The principal operational requirements of the project were to promote B20 Wessex better online and to help keep existing clients informed about deadlines and tax related legislative developments.
The structure of the old website was ambiguous, so we started by outlining a new service structure which better aligned to a typical user’s mental model of accounting practices.
Having identified tax briefing articles as a key requirement we then also positioned relevant calls to action (CTAs) at the bottom of each post, (as well as the side of service pages), to keep users flowing through the site and towards the contact page.
Articles and announcements would be updated frequently so it was important they were presented in the context of the service categories. We therefore ensured that when added, content could be related to similar content (related articles/categories and tagged articles) and across content types (articles related to a service page). The key benefit of this approach is that articles picked up on social media or a e-newsletter could be used to promote services and generate leads as part of a visitor’s journey through the website.
We took a content first approach to developing the website which meant that the copy could help inform the design early in the project. We worked closely with the client to develop a content plan based on the systems analysis which they then followed to develop the copy internally.
Thinking about the content holistically and early in the project helped to yield more tailored user journeys and meant that we were able to configure the CMS to work for the content rather than developing content to fulfil a CMS.
With a well-defined content structure agreed early in the project, were able to focus on ensuring that the unique requirements of the design aesthetic could be met.
Sketch was used to design the user experience to reflect the unique B20 Wessex brand, and ensure that the next step in a user’s journey is always highly contextual and clearly signposted.
The website was built using the PHP framework Laravel because of its flexibility and ability to serve fast, static content from TypedCMS which is loved by both search engines and website users.
Service Oriented Architecture
Rather than try to develop every aspect of the website from scratch we adopted a service-oriented architecture which allowed us to use specialist services such as Mailgun, Google Maps, Fathom Analytics and TypedCMS.
This allowed us to focus development resources on important functionality, reduce TTL (time to live) and power the website with well-known, trusted solutions.
The code field in TypedCMS allowed us to integrate some services directly meaning that in some circumstances updates can be performed without a developer.
Developing the B20 Wessex website as a custom Laravel project offered important advantages in terms of scalability and maintainability.
To meet their strategic goals, we were able to give the client exactly what they needed within their budget. The flexibility afforded by a TypedCMS/Laravel combination meant we could augment powerful custom functionality with timely, relevant well-structured content.
Laravel also offers important benefits in term of maintenance. The six-monthly release cycle means updates can be planned and there is no need to worry about third party plugins breaking or no longer being maintained. Hot fixes for Laravel are rare and almost invariably “non-breaking” changes.
Maintenance and future enhancements are also simpler thanks to the flexibility of TypedCMS, and the accessibility of the Laravel Framework with its large pool of skilled developers.
Adopting a service-oriented architecture helped to significantly reduce infrastructure requirements whilst maintaining performance and resilience.
TypedCMS serves media over a content delivery network (CDN) and takes care of data backups. This enabled us to deploy a single dedicated DigitalOcean droplet (virtual dedicated server) with standard backups to deliver both rapid performance and suitable resilience.
With no requirement for clustering or advanced network solutions, the deployment workflow can be conveniently managed using GIT attached to Laravel Forge.
B20 Wessex are an established, family run firm of chartered accounts, based in Melksham, and operating throughout Wiltshire and the Southwest.
As well as promoting the accounting services offered by B20, the requirements included a need to deliver up to date briefing articles and notifications about taxation, grants, and other related matters. These updates were considered especially important given the fast-pace of change in the financial sector, due to the combination of BREXIT and COVID-19.
Presenting the B20 service portfolio in a more logical structure and ensuring that articles and announcements could be presented in context was also noted as a key priority.
The B20 Wessex brand values of strong customer service ethos and deep roots in the local community, were considered highly important to the new site's user experience.
On the same page
The content structure of the old website had become somewhat confusing, so we immediately addressed this restructuring the service more coherently into two clear categories of Business Services and Personal Services with relevant sub services under these (for example VAT) each assigned their own page.
For the topical tax briefing articles produced each quarter, we developed a blog which allowed articles to be categorised, related, tagged, and most importantly output on the appropriate website service pages. This meant that someone reading about VAT services for example would always see VAT related articles in the sidebar of that page.
A key benefit of this solution is that articles picked up on social media or an e-newsletter could be used to help promote services and generate leads as part of a new visitor’s journey through the website.
Having identified tax briefing articles as a key requirement we then also positioned relevant calls to action (CTAs) at the bottom of each post, (as well as the side of service pages), to keep users flowing through the site, with the option to get in touch clearly signposted at all times.
We are delighted to announce
Announcements were a relatively late addition to the content. They required a start and end publication date, and the ability to automatically repeat some messages on an annual basis.
This was challenge was solved by the powerful date field functionality in TypedCMS. This allowed us to add a checkbox to the editor, resulting in the message appearing during the same designated period each year.
A newsletter was integrated to allow clients to sign up for articles and announcements straight to their inbox through B20's MailerLite based newsletter. The newsletter contains highlights key tax briefing articles and announcements for that period. It links back to the full article on the website for those wanting to read in depth.
We are very pleased with the new website and its look and feel. The approach by Honeystone has achieved a professional website which also has the functionality and structure required for the future.