Anything Narrow Gauge is a medium size business based in Devon run by Simon Whenmouth. They have a shop in Holsworthy but also travel to events and trade shows up and down the country promoting and selling their goods. Their main area of business is selling new and used model trains and hobbyist railway equipment. We have recently re-developed ANGs website to be a responsive fully fledged e-commerce site.
Project Considerations And Requirements
The goal of the ANG rebuild was to add mobile responsive design and integrate the WorldPay payment gateway. In addition Simon was looking for a way to improve search ranking. Simon was happy with the basic look and feel of the site and wanted to retain this as much as possible whilst still having the design be responsive. We responded by re building the site using the OpenCart platform, tailoring responsive templates to match the designs of the previous site. The CMS used by the original site used URLs that included ids and other query variables so it was important for the improved SEO Simon was looking for to transform these in the new site.
Simon has made extensive use of social media to promote his business and its products and as such has many links to his products on these sites. It was of utmost importance that these links still worked once the new site went live.
SEO, Usability & Scalability
We chose to rebuild the ANG site using OpenCart. We chose OpenCart because it is a very well built, well supported and very scalable e-commerce platform. Using OpenCarts SEO URLs we were able to eliminate query variables from the address bar thus improving how search engines index Simons pages. In addition, OpenCart gave us the flexability to customize its core code to allow us to eliminate query vars all together. Using a combination of our own custom URL rewrite code and some clever server redirects we were able to ensure that any links pointing to the old site will land up on the correct page of the new site.
What We Brought To The Party
A concern Simon had was the migration of his data. He and his employees had dedicated many hours over the years ensuring the site data was entered accurately and was maintained to the highest level. A requirement Simon had was that the new site needed to have the ability to import his old data without him needing to manually re enter it.
This was a challenge as the old database was very different to the new one. Using our extensive knowledge of databases, we were able to create a set of SQL scripts that could be run at any time that quickly and accurately populated the new system from the old data. Simon was very happy with this because he had heard that many people simply suffer the inconvenience of having to manually re-enter their data when they get a site overhaul.
The new site gives Simon and his employees complete control over the content of his new site. In addition to the data, he also has control over his meta data and is now able to target keywords he defines on any given page. Although computer literate, like many business owners however, Simon simply can’t afford the man hours required to learn the ins and outs of SEO and this is where Richer Sites comes in to help out. Working together with Simon, we analyse those sites that are competing for the keywords he is. We help structure his pages, content and meta data to ensure ANG has the best possible chance of being elevated above the competition. In addition we also help run the analytics and regularly scan the site for broken links and spam inbound links that may otherwise harm the SEO performance of the site.