We are super excited to officially declare our new website live! We’ve been working on our website on and off for over a year now. It has been hard to find time to work on it, though having too much billable work is always a good problem to have. We have now reached a point where we want to crow about it. Take a look.
We’ve added some big ticket items to the website, along with a plethora of smaller improvements.
To help cut through the web web jargon we wrote up a web lexicon containing terms commonly used in the web industry. We’ve been linking to it from within other pages of the website. At time of writing the web lexicon is 30,000 words, which we think is a fairly solid effort. We will steadily add new web words as time marches on. The web lexicon is a live document whichwill never be truly complete.
We are now delivering the website to you through the Cloudflare content delivery network. This has a few benefits including:
- The website loads faster in countries outside Australia (the location of our main server).
- The website is now heavily cached, decreasing loading times substantially.
- We are now transmitting data via HTTPS, which was a long overdue upgrade. This means data transmitted between visitors and our server is now encrypted, which is very useful when transmitting senstive information such as personal information or credit card details. We implemented this with Cloudflare’s free SSL certificate and an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt for the traffic between Cloudflare and our origin server. The encryption is just in time for our Quote Questionnaire which certainly gathers some personal information.
After using ourselves as guinea pigs we plan to roll out Cloudflare integration to our client websites in 2017.
Get a Quote Questionnaire
Possibly the crown jewel in the new website is our new ‘Get a quote’ questionnaire. We built the questionnaire using Gravity forms plus a substantial amount of customisation. These customisations include the beautiful stylings of Bootstrap 4. Integrating the two was a surprisingly painful task. We had to make extensive use of PHP DOMdocument functionality to get the necessary Bootstrap classes into the Gravity forms HTML.
Hopefully the form provides some inspiration on what can be done with complex form logic.
New Hero Banner
We also created a new hero banner on the homepage with new slogans pictured at the top of this post. We used a photo of the largest rail diamond in the world as a metaphor for the complexity business owners face when trying to navigate the digital world. We are pretty pleased with the results.
We based the website on a theme from ThemeForest. The theme was a classic example of bloated features and bad coding. There were a myriad of things that needed fixing. At this point we have stripped out the majority of the original theme code and replaced it with our own. In hindsight we would have been better off creating our own theme from scratch. The experience has lead us to be much more discerning when purchasing themes.
Great art is never finished, only abandoned. Even though the website is published there is always more cool stuff to add, more code to optimise. The next upcoming enhancement will be to create a short version of the ‘Get a quote’ questionnaire. This gives potential clients an alternative if they are time poor. There is also plenty of code in the backend which needs cleaning up.
Before that though, Phoenix Web is having a break. Merry Christmas and safe and happy holidays to anyone reading!