Stonehouse Signs has been providing signage for Colorado since the Stonehouse family moved from Chicago during the gold mining boom.
The Stonehouse website has become a staple of their core business. The site allows customers to order signage directly on the site. For larger, enterprise orders, the site is a reference point for their portfolio and samples.
The folks at Stonehouse Signs found Monarch Digital to provide ongoing support back in 2013. Fast forward to 2015 and Google announces that it will be penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly. Like so many companies that rely on their websites to attract and keep customers, Stonehouse Signs did not want to lose their Google placement in search results.
At the same, several other projects on the site became priorities:
- Improve search, allowing customers to find products using more keywords and SKU's than before
- List products in Google Merchant, further improving product visibility
Retroactive Responsive Design
Starting April 2, 2015, Google announced that it would use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Stonehouse Signs had not received requests from its customers for a site that will display more attractively on tablets and phones, but the company did not lose its hard won search rankings in Google search.
Monarch Digital's marching orders were to retain all design elements of the current desktop site. Using design direction from the client's marketing department, we added responsive design elements for tablet and mobile phone sized screens. Unlike starting to develop a responsive theme from scratch, we encountered a number of challenges:
- Since we didn't develop the site or the theme, we found many, let's say, unique ways that the previous developers coded the structure. Almost every tag contained hardcoded inline styles.
- Previous content managers had created many unique, non-responsive tables in the body area across the entire site. It would be far too expensive to have a developer manually change all these tables to responsive classes. Monarch Digital developed a number of classes to be used instead of these tables and taught the current content manager how to convert tables to these classes. At the same time, the current content manager is evaluating the table layouts and working to get a similar look and feel throughout the site.
If a prospect can find what they need more easily, the more likely they will purchase. Monarch Digital moved the Stonehouse Signs site from a modified version of internal Drupal search to SOLR. Visitors can now:
- Search by full or partial SKU or part number
- Search by keywords or phrases
- Search by product types or categories
- Drill down and up based upon compliance types, product categories, etc.
Google Merchant Center
To further drive traffic to the various Stonehouse Signs products, Monarch Digital was tasked with automating the creation and publishing of a data feed to be imported to Google's Merchant Center. This Google service helps businesses ensure their products and services are accurately indexed for search.
- Complete listing of all products with relevant metadata exported to a Google Merchant Center defined format.
- The export process is automated so that Google can automatically find and import the feed file on a scheduled basis.