Website Design and Development for a Luxury Yacht Provider
About 212° Yachts
212° Yachts are a luxury yacht rental and sales company based in Cannes, France. They offer luxury yacht charters and sales across the Mediterranean, the French Riviera, and beyond. The 212 team takes special pride in providing their clients with that “extra degree” of excellence in everything they do.
In early 2016, 212° Yachts approached Big Dog Digital to redevelop their existing site. From the very first meeting, it was clear that the 212-yachts.com website remains key to the sucess of the company. Its primary goal is to give customers a clear indication of the products and services offered – and to facilitate easy engagement through enquiry forms and live chat-agents.
212° requested a complete redevelopment of their website, in addition to new brand guidelines. Two objectives were agreed:
The first was to enable users to consume content easily in all areas – brand, products, blogs – which would then result to conversions.
The second objective was to improve user experience by refining the navigation and ensuring a logical structure with multi-device functionality.
The first stage of the project was to identify the problems with the existing site and to determine the main user and business goals based on discovery meetings, existing analytics and user-analysis.
Using this information, we then developed wireframes and user-flow diagrams in order to visualise our proposed solutions and direction.
On the existing site, the analytics suggested that users were not engaging with the product search function and that there was a high drop-off rate on the landing page. One of the key challenges of the project was to map out an effective conversion funnel for the new site.
We explored how best to resolve this with detailed reviews of information architecture, personas, user flows and wireframes. This would give a clear indication of how the user would interact and engage with the content and products during their session and make it easier for a user to enquire about a product or service.
Firstly, we began by mapping out brand guidelines that positioned 212° as a luxury service provider, using high-quality lifestyle imagery, minimal aesthetics and clear typography. This ensured a consistent visual system for the users’ interactions with the site: content, product, conversion.
The key considerations for the 212° User Interface were as follows:
- Ensuring the user was exposed to a rich overview of the services and products
- Ensuring that conversion was easy and intuitive at all stages of the user journey
Within the key product areas of the site, the focus was on engagement and conversion, with search results offering an appropriate summary of key product information. We used lazy loading instead of paging for easier access to product listings and in all areas of product search we avoided giving users dead-ends in their experience.
The new website was developed on the WordPress CMS platform and hosted within our dedicated WP Engine environment. We developed a custom theme and a number of custom plug-ins to facilitate the 212° teams’ content-editing and management requirements.
Custom WordPress Theme
We developed a custom WordPress theme, based on the screens which had been approved during the design phase. Firstly, we setup our custom WordPress Starter theme, which has been developed in addition to the Underscores framework. We then outlined each of the page templates and custom components required for the information architecture of the new 212° Yachts site.
Custom Content Editor
Another important requirement for the client was that they have the ability to fully control all content elements within the site. In order for us to be able to achieve an optimal user-experience on the front-end of the website, while allowing full content management within the admin area, we developed a custom content editor, to allow the client to manage all content and rich-media elements, via a visual editor.
A key focus for the new build was to maintain the current SEO rankings that 212° yachts had established over the past few years and to improve the traffic, user engagement and conversion of users.
The elements we focused on were:
- Semantically correct HTML
- Properly constructed meta-tags
- Rich snippets
- Page caching
- Yoast SEO Plugin
- XML Sitemap Generation
The deployment of the new website was performed while taking every step to ensure that search rankings were unaffected.
We set up over 250 redirects from the old site, to allow search engines to correctly index the new site structure and maintain organic search results.
Google Search Console
As part of the deployment, we set up Google Search Console and performed a multitude of tests and scans prior to updating the DNS, to point to our new server. This allowed us to quickly identify any crawl errors encountered by search engines, after the move was complete.
As with all projects undertaken by Big Dog, we have kept a close eye on how the new site has been performing since the move from old to new. We are pleased to report that even at this early stage, the new site is performing better across all metrics.
- Site traffic has increased by 18%
- User engagement is up by 48%
- Top 4 pages visited are in line with business goals
- Homepage bounce rate is down by 40%
What the client said
Big Dog have been a superb support in the build of a new website which needed to impress clients, drive new traffic and convert leads and they have certainly delivered just that. Each member of the team is responsive, and whenever there is an issue they are fast to find solutions. I look forward to continuing working with Big Dog in the long term, and would happily recommend them to anyone who needs a strong web development team.