American Chamber of Commerce Resources (ACCR) engaged Lytical Design in Spring 2011 for several specific improvements to its Drupal-based e-commerce site, ACCR.biz. Lytical Design quickly addressed these and additional issues, with measurable results, including a 10-fold increase in online sales.
Because the working relationship is so positive, Lytical Design now oversees all ACCR digital programs as webmaster and has undertaken another large project for ACCR, a subscription-based service that makes ACCR documents available in digital form.
ACCR had several challenges that needed to be addressed. Short term, ACCR wanted a more efficient content management system to streamline deployment of new products, plus improved search-engine optimization (SEO) throughout the site.
Long-term, ACCR wanted improvements to the site’s design, messaging and e-commerce functionality. In this respect, many facets of the site were sub-optimal, hindering awareness of ACCR products and compromising the user experience and the ACCR team’s ability to make timely updates.
The first order of business was to update the Drupal site to the latest version, which not only addressed security vulnerabilities but also implemented bug fixes and new features that had been developed by contributors in the Drupal community.
I then worked with the ACCR marketing team to improve SEO. Along with basic education and adding standard Drupal modules that support page metadata and title tags, we streamlined the product hierarchy and taxonomy so that each product had one specific URL and the structure was consistent across all states and products. We also updated, fixed or otherwise redirected many URLs that were causing 404 errors.
Next were global design improvements and clearer messaging. We added a rotating testimonials block to the homepage and worked to streamline the navigation.
Finally, I worked with the product team to roll out improvements both in how the team input the products for sale and in the checkout process. One major improvement was combining different available product options, such as a printed book and PDF download, rather than continuing to offer them as separate products with duplicate descriptions.
To improve site speeds and loading times, we enabled some high-level caching and eventually moved the site from shared hosting to a VPS, where we were able to implement additional performance improvements.
Visits to ACCR.biz increased 20 percent, unique visitors 30 percent, and new visitors 15 percent in the first three months of 2012 compared to the same months in 2011 – proof of the efficacy of our SEO work. Page views, pages per visit and time on site actually decreased – a desirable outcome given our efforts to streamline navigation, shopping, ordering process.
But the most important result was orders: Over that same time frame, orders increased 1,000 percent and products sold increased 700 percent. And the improvement was immediate: between April and May 2011, site revenue jumped more than 1,000 percent, and monthly revenues from ACCR.biz since then have been consistently far higher than before the improvements were made.
Another important proof point is qualitative: the ACCR team – marketing, editorial, product management and user support – has consistently remarked “Awesome,” “Unbelievable” and “100 percent better” about the site. And one more: ACCR has made me a part of their team – knowing that I am always on-call for updates, bug fixes, training and general support – and has engaged Lytical Design for the complete development of its new subscription-based service.