Case study: Woodlands Environmental Management

In August I was approached to update and rewrite the website for a private environmental consultancy, Woodlands Environmental Management. While normally I don’t provide WordPress design services, for this particular job I did.

The brief with Greg Stone was to keep the site simple, professional and informative with the focus on potential private clients. A portfolio or social media presence is likely to be implemented in the near future.

Due to the business’ strong client base and dominance in their field, referrals were forming approximately 70% of business, so Greg did not want to invest in social media that did not offer a high rate of incoming business.

My final brief was to rework the website to provide clearer information on services available, identify potential new business opportunities, and improve the site’s Google search engine ranking.

Research

The first task was research. Woodlands Environmental was already tracking well for Google search results that targeted environmental consultants in the Southern Highlands. However, the primary competitors for Woodlands were tracking higher in Sydney and Canberra, with the Woodlands website not even on the first five pages of results.

Competitor websites were primarily focused on legalese and were busy, full of images and graphics, and were primarily targeting large-scale developments, businesses and urban planning. In contrast, Woodlands was tracking well for the exact titles of reports — Flora and Fauna Report, 7-part Test. What was also apparent in keyword research was that ‘environment’ was strongly paired with ‘sustainability’.

Switching Woodlands’ focus from a curriculum vitae targeting big developers to private landholders seeking reports and advice on sustainability within their private properties made sense.

I discussed this with Greg, and found the majority of the work his business most enjoyed doing was in the private consultancy with landholders seeking to protect or restore their land, rather than the larger-scale developments or government contracts.

So rather than competing with Sydney-based environmental consultants, we narrowed the target market to private landholders and small business owners seeking to develop their own properties across the entire southern NSW region.

Further, the original Woodlands website only described the location of the business as ‘South Coast’, which automatically excluded the site from Google search results for Sydney-based consultants, Canberra, or Wollongong.

Due to the Woodlands website being hosted by WordPress, my options for SEO optimisation were limited but content could still be improved dramatically.

Before

The original website was a simple WordPress blog with a list of previous and current projects, and a small amount of information on the business owner.

The company is well established, with strong credibility, within a niche market that works B2B and with private clients. To ensure that Woodlands was reaching all of their target market, I had to redevelop the website to focus on the location of the company, the services available, and make the most of the company’s strong track record of successful projects.

Here’s a screenshot of the original Woodlands Environmental Management.

Before -- Woodlands Environmental Management
The original Woodlands website

The original site had six pages: Home, About, Contact, Current Projects, Previous Projects, and Gallery.

Of the six, the Home and About pages had almost exactly the same content, and did not clearly inform the viewer of the location of the company, the identity of the business owner, or the services available.

It also did not have a call to action on any page, or contact forms, images or updated information.

After

After -- Woodlands Environmental Management
The updated Woodlands website.

The first major problem with the original website is that it did not have a dedicated page for the services Woodlands offered. Most of this information was hidden on the About page, which I reworked to focus on the existing short profile of Greg Stone’s qualifications, employment history and experience in the environmental management field.

Next the new Services page was created as a simple list. All of the services offered by Woodlands are technical, legal or extremely specialised, which made it easier for me to optimise the website, as keyword research showed that almost everything on the Woodlands website was relevant to the majority of keywords people were using to find the company.

The primary challenge was to create a basic call to action that encouraged people to contact Woodlands quickly and easily, rather than working through several pages to find contact information. I added a contact form and the primary contact information to this page as well as the Contact page.

The Previous and Current Projects pages serve as excellent testimonials in themselves, showing the vast amount of experience — and the sheer volume of work — that Woodlands has. Maintaining the previous requirements to keep the website simple, I decided to forgo testimonials and rely upon the information already provided by Woodlands to confirm credibility.

A social media presence is being considered for Woodlands, which would also translate the Project pages to a more immediate and engaging online presence.

Identifying Opportunities

While working through the list of services offered by Woodlands, I also noticed a brief reference to workshops. I went back to Greg and asked for further details. The workshops the company offered were for government and private clients on environmental issues across the board. This was a huge business opportunity buried in a dry list of legal reports.

Creating the Workshops page to remain on brief (simple, informative and clear) still offered a little more room for creative copy. Establishing the workshops as a viable part of Woodlands was something Greg was happy with, as it was a more engaged and creative area of the business than the reports and legal documents Woodlands mostly dealt with.

The Gallery will continue to be updated with photos that will be transferred to social media once a strategy has been created that Greg can maintain with minimal outside assistance, that offers fresh and relevant content to past and future clients. The Gallery is an excellent opportunity to lift a basic information website to a more engaged and interesting site.

Conclusions

Taking on the Woodlands website was a small project that was enjoyable for the fact that I was working with a well-established company who already had the clients and marketing they needed. My job was to develop their website to kick-start a new online presence. Rewriting the original website was enjoyable for the restrictions it challenged me with, but still offered room to find and create new opportunities for the company’s future growth.

Woodlands still has a lot to do with the development of an online presence, but I enjoyed assisting Greg in creating a website that would offer clear, concise information to prospective clients, and would be easily managed by Greg from here on.

Are you a small business owner looking to update or create your website? Contact me today for a free assessment and quote.

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