When Ropers Leisure approached us in early October they were looking to make enhancements to their existing website, but as the conversation evolved the project turned into a redesign and rebuild of their entire website; a website the client wanted to launch by Christmas.

There are so many reasons why launching before Christmas wasn’t the most ideal situation but it also presented a rather intriguing challenge to round off 2014; and one we succeeded at thanks to an incredibly receptive client and our excellent team.

WordPress to Bespoke

One of the main reasons we recommended to the client to rebuild the website was due to the existing website being built on the WordPress platform. In addition to the standard functionality of WordPress the website also included at E-commerce platform as well as additional post types for Caravans and Motorhomes.

Many evangelise the extensibility of WordPress as a content management system but while it does many things very well, at Bronco, we’ve always been of the opinion that it’s not the ideal platform for an E-commerce website.

If you do go down the route of using a platform then there are a number of these specifically built to serve this purpose but for us our ideal solution is to build a bespoke system where we have the ability to create anything and have it specifically tailored to the client’s needs.

Refreshing the existing design

The previous website utilised a responsive WordPress theme that had been tweaked to suit the client. Unfortunately partly due to the theme being responsive the layout of the website would appear broken at particular sizes as the content did not fit within the expectations of the original theme designer.

Our goal wasn’t to radically change the look of the website, the logo and colour scheme remained the same, but to fix all the issues of the existing design and make improvements to produce a more polished and better converting website.

A foundation on which to grow

The functionality within the Ropers website isn’t all that complex when compared to a number of other online shops we’ve built. It allows for multiple options to be added to products, and included a whole separate section for Caravans and Motorhomes for customers to enquire about before visiting the showroom.

But while the website is fairly light on advanced features it is built so that it can evolve as the client grows and they identify new opportunities to improve the website for their customers. Already there’s a list of extras that couldn’t quite make it for the Christmas launch.

Christmas

With such a short timescale for a project we were very lucky that the clients were quick to respond. Even design sign off and testing phases that often take what seems like forever were quickly dealt with.

Yet there’s a sense we’ve been lucky as not all projects are so seamless and not all launches go so smoothly as to be confident a site won’t break over such a long period out of the office. A launch so close to Christmas isn’t something we’d really recommend but maybe we just managed to pull off a Christmas miracle this time.