Evess Website Migration

Project Type

E-Commerce Website

Our Role

SEO
Website Migration
UX Design
Blog Migration
Content Marketing

Location

Bedfordshire

The Client

Evess, previously trading as Graduation Attire, is a commercial business providing graduation, legal, choir and church attire.

The client initially came to us for help in developing the original Graduation Attire website on a proprietary platform

However, as the business expanded, Evess wanted our help to consolidate the three arms of their business under one website. They wanted to achieve this by migrating from their proprietary platform to a Software as a Service (SaaS) e-commerce site.

They wanted to move to the e-commerce platform Shopify to allow more in-house control of their e-commerce operation without the need for expert development and coding knowledge.

Without proper planning and preparation, website migrations can go badly wrong.

It’s common for sites to see a sharp drop in visibility and traffic immediately following website migration. Minimising the potential for this kind of drop would be integral to our work on this site migration.

With the old Graduation Attire site, because it was a proprietary platform, we had complete access to the backend and code. However, with the new e-commerce software, we’d have less access and control to be able to build a strong, SEO enriched platform.
This meant that, from an SEO perspective, migrating the site to a Shopify platform would be a step-down in performance. But, by using a tried and tested website migration methodology, we were able to mitigate these drawbacks.

As well as the website migration, the client also had a pre-existing blog that they needed to migrate to reflect the domain change. However, while Shopify is a good platform for e-commerce sites, their blogging capabilities are limited. So, we needed to find an alternative solution.

What we did

Website Migration

The goal was to move from the Graduation Attire domain to evess.co, a new domain and site built using the Shopify e-commerce platform, without a significant loss in traffic or visibility. This meant we had to compensate for the SEO and coding limitations of using the non-proprietary SaaS e-commerce platform, Shopify. To achieve this, we followed our proven 7-step website migration methodology, with a laser-focus on implementing strong SEO from beginning to end.

Our step by step process

01

We began by constructing an optimised website architecture. The architecture was structured to best serve the needs of Evess’s customers. Making the journey of converting from prospect to customer as frictionless as possible.

To achieve this frictionless journey, we developed the idea of having three distinct brands contained within the Evess site. Choralia, Tailor De Jure and Graduation Attire all serve different audiences with different needs but operate under the Evess umbrella brand. So, the optimised architecture created distinct areas within the site for each brand, giving them an equal presence and prominence.

02

Next, we optimised the new platform with our wealth of SEO knowledge. Building in strong SEO from the ground up, as we always do, would work to reduce the potential loss in visibility that some migrated websites face.

03

To ensure that visitors to the old site were not lost in the move, we implemented 301 redirects from the pages of the old site, to lead customers directly to the correlating pages on Evess’s new Shopify platform.

04

For the new site, on the new platform, we implemented on-page optimisation throughout the entire website. We had to make sure this was, at least, equal to the old site.

But, because we’re over-achievers, we made sure it was even better than the on-page optimisation of the old site. Again, this optimisation would work to limit any loss of visibility and traffic for the new site.

05

A huge part of building a website’s authority in the search engines is gaining backlinks from other authoritative sites.

We didn’t want to lose any of the hard work we’d put into gaining backlinks for the previous Graduation Attire site. And, while automatic redirects are a good tool, we didn’t want to rely on them entirely.

So, we manually went through all the content within the site and updated all external links. And, to make sure all our hard-earned backlinks made the move across to the new domain, we got in touch with the sites that linked to Graduation Attire and asked them to update their backlinks to point to the new Evess domain.

06

The penultimate step of our migration methodology is the launch of the new site. This was D-Day, where we’d find out if all our preparation and planning on the Evess migration paid off. To make sure everything went off without a hitch, and troubleshoot any problems if they arose, we spent the day monitoring the new website to guarantee it was all working smoothly.

07

But, launch day wasn’t the end of our work with the Evess website migration. We spent the following 15 days intensively monitoring the site’s performance, from visibility to visitors, to ensure that Google and site users weren’t coming up against any issues with the new website.

Blog migration

Under the original proprietary Graduation Attire website, the blog had been housed in a subdirectory, as is often the norm with company blogs. It is generally agreed in SEO circles that subdirectories are the best way to host a blog for the average business. Using a subdirectory, a type of folder that houses content of a similar type – in this case blog content – is usually seen as a safer option because it drives traffic to the main domain. This boosts your overall authority and eliminates the need for the self-hosting of a sub-domain.

But, for Evess, because they were moving to the non-proprietary SaaS platform, Shopify, they needed an alternative solution. Shopify’s blog platform has limited SEO capabilities and is not as customisable as a specific blogging platform such as WordPress. This meant that, for Evess, it wouldn’t achieve the results they needed from their blog.

So, never ones to make a decision just because that’s what everyone else is doing, we went against the SEO playbook and moved our client’s blog to a subdomain.

By creating a WordPress blog, hosted on a subdomain of evess.co, we were able to have more access to the backend and the coding which meant we could personalise the blog to Evess’s specific needs.

Content Maketing

Once we’d created the new blog on our evess.co subdomain, and migrated all the existing Graduation Attire blog content across, we needed to begin populating it with new, high-quality content.

Content is what draws an audience in, it tells the story of a brand and provides valuable and engaging information for your audience. 

Then, we produce engaging and captivating content targeted towards those audiences. This helps to build a brand’s authority and awareness in their respective industry.

For Evess, our content strategy focussed on giving prominence to each of the three arms of their brand; Graduation Attire, Choralia and Tailor De Jure.

We published this content on the journal.evess.co blog subdomain, which contained three distinct sections to house content tailored to each of the three arms of the brand.

By focusing on the three Evess target audiences in our content creation, we were able to build a catalogue of content that addresses their respective needs and ultimately raise Evess’s authority and brand awareness.

The results

When you plan a website migration, most SEO experts will tell you to expect significant losses in traffic and visibility in the immediate aftermath of the migration. Losses that can take months to recover from, if you manage to recover at all.

But, with our work on the Graduation Attire to Evess website migration, we were able to prevent any loss in traffic.

Against all expectations, especially when migrating to a non-proprietary platform such as Shopify, we beat the odds and avoided that dreaded drop in traffic.

Housing the three categories, Graduation Attire, Choralia and Tailor De Jure, under the one site helped to unify the Evess brand and give each category more authority and prominence.

This strategy also worked to simplify the user experience, offering a more frictionless journey through the site which in turn helped to increase their conversion into customers.

Despite the general consensus in the SEO community, our work with migrating the Graduation Attire blog to the Evess subdomain beat the odds. We saw no drop in traffic following the migration and the Journal has continually performed well since the move to the subdomain.

Our content marketing work with Evess is on-going. Following a seasonality calendar has helped to address the needs of Evess’s three brand-specific target audiences by writing content tailored to their differing needs at various times throughout the year.

Despite going against the SEO grain on our work with the Evess website and blog migration, we were able to achieve fantastic results with no drop in traffic or loss of visibility.

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