2021 Website Design – Ecohab Wildflowers Gloucestershire
e recently completed this website for local start-up Ecohab Wildflowers Gloucestershire. Ecohab Wildflowers are a small scale wildflower nursery/grower producing a range of wildflower products and ecological consultancy services. We made the website over 2 weeks, working closely with the client via regular Zoom meetings. The project included research, web design & build, website optimisation/SEO and rank tracking. We followed up the build with a few sessions of teaching in WordPress so the owner was able to make basic edits and blog entries. Here’s how it went:
1. Keyword research is always the way we start with all websites. When someone types something into a search engine, for example ‘Wildflowers Gloucestershire’ this is a ‘keyword’ or ‘keyword phrase’. Not all keywords are equal. Depending on the industry or area you are searching in. For example, the search ‘Electrician Gloucestershire’ is more competitive than the search ‘Wildflowers Gloucestershire’ as there are more electricians competing for business in Gloucestershire than wildflower growers. Therefore it is harder to rank highly in search engines for an electrician than it is for a wildflower grower. (Though it is possible with hard work and good SEO practice).
So, now we understand this, as SEO managers we use tools to find out how competitive keywords are and the number of times people search for a given phrase before setting up the website. This way we know we are aiming the website at the right keywords to optimise performance. The information will also give us an idea of how much work will be needed to rank highly for a given keyword/search. You get a feeling for this with experience.
It is important to aim your website at searches that you can be competitive in, that have a good search volume, and ultimately that you will rank on page 1 for. Being on page 1 of Google etc is a game changer for any business as long as there is volume (demand), the company has a functional website and offer a quality product/service.
We looked at the national data and local data around wildflowers. Competition and volume locally is low. When this is the case we add in more keywords and will likely rank highly for these too. In most cases you would only target one or two keywords and locations per page. If you are targeting searches with low volume and competition you are able to aim at more keywords. Our keyword shortlist ended with:
Wildflowers Gloucester | Wildflowers Herefordshire | Wildflower Nursery Gloucestershire | Wildflower Nursery Herefordshire | Wildflower Plugs Gloucestershire | Wildflower Plugs Herefordshire | Wildflower Seeds Gloucestershire | Wildflower Seeds Herefordshire.
2. The client had another website so used the same hosting provider. AK Web Services gave me all the information needed and were easy to work with. We setup WordPress via the control panel, installed DIVI theme, installed WP Cerber security and EWWW Image Optimisation and Yoast SEO plugins.
Once this bit of admin is done you get into the build and customising the theme. We started with custom headers and footers. The header area is a great place to keep contact information and social media links so they are easy to find fo any website visitor. Also if you can get keywords into this area it is good to outline what the website is about as early as possible. We used a section at the top of the page with 5 columns containing headings and 3 icons with visual claims promoting their service.
We used shapes between sections, it helps to give the website a more creative flow and is a bit more interesting than a standard box layout.
This was followed with a large shaped section with a background image and 2 columns within. These contain a detailed introduction to the business and also a more visual bullet point version of services offered. This layout helps give that visual impact of what the company offers, with the choice to read in more detail. It is good practice to have your heading 1 as close to the top of the page after the header as possible. Your headings 1,2,3,4,5 etc should also be in order as you move down the page.
Underneath we had another section of text which again goes into further detail about the company and their qualifications and experience. It is important to have at least 500 words of quality, relevant text content on your pages. Especially the home page. Pages with long form text do better again and have become more important. See our article detailing this here. We also added a slideshow video, taking advantage of Divi theme WebM compatibility.
WebP has become the new standard filetype website for images – WebM is the video version of WebP. Both of these filetypes offer significant reduction in file size, which in turn improves load time or page speed (especially for mobile browsing). I tried several compression types and filetypes and WebM version was significantly smaller in size. With ‘mobile first’ and load time in mind we felt it was best to use this format.
Towards the bottom of the page we added a section with 4 columns featuring pictures with some styling. Once the homepage was complete we had several meetings with the client to make edits and changes as instructed.
We repeated this process for all pages of the website. Each page is focused on a different keyword. We build the desktop version on the frontend first. Then focus on the mobile version of the same page. The layout is tested, we often use separate sections and layouts for mobile using the visibility settings.
Once each page is built the backend is optimised including image alt tags, meta information and more using a checklist. We test how the site is setup in the backend being read by using browseo. This tool analyses many of the on-page SEO elements in one page display, much like a search engine is reading your website.
3. Once pages are built and on-page SEO is optimised we take the website through a page speed analysis process. First we enter the settings for EWWW image optimiser, make sure that WebP image conversion is setup, compression settings are optimised and do a final bulk image optimisation.
We move on to WP Rocket plugin to make sure both desktop website and mobile website page speed is optimised. We measure and get feedback via Google Pagespeed Insights and GT Metrix. Both tools give further feedback and tips on things to work on to further optimise website page speed. WP Rocket is user friendly and easy to setup though you do have to manually setup some features. WP Rocket also has a database cleanup tool which removes spam, trash, drafts and more. Our final task is to run this, empty cache and do a final test.
4. Following the build we submit the sitemap to Google Console/Bing Webmaster tools to speed up the search listing process. We also setup rank tracking with Long Tail Pro.
The less competitive keywords ‘wildflower nursery/wildflower plugs’ went straight into page 1 of Google search! Always good to get instant success.
We worked with Liz in 2 sessions to introduce her to the theme. By the second session she was able to make basic webpage edits, create a new blog post and optimise it!
We advised her to work on content to rank for the more competitive keywords. We checked in with the rankings this week and since she has been working on content she is ranking highly for all of her main keywords including the more competitive ones!
We wish Liz and Ecohab all the success with the new business and look forward to working with them on updates and future projects! She also left this lovely review:
Ian at IP Websites is very professional and knowledgeable about website design and specialises in website optimisation. He helps you to understand the technical aspects behind web design that are important when writing content for your website. He made me realise my audience and how to present things to a wider audience making the whole site more understandable and approachable. I have had some really good feedback from the website already. Thanks Ian!