WALTER ANDERSEN NURSERY GROWS UP ON THE WEB
We’ve just launched the new Walter Andersen Website and everyone is STOKED. As a result of a comprehensive planning and production process that matched redesign requirements with functional and business objectives, the site has all the tools and features Walter Andersen needs to promote and grow the company this upcoming year. Below are 10 reasons why their new site will yield big results now and moving into the new year:
1. Open Source Development Platform
We opted to develop the site using WordPress, the most popular CMS system today and winner of 2010 Open Source CMS Hall of Fame award. Each page of Walter Andersen’s site has been highly customized and designed for maximum usability, taking full advantage of WordPress’ features as a high quality CMS system. At the same time the development platform allows the “back-end” to remain very user friendly for the non-programmers at Walter Andersen who will update and edit the site on a day-to-day basis.
2. Built-In SEO Structure
Structural SEO throughout the site ensures all key SEO elements (meta keywords, description, and title tags) identify the site and specific pages for search engines. Each page has also been constructed for optimal SEO recognition, and combined with the most popular social media plugins to further increase site visibility out their in web crawler land.
3. User Friendly Navigation
While the overall site structure and construction of each page has been developed to optimize SEO compatibility, at the same time the human element of great design and usability has been maintained throughout. An easy-to-use navigation system allows actual people (novel concept), to navigate the site easily, find what they’re looking for and discover things they didn’t know they were looking for with ease.
4. Tracking Tools
Google Analytics has been embedded in the site to monitor and track web traffic, page visits and overall user interaction within the site. This allows for modifications and updates based on performance rather than “a hunch” as the site evolves and matures.
5. Ajax Tool
Ajax, a new open source programming tool that we’ve taken a liking to, allows us to include an array of “fancy” features to the site without breaking the bank. Favorites include the homepage slideshow, page pop-ups (click “Ask an Expert in the header”) functionality, the garden railroad gallery (click “Gallery” tab) and the team bio “more or less” functionality.
6. Online Video Viewer
With “fat pipe” broadband connections becoming the norm rather than the high end exception for the majority of web connections, video is here to stay as a key site component for creating interest, keeping users on the site, web promotion and SEO. To maximize SEO and visibility, we housed the videos on YouTube, and embedded a video player on the site that links directly to the Walter Andersen YouTube channel.
7. Customized “What’s New/News” Section
We created this functionality to satisfy Walter Andersen’s requirement that their employees (non-programmers) would have the ability to update the site with news, events and what’s new information on an ongoing basis. The WordPress “Roles” function made this a snap, with the added bonus that all new articles automatically post to the Walter Andersen Facebook wall, increasing both web traffic and page ranking by Google with the click of a button.
8. Easy Newsletter Sign-up Functionality
We opted to incorporate Mail Chimp, a very user friendly email management system into the “Newsletter Signup” functionality on the site. From the user perspective, it couldn’t be simpler: when someone enters their email and pushes “subscribe,” the system automatically sends them an opt-in email and adds them to the Walter Andersen newsletter list, voila!
9. Calendar Functionality
With an ongoing stream of events and activities, Walter Andersen required calendar functionality that could be easily updated. We opted to embed Google Calendar for its ease of use, friendly interface, depth of functionality and SEO friendliness. Gcal allows users to add the Walter Andersen calendar of events to their own Gmail calendars, which then automatically updates when new Walter Andersen events are added. For those users without Gmail calendars, we created iCal, html and xml versions.
10. Newsletter Archive
We don’t need no stinking library! We’ve organized all of Walter Andersen’s past newsletters for easy access and download, dating all the way back to the digital stone age (circa 2003) when PDF newsletters and the wheel – were first invented 😛