<< Back to Crewtags.aero

Follow Crewtags.aero by Email

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The new Crewtags.aero Website

As the developer of Crewtags.aero, setting about writing a completely new website, from scratch may seem straight forward to a lot of people.
You add some graphics here, some special effects there and hey presto - a new website.

Well, there's a little more to it than that, and here's why:

Google is your best friend, or your worst enemy. Spending time working with people who know Google will tell you that it is a very fickle and stubborn entity. You can be surprised by it and also very annoyed by it.
Just three days after the first Crewtags.aero site in October 2011 was launched, we we're amazed to see immediate hits on our best selling British Airways "To Fly. To Serve." tag. And why was that? Quite simply, the Google engine had indexed our tag image as No2 from the search term "to fly to serve". It was there in all it's glory at the top of the Google Images page.

"Great!" we thought. But over time, more websites start to fight for that position, the index changes and things can start to slip.
What can be done about that? Well, primarily, Google is a content fiend. It loves new content to feed on. To help build a Google rank, new content from a site is a must. Secondly, it loves linking. The more people who link to the site, the better. By creating new tags, new news stories, building a social following on Twitter and Facebook and generally feeding the content monster, will put you in a good position as Google (over time) starts to understand the quality of content coming from a site.

So how does this affect what is needed from a new website?
Well, we have certain rankings within the Google UK search engine that we want to keep. Our customers search for all kinds of keywords (they are staying secret ;o) which are key to driving potential customers to our site. If we went ahead and built a new website from scratch, ditching all the old content and completely rebuilding from new - guess what - Google will look at it, chew it a bit, and spit it back out. Completely changing the structure, format and fundamental key words within a new site could (potentially) seriously affect the Google rankings. The hard work getting the old site to where it is within certain ranks might be lost. Not good business sense.

So really, whilst the site is visually very different (we'll come back to that), the structure has had to follow it's existing pattern, to keep the search engines happy. For the eagle-eyed, things like viewing a tag description uses the page "tags.php?id=123" - why? There's lots of links that exist in forums, posts, Facebook etc that link directly to these pages. If, for example, we changed the URL name to "crewtags.php?id=123" all of those existing links (which all help Google rankings) would now be broken, Google gets angry with broken content and sacrifices your index.

Visitor flow within the website is generally quite short. On average, it only takes 4 pages to find, personalise and checkout with your preferred tags. Our customers like "easy". And with a short visitor-flow, it saves a lot of hassle.
The new site has completely rebuilt part of that flow to make it even easier to find what your looking for. You may now notice the left column has tag categories. Simple - go directly what you're looking for. The top menu has simplified looking for your airline, by breaking it down alphabetically saves having a long menu system. We've also introduced our own custom search feature which can take you directly to related tags, and the home page offers a selection of random tags which might catch your eye.

Hidden and subtle little visual niceties help reinforce the brand. Did you notice the left-column menus are all the exact shape of a Crewtag? The radius corners of each page element are all the same as a tag. The colour scheme is also much more easy on the eye - out with the baby-blue and in with Web 2.0 colouring. Even the colour of the body text is the same navy blue that is used by a huge number of airlines around the world on their aircraft and company literature.

We'll cover a few more features in future blog posts, but this will at least give you an idea of where the inspiration came from. There's a lot more in the pipeline which will make its way onto the site. But for now, enjoy the new site!

No comments:

Post a Comment