If you haven’t yet noticed, we have a new website! Website redesigns are a long process, and many times they aren’t done for the right reasons. Most people do it for aesthetic purposes because they get bored with the look of their old site. That’s not always a good reason to do a redesign. We took it much further than an aesthetic update and upgraded our architecture, CMS, look and functionality.
A new name, a new look
It was time to simplify things around here. First, we updated our name from Thunder Internet Marketing to Thunder SEO, and updated the logo accordingly. We also designed new business cards, a fun twitter background and had reusable coffee mugs made with the new nomenclature. Thunder Internet Marketing was quite a mouthful, and with the continuing integration of social media and SEO, we decided most people are comfortable with “SEO” referring to online marketing in general, so we shortened our name to Thunder SEO. Many times we refer to ourselves just as “Thunder;” in fact, now most everyone, including clients, calls us “Thunder.” Also, with the new name we could make new divisions such as Thunder Social Media and remain under the umbrella of Thunder.
The next big step in rebranding was a new theme for the website, but we decided instead of just updating the theme we would leave WordPress and move to Drupal to add some new functionality along with an updated look. Each day we realized our old website was an inadequate representation of Thunder. We wanted to bring our color scheme into the site in a more mature manner. The new design is definitely bright, but is a better reflection of the Thunder personality. We are also going to bring a bigger focus to each member of the Thunder Team. Each person has their own page with their bio, photos and a list of their most recent blog contributions.
After two years of using Drupal for other projects and some experience with WordPress, I have come to realize that Drupal is the developers CMS. While WordPress is fantastic for new bloggers or less technical clients, we were quickly outgrowing it. We needed a few things that WordPress couldn’t provide as easily:
- Custom content types
- Database queries to bring tagged content into corresponding pages
- Multiple authors contributing to single posts (see a Thunder Boom for an example)
Custom content types
We not only have pages and blog posts, but also the Thunder Booms, which have taken off and needed to be a separate item from the regular blog. The html for the Booms in the WordPress site was getting ridiculously complicated, so we created a custom and somewhat fancy content type in the new site to make it easier to input the Booms. Also, every person is able to go in and edit one already started for the week.
If you are familiar with Drupal you will recognize these as “Views.” This is a slick module that will find all items with a particular a tag or category and show a preview on a related page. For example, any blog post categorized as Local Search will show on our Local Search Marketing page. This kind of function is possible in WordPress, but it’s not nearly as easy as in Drupal.
Mulitple authors for a single post
Since the Thunder Booms have become an important ritual to us, we wanted them to be attributed to multiple authors. I’m not sure this is even possible in WordPress. In Drupal we attached each user to a taxonomy term, so it appears that each Boom is authored by everyone who contributes for the week.
Oh yeah, we can’t forget the SEO stuff we did, I mean it’s not like we are an SEO agency or anything.
In a nutshell:
- Page-by-page 301 redirects
- Categories are all based on transactional keywords
- The form has a custom confirmation page with a unique URL for conversion tracking
- The blog posts dynamically feed into corresponding services pages to keep the pages fresh with new, relevant content regularly
- Added a contact form on every page of the website, instead of just on the “Contact Us” page
- See our Local Business SEO Checklist for a full list of on-page optimization elements.
We would love to hear feedback on our new name, new cards and especially the new website! Shoot us an email info [at] thunderseo [dot] com or leave a comment.