When I was a kid, my parents bought an old, Victorian home that they spent the next 30 years restoring. They’d finish a big project and agree to take some time before the next one, but then my mother would scratch the corner of something — linoleum, carpeting, woodwork – to see what was underneath and, next thing you know, the next big project was underway.
I’m telling you this because it seems I just did that same thing to the Savoir Faire website. You see, we were just going to update the home page. Just some slight adjustments to refresh our look. Just a little pick at the corner.
However, as you undoubtedly anticipate, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Once we started thinking about how the home page should evolve to do a better job of telling our story, we realized that, in an ideal world, we’d want the larger website to evolve to better tell our story as well. And, if we were going that far, then it would be an opportunity to move the site from Joomla to a WordPress website, for the sake of the CMS and its better native SEO structure and coding.
Then it was on. We took a few steps back so that we could look at how we talk about ourselves and what we do and work to make the site match what we do and how we do it. We also took the opportunity of a website redesign to explore some lesser-used techniques to see how they function on our own site, to both set ourselves apart creatively, and to be better able to talk about them with clients.
For example, the hamburger menu is something that people are becoming more familiar with on mobile sites, but we chose to use it to render a full-page navigation menu on larger screens — in addition to how it will function on mobile.
We scrapped our existing navigation and chose to build our new one around what we do and how we do it — the actual services we offer and our process for implementing them. Websites of marketing and advertising agencies have become more and more enigmatic recently. I didn’t want to follow that trend. First, it’s not really our style — I explain a lot of the “why” behind what we do — and, secondly, I wanted to give visitors to the site a real understanding of exactly what we do. I didn’t want anyone wondering, “Do they do websites?”, or anything else about our areas of expertise after leaving our site.
We did end up bringing a lot of information and structure over from the old site. We had invested a good deal of time and energy into the site as recently as spring 2015. So, it was relatively new, but definitely due for an update. In this next iteration, we simplified some of the pages and streamlined the page structure, along with toning down the use of my pink color (a little).
We ended up needing new content for about 13 pages, which allowed us to take another pass at the search engine optimization, focusing on newer keywords and writing longer pages, which Google is responding positively to.
We did find, however, that those pages where we had new content required different templates and layouts from the content that was brought over from the old site. (And, over the summer, we will be taking another pass at the content for pages that were carried over.)
We used the Divi theme, which is extremely popular, but also extremely flexible. It offers nearly limitless possibilities for how pages can be laid out and designed. We’re not tied to a strict set of templates for every page. The theme’s popularity also means that many developers have contributed to expanding the functionality and templating of the theme.
WordPress also gave us the opportunity to implement two more Google-friendly features: accelerated mobile pages and enhanced schema markup.
We moved off Hubspot in 2017, after using it for several years. We felt that we knew the system well (and we have a couple clients using it, so we’re still in it regularly), and we wanted to try another inbound marketing system. At that time, we rebuilt all of our landing pages and forms on our Joomla site integrating form submissions with Mailchimp and Zoho CRM. At this junction, we made the decision to leave them there and put the Joomla site in a directory, allowing the WordPress site to become the main CMS, which meant that we didn’t have to duplicate that time moving all those landing pages.
InboundNow is the WordPress extension for inbound marketing, which we’re considering, but it would mean moving all the landing pages and forms again. For now, that enhancement sits in our “parking lot.”
Moving to a WordPress website allowed us to select a system that offered flexibility, and that we could build on over time. It’s like building a house when you know you’ll put an addition on in year five; you fit out the plumbing and the electric with that addition in mind. We know the foundation is solid, which allows us to work in phases. We’ve approached WordPress website development projects this way for some clients as well. As long as that foundation is built correctly, and you have a sense of where you’re going in the future, websites can be built in phases without ending up with information — or entire silos of information — that appear to be “tacked on.”