Last weekend we rolled out the new Goringe Accountants website. The website is all designed and managed in-house by our CTO (and Nicky’s husband) Alex.
The content is all pretty much the same, but the UI design needed a refresh. Lots of hard work was put in and late nights were worked, but I think we are finally there now.
The current website uses WordPress content management system at its core, but that wasn’t always the case. This is actually the fourth major iteration of the website. The very first Alex hand-coded in HTML from scratch back in 2007:
The new site is based on HTML5 and CSS3 for the very latest in web technologies. Including features such as:
- Ultra-responsive design to be mobile friendly
- Parallax backgrounds
- Multi-layer slider on the home page
- A sticky menu that scrolls down as you do
- Embedded google maps title background on the contact page
- Case studies category animations
- Rich Snippets mark-up for enhanced google listing appearance
- AddThis Smart Layers sharing (floating on the left of each page – or along the bottom for mobile devices)
- Search Engine Optimized
- And lots of other goodies!
We have tested in IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. On Windows PC and iOS devices. All seem to pass quality control, thus far at least!
As I learnt more and more about SEO (search engine optimization) over the years I discovered that to rank well in the search engines, ‘content is king’. The more unique, well written content you have the higher your whole site ranks in search results.
Unquestionably the most straight forward way to do this for a small website is by writing a blog. WordPress is a great platform for managing blogs (aka ‘posts’) so over time we migrated to this platform.
Google Analytics measured traffic to the website tells the story best:
- Point a: started doing SEO on the website
- Point b: added WordPress just for the blog section of the site
- Point c: whole site migrated to WordPress
WordPress also lets you switch ‘themes’ easily to update the template of the site all at once. The last design was based on a template theme called Polyon, the new one a theme called Avada. By creating a ‘child theme’ you can customize your website using these core templates as a base.
I use a tool called InstantWordpress to run a local copy of our website on my PC. This allows me to develop the design of the new site offline, which when ready can be rolled out to the live website in one go. This minimizes downtime and negative impact to the website users. It’s a very handy tool indeed.
SEO and CM are huge topics that are simply too much to delve too deeply into here. As a quick overview…
Search engines have been updating their algorithms constantly for the last 20 years now in order to provide users with the highest quality, most relevant results possible. Keeping up with this ever-changing landscape is challenging to say the least; especially on a small budget.
If you do something today that Google doesn’t like tomorrow then you can disappear from their rankings over-night!
- Google’s Panda algorithm penalizes poor site content
- Google’s Penguin algorithm penalizes poor-quality/paid-for inbound links.
- Google’s Hummingbird algorithm looks for natural language on a page ie. that the content is well written and targeted for humans consumption and not just to trick search engines into ranking well with lots of keywords.
Google has 89% of the market share in the UK right now, so you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of them.