Case Study

Sweet Sol

Web Design & Web Development

Overview

This project needed a new website…to be finished.  Sweet Sol were already an established business when they approached us, so already had their branding and discovery process down. They just needed a team of development superheros to get them out of a hole…

“Our experience with Richard at Torble Design and team has been a breath of fresh air. We were given a proper breakdown of work and met in person to discuss the project which was very helpful because we’re creatives and we visualise a lot of the plans.

We were listened to and above all supported with our ideas because it had to be in our vision.  We felt that throughout the process we were understood and given a line of communication without judgement, just possibilities, which is very important because this is a new idea for an online business and we have to stand out.

The true sign to a good company are referrals and I trusted Richard to forward my Brother’s new investment firm and, he too, is extremely happy with his website”

Kris Searle
Owner @ Sweet Sol

Homepage

Store Front

The Context

Sweet Sol are a confectionary store based in Herne Bay.  They approached us when the development team who were involved with the design of their new website, left them in the lurch with a half completed website and disappeared. Not surprisingly, their trust had been dented somewhat and were looking for a new development team they could feel confident working with that would get their project over the line. This was a slightly unusual one for us, as we are normally involved from the very beginning, but we met with them, restored their faith in humanity a little and got to work.

The Challenge

The first part of the challenge was working out what stage the project was actually at. Sweet Sol, at the time, sold via both their high street bricks and mortar outlet as well as their online store, which is powered by Woocommerce.

The online store has quite a significant amount of products, the vast majority of which have variants within them. For example, you can choose to have your sweets delivered in a jar or a tin. Each of these products, with each of these variants needed imagery and consistent descriptions and pricing information. When we put our detective hats on and got to work, it was immediately obvious there was quite a bit of work to do. A large amount of the product imagery had not been made web ready, meaning the file sizes were simply huge and not at all appropriate for use on a website. These rogue images needed to be manually hunted down and resized. Page load times are important on any website but even more so in an online store and large images are the number one way to reduce your loading times to a crawl.

Once the images had been taken care of, all the descriptions needed to be updated and made consistent. We always say that it’s the little details that really make the difference. If you can show the visitor that you care about those things on your own website, they will join the dots and assume you will care about their custom just as much. This all took some time but the benefits when you look through the website are very obvious.

Product Index

Individual Product Page

The Process

Despite us getting involved with the project someway down the line, we underwent the discovery process, albeit a little stripped down. We did this because we’re still in the business of helping companies achieve their business objectives, first and foremost. Our way of doing so is through the design and development of websites. So, we didn’t want to make any assumptions that what had already been created would ensure those objectives were met. It gave us a good platform for doing the work we needed to do.

We built a local development version of the website using the files we were able to get access to. Once the work had been completed locally we created a staging server which allowed us to show Sweet Sol the website without exposing it to the world. It also allowed us to run our technical checks on a live website to make sure that everything worked as expected.

At the time, the Sweet Sol domain linked to a Mailchimp landing page, which had become more temporary than was originally planned due to the problems prior to our involvement. They do say that good things come to those who wait so there was a real sense of relief when the brand new website, at long last, went live to the world.

 

‘SOLdiers’ Membership Page

The Future

Sweet Sol have some pretty ambitious plans in the pipeline for their business and we are pleased to be part of the journey with them. The website, as all of the sites we host, exists on one of our virtual private servers. These are fast, secure and importantly, scalable. As the business and the website evolves and grows over time, the server that it sits on can do so as well. It’s a very flexible and cost effective way of putting their website out into the world.

The guys at Sweet Sol are pretty hands on, which is great to see. We sat down with them initially, and a couple of times since, and showed them how to update the website as and when they need to. We’ve found that our clients like the flexibility of being able to update themselves yet still have us on hand if needed.

We still take care of all the backups and the monitoring of plugin updates as well as updates to WordPress itself.

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