Target audience: Interior designers, architectural community, homeowners
Key Web executives: Dan Smith, president and founder; John McIsaac, public relations counsel for Smith & Fong at McIsaac Communications
No. of employees working on the site: 8
Last major redesign: First-quarter 2009
No. of pages on site: 215 pages
Web developer: In-house, as well as Pinch, a strategic design and brand development agency
As recently as six months ago, visitors arriving at the Plyboo.com Web site were directed to a press release. Those visitors were likely looking for product and installation specifications, and until recently, that information was often difficult to locate.
“One of the concerns we heard from architects and designers was that they couldn't find information fast enough,” said company President Dan Smith. “I remember you had to go to flooring and within flooring select a surface and within that section you had to choose a color. It was a five-step process to land in the place you were looking for. That was a very big deal.”
So the company set out to create a Web site that would help professionals find what they needed in no more than one or two clicks while maintaining the site's aesthetics. Today, information is easily accessible, and the rich look and feel of the company's products, which are essentially “eye candy for the designers and architects who use them,” remain, Smith said. An added bonus: The redesigned site is optimized, so its Google rankings are even better than they were before.
“Now with a search for ‘bamboo plywood,' we are not only on the first page, but we are the first listing,” said John McIsaac, the company's public relations representative who helped with the redesign.
This may be because of a text- and link-heavy paragraph that explains what the company's mission is while bringing attention to the organization's numerous third-party certifications.
“The ‘white box,' as we refer to it, was designed for maximum searchability,” McIsaac said. “All the words we want to come up high in searches are right in that box.” The “green” designations are especially important, he said, because so many companies say they engage in green practices, but many aren't as sustainable as they claim.
Product pages list specifications and feature photos of the plywood in customer installations. “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” Smith said. “We're balancing simple and soothing with deep product knowledge that, in another design, could be rather dull and intrusive.”
Expert commentary—Nick Gould, CEO, Catalyst Group: Although environmental impact is a major deciding factor for using bamboo construction products, they wisely, in my opinion, underplay this fact and focus on gorgeous high-res photos of real installations. The two basic browse options, by surface and by installation, are a refreshingly simple way to access the core product attributes with, again, a focus on high-quality visuals. The visual design is muted, calm and appropriately—given the product—Zen-like. The “installation” menu contains a ton of fantastic photography and associated product specs, so you can find an appropriate material just by viewing other installations.
|Smith & Fong Co.|