Out with the old and in with the new…

Posted By  JC - Web Design Director10/07/19

So here it is, our brand new site! The latest digital home of Code and Create.

Our old site was the very first site we had, joining us on day one early 2017. It served its purpose well but it was a rushed job at the time and it began to show its age.

We could have continued to patch the old one together, making minor improvements and adjustments to give it a new lease of life but in all, it was a relatively standard WordPress site, reliant on a number of plugins that didn’t really like each other and fought like cat and dog at times, making maintenance a bit of a headache for us.

We’re a bit like a very good tradesman, they’ll do an unbelievable job for a client but at home they haven’t fitted the skirting boards they’ve had in the garage since 2015… We’ve been so busy and focused on client work that we didn’t have time to service our own site.

It came to a head when a client mentioned how tired our site was looking, not in a critical way, more an advisory point. It hit home hard because we knew that was the case and how could we convince our clients, old and new, that we are the right fit for them when we weren’t proud of our own website?

Website Design and planning.

So we knew it was time for a new site, we decided to set some goals. The site needed to be FAST, like, the fastest site we’ve seen. The site needed to be accessible, had to work on all devices and all modern browsers. Despite not being a marketing/paid search/SEO agency, we still wanted to comply with all these standards. The way we benchmarked our site was in Google Lighthouse / web.dev. Our old site at it’s worse scored a performance score of…. three ( too embarrassed to use the numerical version).

This was during a known conflict and very quickly improved once a fix was applied, however, it still demonstrated how poorly the site was performing. The internet is full of slow, cumbersome sites, which contribute to the massive amount of energy the internet consumes. We believe that by building clean and efficient sites we can do our bit to reduce this energy expenditure.

To WordPress, or not to WordPress?

We’re familiar with WordPress, but we’re not just a WordPress agency, we wanted to demonstrate this in our own site. We wanted to make our site stand out from the crowd. After days of research and weighing up alternatives we decided to build a site on Gatsby.Js, with WordPress being the data layer ( ok we said we’re not just a WordPress agency, and we’re not, but it would have been a shame to scrap or modify all our wonderful blog posts to date.)

Gatsby is a static site generator for react, as a result it is quick, really quick! Gatsby is still relatively new but with our passion for react and longstanding love for WordPress, it really felt like a match made in heaven.

The Build

The build was a really fun, collaborative process. The entire team have been involved in the design and build of our new website from the start of the project. Everybody has inputted a great deal to the project and clearly have a huge sense of achievement.

The Result

We released a client site last week and they scored crazy high figures on web.dev and really set the benchmark for our sites and how they should perform. To be honest, I felt like it may have been an unachievable standard, the figures were the best we had seen. However…. our site beat them in the areas where they didn’t receive a perfect score. Although we’ve not yet attained 100 across the board, we’ll be there soon!

“I want a crazy fast site, too”

We’d love the opportunity to build more site like ours, something entirely bespoke, set up to cater to your needs, modern and affordable. If you feel like you’re ready to discuss your next online move, get in touch!