Why did it go wrong? The website was completed, well past deadline, and had several glaring issues, including AOC losing all their existing Google rankings which they’d spent years working towards. Their business was going backwards, and this is where we were brought in to help.
The issues with the website were wide-ranging and had a negative impact on sales. Not only was this causing a huge reduction in website traffic compared to the previous site, but it was harder for customers to find and enrol into a course.
The problems included:
- Design: issues with unfinished elements, a poor homepage layout, the way courses were presented, and more.
- Courses: editing courses was difficult and required entering a lot of data in a specific way (which was easy to forget or mess up).
- Payments: the checkout and payment processes were confusing for users; customers were receiving duplicate receipts, and AOC had to double-handle a lot of data.
- Configuration: the website code was full of errors, the site’s language and time zone settings were incorrect, and there was sloppy/lazy development work in a huge number of areas.
- Speed: the website was very slow and hadn’t been configured properly.
- Management: the client didn’t have the necessary time or skill to properly update the website software, take backups, perform security scans, and so on.
- Search engines: when the old website was replaced, the developer didn’t take the necessary steps to inform Google about the changes, causing a sudden drop in rankings/traffic.
Step 1: Put a website management plan in place
Our website management packages cover several different options. Without going into all the details, AOC has daily website backups in five separate locations, ongoing website software upgrades and bug fixes, prepaid developer support, performance/speed scans, security scans, and more. This ensures their website is always up to date and running smoothly.
Step 2: Fix website issues
As outlined above, there were so many issues here. Instead of a large up-front payment, we fixed the most critical problems initially and have progressively tackled the other issues over time. This has seen a significant increase in conversion rates (the number of visitors who become paying customers), which is of course the main purpose of a website.
Step 3: Make website improvements
We looked at the site holistically to determine what was missing, what could be improved, and what wasn’t needed. There were many items, including adding the course search to the home page (it’s amazing that this wasn’t already in place), completely restructuring and redesigning the main menu, and making the site more mobile-friendly. These have again greatly increased the number of sales.
Step 4: Improve search engine presence
We needed to improve the website’s ranking in Google, fast! Our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) service is all-encompassing; we weren’t just ensuring the website was more visible in Google, but continually improving its content, adding new content, creating online business listings, setting up reports, and everything in between. The results were immediate and have been ongoing.
The website maintenance, fixes and improvements led to strong improvements in conversion rates, with significantly more visitors going on to enrol in a course. This was then combined with a 44% increase in website traffic from Search Engine Optimisation, one month after the service began.
The result was that sales increased by 50%!
From a very small SEO investment, AOC has now taken their business to the next level, allowing them to employ more staff, upgrade their office, and expand further into their target market.
What we learnt
This project confirmed to us that there’s a huge range in quality when it comes to web development. Many website developers simply don’t have the skills and experience to deliver on their promises and genuinely help businesses grow.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult for business owners to know the difference before they’re already working on the project, but we go out of our way to educate potential clients on what to look for.
From this project, and other recent ones, we’ve identified a few ways we can help business owners even more, when it comes to choosing the right web developer. Whether they choose us for their project, or another company, the main thing is that the end up with a web developer who delivers results.