploration on and, in turn, gain a deeper understanding of what they're looking for, where, and why. 

Serving up Transparency on the Storytelling Track 

Other than a slight glitch (our video editor's hard drive ran out of space and wiped itself entirely … good times!), we're on a roll with the storytelling track. You can read our introductory blog post and watch our five video chapters to see how we're progressing:

Next week, we'll resume our video storytelling and show you what we learned from an internal technical review. Beyond that, you'll hear more about the results of our ongoing experimentation!

Improving How we Operate as a Team

A major goal of Pantheon 180 is to improve the way we work as a team, cross-functionally, by adopting WebOps ourselves. We aim to cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement, to aggressively pursue operational agility, and to enhance collaboration between Marketing and IT

This is the trickier part of the project but we are making progress. The sheer volume of testing, adjustments, more testing, and more adjustments shows that we're adopting an agile, iterative approach to updating our website through Pantheon 180. We're choosing to decouple "one page, and one page only" in April for this precise reason — first we will validate the impact it's having, then decide if it's the approach we should take moving forward. 

Ultimately, we're making decisions based on data, and adopting tools, implementing new features, and updating messaging according to what we're learning. How we're learning is through listening and measurement — user testing, heat mapping, talking to customers, and measuring conversions and bounce rate, etc. 

Cross-functional collaboration is also at an all-time high. In a single Slack channel we have our Chief Marketing Officer, our Chief Strategy Officer, external UX and development agencies, as well as folks from our Marketing, Content, Technical, Sales, and Product teams. 

Communication is frequent, open, and sometimes messy. But slowly, we're learning to work better together, and iterate on those high-value improvements that will make us successful. More to come, stay tuned!

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Topics Content, Decoupled CMS, Development, Speed & Performance, WebOps

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