November’s ‘Site of the Month’ is a website of substance and style: COLORSTEEL® — newly developed by SilverStripe partner E2 Digital. With excellent project planning and execution, E2 Digital helped COLORSTEEL® achieve record levels of online enquiries and 43% increase in the year-on-year number of sessions.
For more than three decades, COLORSTEEL® has been protecting the places Kiwis live, work and play, earning a reputation as New Zealand’s favourite roof. As you would expect, the COLORSTEEL® team have built up a considerable amount of knowledge over those 30-plus years. In fact, it would be fair to say they’re the undisputed experts when it comes to roofing in New Zealand.
So how do you pass on that knowledge and expertise to New Zealanders? How do you guide them through the process of choosing the perfect roof for their home? How do you inspire them with colours and profiles, and help them find quality suppliers and contractors in their area?
That was the challenge for the E2 Digital team as they set out to reinvent the COLORSTEEL® website.
You can’t build anything without a plan
With so many moving parts in this project, it was important to have everyone on the same page. E2 Digital brought all the key stakeholders together to outline objectives, define target audiences and bounce ideas back and forth, to roadmap a clear direction for the task in front of them.
Leading the way
From the outset, one thing was clear – the end result would be a website driven by content.
And lots of it!
COLORSTEEL® is committed to forging a relationship with New Zealanders by delivering practical advice and relevant, engaging information.
Working closely with the team at COLORSTEEL®, E2 Digital writers set about creating the initial content for the site, developing everything from articles and case studies to the text that would guide visitors around the site. As a result, the website boasted just shy of one hundred pages on the day it was launched.
Mapping out the journey
With so much to say and show, user journey mapping was always going to be an integral part of the planning and design phase. At an early stage, E2 Digital defined two key audience sectors – homeowners and specifiers. Within these broader categories, there were also several user needs, most notably on the side of the homeowner.
There was a clear difference in the requirements when building a new home compared to that of re-roofing. The difference in user needs required a step-by-step process to be designed to guide each through the roofing process and make everything from choosing a colour to maintaining their new roof as easy as possible.
As easy to find as it is to use
E2 Digital spent time to develop an SEO strategy to ensure the site was easy to find and it provided the optimal user experience.
They carried out extensive keyword research and used search volumes to find out what Kiwis actually wanted to know. Keyword data is integral if you want your content to be found in search engines. Organic search traffic is the primary source of traffic for COLORSTEEL®, so E2 Digital made sure they covered the most relevant and highest search keywords relating to the industry.
Before launch, E2 Digital optimised on-page elements for target keywords. This included custom meta titles and descriptions, on-page copy, optimised images and site-speed enhancements.
As the website was moving to a new domain, E2 Digital ensured that all existing content was correctly redirected. They mapped out 301 redirects to tell Google where the new content was located, and implemented this to the htaccess file.
E2 Digital conducted both pre-launch and post launch SEO health checks using a number of tools. They used Google Search Console to monitor overall SEO health, ahrefs to monitor the inbound link profile and keyword ranking tools to monitor changes in Google’s keyword rankings.
Because the COLORSTEEL® website was launching on a new domain, it was important to generate inbound links. The backlink profile was monitored closely. The result was that improved content and resources on the new site quickly attracted many new links. This swiftly boosted the domain authority — within several days Google was ranking the new domain for target keywords. As a result, COLORSTEEL® soon began picking up a lot of organic search traffic. Links have continued to increase organically and are providing ongoing outreach ensuring the link profile continues to grow.
A change in domain is always a risky project from an SEO perspective. But with careful consideration from the start of the project and proper pre-live and post-live checks, it was a smooth process and the desired result was achieved.
Content Marketing has successfully driven organic search traffic, and initial research shows that the ‘thought-leadership’ style of content is helping to build trust. And, at the end of the day, trust is vital if you want to convert visitors into customers.
Blending form and function
The new website needed to represent a compelling proposition – a place that was both fun, informative and engaging. We think E2 Digital and the COLORSTEEL® team have achieved this through collaboration, extensive planning and great execution.
So they made it beautiful…
E2 Digital created a completely responsive site, which is as dynamic on a smartphone as it is on a desktop. The site is packed full of bold, evocative images – pictures of everything from roofs themselves to the natural environment that acted as the foundation for the colour range – all of which help to inspire the consumer and showcase the products.
…and they made it colorful...
E2 Digital knew from their research that colour was a key consideration for homeowners – it was the most searched term on the old site, and was an area they placed a lot of importance on during the design of the new one.
To inspire visitors, they developed an interactive colour palette, created mood boards for every colour in the range, and integrated a Pinterest feed into the site. They also wrote lots of content, covering everything from contrasting vs complementary colours to how to choose tones that work with your surroundings.
…and they made it useful.
From tools to help consumers choose a product suitable for their environment and information on the personality of different colours, the new COLORSTEEL® website is full of tips and advice. Articles and news items keep visitors up to speed with the latest innovations, concise checklists guide consumers through the roofing process, and an interactive suppliers directory makes it easy to find a professional in your part of the country.
Throughout the site the team employed strong calls-to-action, and made it incredibly easy for visitors to download resources and request more information.
They also created a dedicated suppliers’ section – a one-stop-shop for all the product information and technical resources roofers, rollformers, architects and designers need to run their businesses.
Behind the scenes
One of the main things E2 Digital love about SilverStripe is its intuitive user interface. During the site build, they customised the user interface (or administration section) to ensure maintaining and updating this very large site was as straight-forward as possible. As a result, the customisable blocks they developed have given the client almost complete control over content and content layout.
They also made great use of these modules:
- sheadawson/silverstripe-blocks: E2 Digital web developer, Hayden Shaw, gave a presentation on this module in October’s Christchurch meetup
- silverstripe-australia/gridfieldextensions: a collection of useful grid field components
- silverstripe/blog: working with blogging and comments in SilverStripe CMS
- wernerkrauss/cdnrewrite: to allow cdn image serving via Imgix.
No website should ever be viewed as a ‘set and forget’ solution. Constant monitoring and regular reviews of heat maps and user behaviours taught the team from E2 Digital a lot about the initial engagement. Those insights continue to form the basis of ongoing tweaks they make in a bid to drive more traffic and engagement through the site.
Visitor numbers have gone through the roof!
Shortly after the new site’s launch, COLORSTEEL® received record levels of online enquiries.
In the two months between mid-August and mid-October 2016, they received 5,940 more sessions than the previous period — an increase of 26%. Year-on-year number of sessions also experienced an impressive 43% increase.