At LightSpeed Development we redesign our own website on a regular basis, going on for our 8th time since 2007. Not all of our site revamps have been full redesigns, some of these were more incremental changes.
Almost all of our site redesigns have been done in-house with little input from outside. We have always researched and figured out what we want to do ourselves. We feel that our best redesign to date was in 2012, with many of the visual assets on the site remaining from then until now. But our site was starting to look a bit dated, so our latest redesign is a total overhaul.
Our latest redesign project outcome aimed to yield a solid platform for us to be able to market our suite of products, whereas previously the focus of our website had been primarily on our service offerings. It has been a very exciting year for us launching our suite of products onto the market, and redesigning our own website, using our own products, is the perfect place to showcase what we can do.
Challenges & Hurdles
With this 2017 redesign we changed every aspect of the LSX Theme and introduced a host of new extensions for it. Previously, our LightSpeed website was built entirely with our own LSX Theme software. We had done very little customisation to the actual theme for the site, as we wanted our site to be a showcase of what we could do with LSX. This ended up hurting our conversion rates quite badly.
We addressed this issue by doing wireframes and designs based on the new LSX theme to improve conversion. The updates definitely made a big difference, and in the future we’ll be focusing on a set of WooCommerce templates that will assist in personalizing the purchasing experience on our site , as well as our clients sites.
The redesign needed to have eCommerce as a primary focus, while also taking into account the growing number of users who visit our site on mobile devices and who had previously not been catered for as strongly as desktop users. With the latest redesign we reset the WooCommerce data, deleted all irrelevant data and only important products, reviews and active license orders. The active licenses were converted into WooCommerce Subscriptions to further improve and strengthen our eCommerce focus.
LightSpeed has two important accreditations to give credibility to our services, namely WooExpert and MailChimp expert listings. We consider these expert listings as major achievements. In 2014 we released our LSX theme on WordPress.org, a huge learning curve for us and a major milestone for our business. In mid-2016 we released our Tour Operator plugin as open source on Github and the plugin was approved on the WordPress.org plugin repo in Dec 2016. We also consider the release of our first paid plugins on our own website as a major achievement and the culmination of years of hard work from our team.
We have also recently been accepted into the Codeable program and this has given us access to more international clients other than the enquiries that come in from alternate channels, whether organic search, social media or referral links from other websites.
We needed to redesign with a mobile-first approach with the goal of making it possible to view all the important information on mobile as well as on desktop. While we see the need for effective design aimed at large screens, desktop and tablet, we have taken note that Google has made significant algorithm changes that favour mobile-friendly sites, so we aimed to improve interfaces so that conversion rates increase on both desktop and mobile.
A Shift from Services to Products
Since 2014, LightSpeed had been providing primarily Website Design and Development services to the Tourism Operator and eCommerce industries. We attribute much of the success from 2015 and 2016 to the fact that we decided to focus on firstly the tourism niche and secondly the WooCommerce market.
Since then though, we discovered that we could be profiting from our hard coding work by packaging our solutions as plugins and selling those to other developers. To that end, another main aim of the redesign was to move away from just focusing on the services provided to the Tour Operator industry, and to now include our suite of product offerings in that focus.
Our goal is to move towards making 50% of our revenue selling our plugins and 50% off project-related client work. Product sales will help us build a renewable income / subscription based income that will continue for years to come.
We want to increase the conversion of plugin sales and theme downloads. In the old version of the site this is something that we added as an afterthought – we added WooCommerce to the site to sell digital product downloads, and this didn’t work very well. This time around, we wanted to make sure that we looked at the user experience surrounding eCommerce pages like cart, checkout, my account, login, etc.
We definitely want to continue service-based business, but we want to choose the most profitable and appealing projects that purely use our own products. We know our products backwards and every time we sell a custom website based on our own plugins and LSX theme, the end result is improvements to our own codebase as well as a profitable end result. We use familiar software (our own), improve it, and provide a slick service to clients because the software fixes required (when required) don’t need to go through any other 3rd party support system.
For example, we are now selling full Website Solutions to Tour Operators. This allows us to do custom design for Tour Operator companies based on our LSX Theme and Tour Operator plugin. Each project built in this way results in growth of our own software and provides us with great showcase material. Our clients also benefit immensely from this process as they get a tailored solution specific to their businesses needs
Apart from catering our services to the Tour Operator industry, we are also focusing on punting our WooCommerce Website development services. This will be one of our primary targets moving forward.
Along with the redesign and redevelopment of the LSDev.biz site came the mammoth task of auditing the onsite content in its entirety. This meant not just proofing or rewriting existing products, pages, posts, documentation, etc, but also strategising and asking ourselves the difficult question of what content should be culled from the site. After some serious thought, we found that a lot of the content was really just bloat which was receiving very little traffic and, if anything, confusing the average user’s flow through the site.
The content audit meant that we needed to overhaul our documentation for our products, which was no easy task. They required better, more consistent structure, the removal of outdated or irrelevant older instructions and a general review for accuracy.
We also needed to review the state of on-site SEO for all our content, including blog posts. This meant adding excerpts, custom meta-descriptions, SEO titles, and proper categorization for each post. With the help of our Blog Customizer extension the end result was a more professional layout with more meaningful and structured metadata.
Forms across the site also needed to be optimised. We implemented new, simpler forms that reduce the barrier to entry for prospective clients in an aim to increase our conversion rate.
In terms of tracking, we made the move to using Google Tag Manager and additionally we implemented Thank You pages with message and trust factors.
LSX Extensions used in the latest Redesign
Thanks to using our entire suite of LSX “Post Type” extensions, we began cross-pollinating content like services, projects, testimonials and team members, which helps build an interlinking structure within the content with the aim to keeping customers on our site and engaged with relevant content.
Our work and portfolio is essential to showcasing our skills and potential to customers. The LSX Projects extension was developed specifically for LSDev.biz and we feel it has been a great benefit for our site. The Projects extension allows connections to other posts, displaying connected team members, products, testimonials and projects.
Our team are very important to our delivery. The LSX Team extension has helped us showcase our amazing team members and what they have done for our clients. The Team members are linked to services they have provided, projects they have been involved in and testimonials relating to the work they have done.
Our LSX Services extension was designed to allow us to build more effective service landing pages, and has been put to great use in building our services landing page as well as the individual service pages.
LSX Testimonials is a new extension that allows us to input well styled testimonials and link them to team, projects and services. We’ve used that on the new LSDev site too, displaying testimonials across many of our Project and Services pages.
LSX Banners was extended and now has a variety of config options, everything from title, tagline, logo, background image, call to action button options, etc. Functional banners aim to improve the look of pages and put our main CTA button forward to hopefully encourage enquiries.
The LSX Sharing extension has been integrated into all of our templates, helping our content travel across social channels as and when our visitors see fit to share what we’re writing about, whether it’s a service page, a product or a blog post.
Our products and services have received an overhaul at LightSpeed in the last 3 – 4 years, and now the website reflects where our focus lies. Your website needs can be met with a package of our own products, which we can customise as needed, without the delays of third party software support system.
Rather than just patching up holes in our theme with custom code we built plugins to solve some of the issue’s we were experiencing as a team during site builds for clients. This has enabled us to improve our products, create new ones and package them for a global customer base.
We’ve ensured that the new release of LSX is fully compatible with WooCommerce, and we can’t wait to further improve on this integration. We’ve built a solid foundation for this and have a clear idea of what we still want to achieve.
Our Tour Operator Plugin has gone through a massive design overhaul and we are really proud of the results!
This has been a long journey, that every LightSpeed team member was involved in. We are proud of the work we do, and now this is showcased on our website.