You have to be very confident in your product to call it brilliant but that is exactly what Gail and Graham Woolston did a few years ago! They are a local independent gin producer and have developed their own branded gin, currently in 3 different flavours: London Dry Gin, Raspberry Gin and Distillers Cut. It is most definitely a Premium Product and is sold at establishments including Harrods, Fortum and Masons, Cowdray Park, Chichester Festival Theatre and many other outlets around the UK.
Challenges with previous website
When we first met them, they had been having many challenges with their existing website. It was built with WordPress and used WooCommerce as the e-commerce solution. We love WordPress ourselves, we have used nothing else for the last 15 years but we have a different approach to most other web designers, we don’t use 3rd party templates.
The original Brilliant Gin website, however, had been built with an off the shelf template. It cost $59 and was available from Theme Forest. Unfortunately, as is always the case with 3rd party templates, there were many errors in the code. In this case, there were over 70 errors on the home page alone. Fixing these issues would be beyond the skill of the designer who bought the template and would have broken the licence agreement anyway. This meant that, no matter how nice the website may look, the errors would make it difficult to gain good rankings with Google.
This is because Google does not have an interest in the look of a website, as Google is blind of course. What Google looks for are things like code quality, how quickly a website takes to load, whether it is accessible for people with disabilities and so on.
The Brilliant Gin website had a speed score of 6 (out of 100) on a mobile. That is very slow indeed. Websites with a lot of graphics and particularly ones with e-commerce always take longer to load but, even so, 6 is a very poor score.
A fresh new bespoke design
Gail and Graham approached us and we met (over Zoom, of course) to discuss their needs. They were looking for a new bespoke website and they had particularly liked the website we created for the Wiston Estate in 2018. After we had reviewed their current website and received their completed brief, we set to work.
Our designer Polly loved working on this website. The images we were supplied with were beautiful, the photography was excellent. The bespoke design she created was accepted immediately by Gail and Graham because she had truly captured the ethos and spirit (pun not intended!) of Brilliant Gin in a beautiful design that just looked stunning.
It is one thing to come up with a beautiful design but it still has to work as a website. It needs to work in different browsers, on mobiles and tablets and desktop computers and, most importantly, customers need to be able to buy the products easily. This Polly has done, and Gail and Graham are delighted with the results.
The previous website had a list of stockists. We have replaced that with an interactive Google map which obviously looks better but also is much more user-friendly.
Our copywriter Sam is extremely talented at writing very Google-friendly copy and we look forward to seeing how it performs with Google over the coming months!
The website is now loading 8 times faster on a mobile!
In case you are wondering, the page speed of the website on a mobile is now 48, 8 times faster than it was originally! This is the advantage of having a bespoke theme created for you, we do not allow our bespoke websites to get bloated with lots of unnecessary plugins!
One final point: Gail and Graham have never been able to manage the website before. They did not know how to change the content, add images and so on. Being able to manage your website yourself is very important in our eyes and we had our first training session with them yesterday!
Please do go and look at the website and, if you are a gin-lover, we highly recommend you try Brilliant Gin!
If you would like to talk to us about a redesign of your website, please give us a call on 01243 776399.
Clive Loseby, Access by Design
Accessible web design, Chichester.