As a Web developer in Vancouver, this project was, by far, the most extensive website I have worked on. It had continuous additions and improvements that went on for months. We originally thought it would start as a ‘simple’ website – but no, it got more exciting than that! What was great about it was that the owners of this company were forward thinkers and already had a handle on how Internet marketing is carried out. So they were able to guide myself as the project manager handling the development of this site, in what they wanted with specific requests of marketing tactics they wanted to try. They had the vision, and I had to make it come to life on their site. I have to thank the designer, Sarah Ruediger, whom I believe has a newfound appreciation for widget designs after working on this site with me! I couldn’t have done any of this without her.
Widgets, widgets, widgets were the name of the game on this website. You may not think of it that way, but we had to do A LOT of widget designs to get this site displaying all the marketing material the client needed to have to convert their website visitors. From “Did you know?” widgets, to newsletter sign up forms that would feed into Hubspot or Office Autopilot e-mail lists, or widgets featuring other sections of their site for upsells and down sells; the extensiveness of widgets and custom sidebars on this site is what makes it so unique, and so varied.
To accomplish the many widgets and custom sidebars, we used Genesis Simple Sidebars and Widget Logic. Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin for WordPress (using the Genesis Framework) allowed the assignment of widgets to be simple for the client to edit in the back end. They could assign special sidebars to certain pages where it was deemed relevant to content. Using Widget Logic in addition meant that we did not need to over-do the creation of new sidebars for pages. If a certain page needed all but one widget, Widget Logic could be used with WordPress conditional tags to make sure it didn’t appear on that one page. This was especially useful for widgets that were meant to upsell you to the next available sales package, depending on which package you were viewing already.
But that’s not all, we also worked on specialty pages such as the “Packages” landing page design, and the “Special offers” designs. We tried as much as we could to ‘recycle’ designs of buttons and graphics to streamline the process of creating new pages with different purposes. This allowed for consistency throughout the site, and also a faster and more easy-to-replicate design for the client to be able to clone pages and add new content as necessary.
One thing we had to keep in mind while building this site was that the client wanted to test strategies before investing a lot into the permanency of designs and coding of the pages. This can be considered an agile approach to marketing online, which is thoughtful and progressive. However, the client needed to be able to make updates easily, and not everyone in their organization was trained in code.
This wasn’t the easiest combination, so a lot of the pages utilize HTML in regular WordPress pages. At least this way, the client could find the text they wanted to change and focus on only making changes in “Text” mode (formerly “HTML” mode in the WordPress editor). While automation with custom post types and such was desired, it wasn’t always seen as the best fit.
We used a cloning plugin so the client could easily clone pages and test different landing page strategies, all within their current site, without having to break navigation or user interface for the visitor by forcing them go to a sub domain after clicking on a link for more info (a pet peeve of mine, personally).
One of the main things this client wanted on their new site, which they felt was lacking on their old site, was control. They wanted the ability to make changes – a lot. They needed a good content management system that would not restrict the spacing they could utilize per page, or per widget. If something needed to extend, it should be able to. That’s the beauty of building a WordPress website, and why I love doing what I do – it helps the client and gives them control over the website they just invested in.
So kudos to the translation company and I look forward to seeing what online marketing strategies they have up their sleeve next!