Dash Custom - Full Case Study

Client:

www.dashcustom.com

Budget:

Minimum £25K over 3 years

Objective:

Fix website that was not working and redesign

Background:

Dash Custom and Performance is a specialist UK manufacturer and reseller of motorbike parts for quality bikes such as Harley Davidson, Buell, Honda and many more. The business owner Dave Sharpe (‘Sharpie’) is an experienced designer and engineer of motorcycle parts and accessories, and has over 20 years experience of designing, making, repairing and fitting bike parts.
He also likes to ride.

A few years ago he decided to hire a website agency to develop him a website to sell his products online, and a selected catalogue of bike parts from other manufacturers.

Unfortunately, after many months of wasted effort, Sharpie was left with a site that was dull to look at, had very few visitors, was not indexed well in search engines and worse still had an ecommerce store that did not work. Prospective customers had to phone up to order one of the 5 products that were available.

The site was in such a poor state that Sharpie could not add the additional products he wanted to sell; and could not justify putting any marketing spend behind the site to help his business grow.

The site did not even rank on Page 1 of Google.co.uk for its own company name!

Solution:

Sharpie turned to the team at Website Redevelopment for help in fixing his website and for online marketing strategy, advice and Website SEO to help take his offer to market.

Meri Garcia, Marketing Manager WebsiteRedevelopment.com explains the challenge that faced the redesign team, “The major issue facing Dash Custom was that the existing site appeared to have an e-commerce facility, but only when the users started to use the site did it become abundantly clear to them that the e-payment gateway was not working. The site also lacked visual appeal, a clearly SEO friendly site architecture and only featured a tiny subset of the motorbike parts Dash Custom made and sold. It was also not clear what brand of bikes these motorcycle parts fitted. There were just too many barriers to a potential customer buying.

Still the team at www.websiteredevelopment.com is developing a reputation for effectively rescuing websites and restoring search engine rankings when a client’s relationship with a previous website developer or agency has gone awry. This is the process the team went through to complete the project to Sharpie’s satisfaction:

Client Research

The team used a serious of best practice website re-design questionnaires to ensure they had properly captured the ‘Commercial and the Creative Brief’.
This involved a telephone interview and face-to-face meeting with Dash Custom to establish the priorities and the branding issues that the design team needed to consider.

Market Research

The team identified several competitors who were selling similar bike parts in the UK and the USA. Using Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion tool and the keyword harvesting tools within www.analyticsseo.com, the team researched the key phrases and words that were going to be valuable for the redesigned website.

Normally, the team would heavily use website analytics data at this stage to highlight; keywords the site was ranking well for, keywords with potential to generate large volumes of visits (compare your ranking position in the SERPs with your actual organic visits from the SERPs) and keywords that generated the most sales conversions. Unfortunately, the previous agency had not installed a sophisticated (or even basic) website analytics package; so the team relied on secondary research and competitor analysis.

Site Structure

A site architecture was designed and site map identifying all the new pages and SEO friendly themes for each content section. This included specifying keyword rich URLs for each page and agreeing a structure and approach for the e-commerce engine to give to its dynamically generated URLs.

E-commerce tools, shopping carts and content management systems are notoriously bad at creating unfriendly URLs for users and search engines; and often cause duplicate content issues for site owners to deal with.

By dealing with this upfront, the development team was able to create a structure and process for creating the most user and SEP friendly pages and URLs.

At this stage the meta tags for all the static site pages were created in a spreadsheet; page titles, descriptions, keywords, H1 headings, URLs. There was a firm emphasis on ensuring that each section of the site had a relevant focus and that the internal linking structure was consistent.

Site Wireframe

An initial wireframe model of the main site pages was created using this great design tool called Balsamiq. This was quickly agreed with the client.

Site Design

The team then set the graphic designer to work based on the Commercial and Creative Brief, and the Site Wireframe. One set of minor modifications later a new design was signed off.

Old Site

Dash Custom Old Site
 

New Site

Dash Custom New Site

The key design objectives and elements were:

  • Communicate to users that they can buy online
  • Convince users that this is a modern and professional business
  • Featured products and manufacturers on the home page
  • Consistent navigation down the left hand side of the page with navigable breadcrumbs where the products are displayed
  • Powerful search and filtering technology to ensure that prospective buyer could search and filter results by make of bike, type of part, supplier brand or by keyword search

The feedback from the client, his suppliers and users in the new online forums has been very positive.

Content Management System Development

A team of two developers then set out to develop an easy to maintain, robust and secure Content Management System (CMS).

The team chose an open-source solution and installed and heavily customised Drupal V6.0 with a MySQL database to provide the power behind the scenes. The site is hosted with TSO Hosts who whilst competitive, are not necessarily the cheapest website hosts you can find, but their customer service sets them apart.

The implemented solution features a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor so updating and maintaining fresh website content is simple. It also allows different access levels and the team at Dash Custom can easily update product and information pages, run special offers, email newsletters and even move the menus without any technical know-how.

The beauty of this low-cost open source software development approach is that Dash Custom is not tied-into the team at www.websiteredevelopment.com when the initial contract ends as there are thousands of other developers who could potentially take the site maintenance, security, further development and hosting responsibilities on.

As Laurence O’Toole, Managing Director at WebsiteRedevelopment.com explains, “We try and ‘tie-in’ our customers through delivering what we say, when we say we will; by providing friendly and efficient customer service; and by focusing on our strengths and expertise in SEO and Website Redesign. We never use proprietary technology to tie-in our clients.

New E-commerce Features:

The site has a number of noteworthy features which may be worth considering when specifying your next ecommerce project:

User Friendly Design and Interactivity

  • Web 2.0 design
  • User reviews and ratings
  • Products can support multiple images and they can be enlarged nicely
  • Customer image uploads showing the part fitted to their motorbike
  • Online forum and blogging tools for the Dash team and its customers
  • More striking and colourful theme
  • Cross-browser compatible CSS and HTML
  • Works with Javascript disabled
  • W3C compliant

Search Engine Optimisation for E-Commerce Websites

The site has been built for search engines as well as users from the ground-up. It has SEO friendly URLs and meta data that is relevant to the page content and copy. It also has optimised images using relevant alt text.

The internal linking strategy has been conceived to pass page rank through the site to all the important pages.

Product Pages

In 2 months the Website Redevelopment team has helped Dash grow its product line from 5 to 3,500 products. Dash Custom is now one of the largest suppliers of aftermarket quality bike parts and accessories online in the UK.

Data Loading

Hundreds of man hours were saved by writing custom scripts and spiders to find, identify, categorise and load every new product. Then each manufacturer’s spreadsheet was checked automatically and manually for consistency before being uploaded to the test site for further user testing.

Payment Gateways

The previous developers struggled to implement with Dash’s preferred payment gateway provider Cardsave. Websiteredevelopment’s developers built a custom secure gateway using the Cardsave API. This was of course fully tested including with 3D secure before launch. There was a lot of paperwork to setup Cardsave, but from a technical perspective their system is in many ways superior to bigger e-payment gateways such as PayPal and WorldPay.

Increased Traffic

The previous website had very few visitors and was not indexed well in search engines. Since the start of our SEO campaign, the Website Redevelopment team has helped improve traffic to the website. Improvements include:

  • Increase in inbound links from 7 to 358
  • Number of vists per month has increased by almost 800 %
  • Number of pages indexed in Google has increased by over 3600
  • Keywords have also greatly improved in rankings

Lessons Learned

Visit Dash Custom’s website if you are looking to buy quality motorbike parts.

And do visit WebsiteRedevelopment’s website if you are looking for website redesign and SEO services.