New Site Launch: Here Comes the Guide

Hopscotch Press has been our client for 10 years. We launched a new modern version of their web site today, and it’s THE place to go for wedding and event planning in California.

Here is the new site. (Click thumbnail to view full size.) Hopscotch Press originally came to us to create and manage an online database of wedding sites and services for California, https://www.herecomestheguide.com. Their site was database enabled with Filemaker since 1996, and they have changed their business dramatically over the decade. Originally a book publisher, the web site now drives the overwhelming majority of their business. It has grown many fold over the years, as we have continued to build custom applications within their site.

Here is the before site. (Click thumbnail to view full size.) Their new web site is now upgraded for “Web 2.0” and includes a full Content Management System, site wide search as well as custom searches within the Locations and Services areas, and of course the activity tracker. This includes a much lighter design that is fully CSS-based. The home page features a rotation of specially-selected companies (an upsell opportunity for HP) and most all pages internally include the use of “touts” or small banners that can allow HP to push special messages to visitors site wide. (More upsell opportunities.) We’ve got lots of additional upgrades to roll out over the next few months, so like most births, this is just the beginning.

On the surface the site is for brides and event planners. But what makes it work is the ability to search for well-recommended vendors who provide services to the wedding industry. These companies pay to be on the site. We have built a number of tracking tools that allow the HP staff to know 24-7 how many people have clicked on a company’s detail page at https://www.herecomestheguide.com as well as how many then clicked on through to the company’s own web site. HP’s ability to edit all of their site content and to provide real-time, accurate activity reports on a per company basis are key elements of their success.

We’d also like to thank designer Ryan Nichols of Apples to Oranges whose insights can be felt throughout the site. And yes, we used grids to develop this site. Click on the image at your left to see a sample of what I mean, and what Ryan has been discussing on his blog.

Check it out and tell me know what you think!

UPDATE
I know, the site has only been live for five days, but here’s one stat we love! Pageviews have more than doubled compared to the old site, which is a great indication of a much more engaging _user experience._ “Contact us”:/bfs/contact/ if you’d like to improve the user experience on your web site!

UPDATE 2
It’s been just under a month since site launch. Page views are up by 389% – almost a fourfold increase. Session duration (the average amount of time a visitor spends on the site) has more than doubled.

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