Latest posts by Donncha Hughes (see all)
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I was delighted to work with Banner Marquees & Party Hire Ltd on the recent redesign of their website – see screenshot of homepage below
The Problem with the Old Site
The old site design was actually very good. It was colourful and had lots of nice pictures but it was developed maybe ten years beforehand, the designer had moved on, and the business owners had no way to update the site themselves. They had invested in new stock and had new pictures that they wanted to add to the site.
The website design plan for the new site was easy to construct as the Menu Navigation for the new site would replicate the old version – if something is not broken, there is no need to fix it.
The other issue with the old site was that it did not have Social Media elements – such as Like and Share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and did not have Facebook Like Boxes – which are expected now. This is definitely a Facebook friendly business – proud parents sharing pictures of their children with all their friends is wonderful Word Of Mouth marketing.
Key features of new site design
We were looking to create an easy to navigate site with lots of photos. Banner Marquees have over 25 different Bouncy Castle Units to include Garden Slides, Obstacle Courses and what are called Combi-Units which feature a slide and a Castle. These range in size – the 50ft obstacle course looks brilliant. The owners want people to ring them to make inquiries – they find that a lot of people know the name of the unit that they are interested in so they were keen that all images be properly captioned.
#.1 Lots of Images
There are over 90 photos on the website. All the images were optimised in advance of uploading (using Image Optimizer.net where required) so that the site would load fast.
#.2 Image Slider on Homepage
The free WordPress Theme by Themes & Co was selected as it was responsive (would look good on mobile as well as laptops) and it has a built in Slider on the homepage. We added six individual sliders that have a button linking to specific pages on the website. With this theme you can have a Slider to include different ones on each page but we decided against that (you can have too much of a good thing!).
#.3 Featured Sections on Homepage
The Theme has three Featured Sections on the homepage so we choose to feature:
– Banner Marquees
– Castle & Slide Units
– Obstacle Courses
allowing potential customers to get a quick overview of what Banner Marquees & Party Hire Ltd can provide for their special occasion and quickly click into the relevant area for further information.
The Footer Section of the Website was used to display the Address in one block, the Find Us on Facebook Box in the middle block, and a mini Navigation Menu in the third and final block. These appear on every page.
Please note that I added some Custom CSS to change some colours on the homepage.
#.4 Social Media
As mentioned above we added a Facebook Box in the footer. We also added a Facebook box this time including the pictures of the Fans on the About Us page. Social Share Icons were added using Jamie Social Icons plugin.
#.5 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
There are 13 pages of text and photos on Bannermarquees.ie – a blog could easily be added. A FAQ page is a great way to answer questions that will be asked by customers and also include content that has typical search words. Time was also spent ensuring that accurate meta descriptions were added to the site (using Yoast SEO) and of course we added relevant Alt Tags for all pictures and ensured that permalinks were formatted correctly.
Working with eLive – the Host
It was my first time engaging with eLive.net, based in Limerick and I must say that I am impressed. Our mutual client is not tech savvy and eLive were very helpful in making sure that she was happy with the process. They installed WordPress on a subdomain so we were able to work on the site for 2 or 3 weeks and then they facilitated the site to go Live. They also set up a professional email address to match the URL.
The old website was performing well in Search Results for relevant terms and we did not want to lose this value. The old website was built in php so the website page addresses other than the homepage would be different. eLive agreed to edit the .htaccess file in the root directory to redirect each of the pages in the old site (only ten pages) to a page on the new site. Overall, I would have no problem recommending eLive as a hosting provider.
Hope you enjoyed this post. I would like to thank Banner Marquees for the lovely testimonial of my work. As always comments welcome.