This is the 2nd generation of the FirstTracks Marketing Group website that I launched in October of 2010. After being in business for just over a year it became very apparent where the short comings of the previous website were. It was too confusing and difficult for people to post new article content to the homepage, hard to publish features to the homepage, the portfolio was so so at best in presentation and design and the menu management was too rigid. My primary concern in switching themes and upgrading the entire package for the new site was to take more advantage of the new features that WordPress 3.0 provides such as Custom Post Types and easier Custom Menu Management.
Making it easier to create content
One thing that I can say without a doubt is that when you work at any small company or business like FirstTracks Marketing Group one of the last priorities on people’s to do lists each week is what they are going to add to the website (mostly because everyone is wearing so many hats all the time). My main challenge with this newest version of the website was to make it a painless as possible for ANYONE at the agency to add both work samples and blog article content. At the end of the day weather people want to admit it or not your company website isn’t worth having at all without some kind of regular support plan and focus behind it designed to attract traffic and generate leads. This as many online marketing professionals will agree is something that cannot happen without regular commitment and support to focused, relevant content generation, which is precisely what this new website has allowed FirstTracks Marketing Group to begin accomplishing.
The best new features about this WordPress website
The new website for FirstTracks Marketing Group features very slick integration of WordPress custom post types. These are used to manage and organize the homepage slider content (images, titles, body copy, links, and button copy) and the entire portfolio (categories, sub-categories, images, details, links, etc). The best thing about these custom post types is that it allows you to separate the organization of your website elements by type rather than having to have so many additional categories nested into your basic posting structure of the website. These custom post types also allow us to generate custom editing screens on the back end which only deal with the specific assets that each post type demands, which really cuts back on the learning curve for the less tech savvy users. In my opinion these custom post types are a major game changer for WordPress, finally elevating it beyond an awesome blogging engine and so so CMS to a full-featured CMS platform that can do anything a Joomla or Drupal site can do.
- Custom post types allow for efficient portfolio and homepage messaging management
- New WordPress 3.0 menu management integration makes it easy to customize options for the site
- Multi-Category and dynamic sort portfolio system makes work sample sharing quick and easy
- Dynamic use of WordPress shortcodes to allow users to easily integrate design elements like Dropcaps, Tab Panels, Accordion Panels, etc
- Multiple contact forms designed to convert more sales leads
- Better company content focus and planning for Hospital and Assisted Living type clients
So has the new site been a success?
Still to early to say at this point. It’s only been live for a little over a month. I would say from a users prospective it has been a success because all the simplified editing tools and content types have allowed almost all employees to get involved with supporting the website with relative ease and producing great results. But how I will really judge this new site will be through the leads and business it will generate for FirstTracks. So far to date we have had a handful of submissions from the site but no conversions yet. It will only take a few to make this a profitable investment, so we need to give it more time and stick to the content generation plan to help draw in more traffic relevant to the types of lead we want to generate. It can be a very long process and to do any sort of accurate measurement we will need at least 6 months of content production and data to take stock of where we are at and make some decisions of how to continue to evolve site to improve it. I plan on updating our progress as soon as I can, so stay tuned.
If you have any questions about this or would like to put something like this together for your business please give me a call at 603-325-2429 or fill out my online request form and I will get back to you shortly with some feedback and options for your business.