Prepare Prevent Perform

Proactive Animal Health is a equine focused e-commerce business founded by the lovely Bianca and based out of the Latrobe Valley approximately 140km East of Melbourne, Victoria. Bianca has a vision to provide fellow horse owners with the best quality and value for money products available to keep their horses in peak health and performance.

The brief

Bianca initially approached me to complete an advanced website audit on her existing site. She knew there were problems with the design, the functionality and was experiencing a range of odd bugs with the site. I completed the audit in early 2019 and identified a number of areas that needed to be revised and improved. In particular there were a number of issues at a server level that would have been causing all sorts of problems along the way. Upon my recommendation Bianca chose to go for a full site rebuild whilst remaining on Wordpress.

The build

  • Platform: Wordpress
  • Pagebuilder: Elementor Pro
  • Theme: Astra Pro
  • Specialty plugins: Selection of e-commerce plugins from Yith to enhance functionality
  • My favourite feature: Background image slideshow used for the hero image and sticky product category menu

Being an e-commerce store the rebuild was always going to be more complicated but going in I didn’t realise just how deep the issues I identified on the server ran. Almost as soon as the rebuild process was started the approach needed to be changed to essentially an in place rebuild. This would require the site to be offline for a weekend while changes were implemented.

To speed this process up as much as possible all server level fixes, new plugins and the new design were implemented on a copy of the site on a separate development server. Major changes were made to the design, structure and layout of the site to improve usability and user experience (UX). The main changes were intended to highlight individual products and product categories for the Equine area which is the majority of the site. Compared to the original site which placed equal weight between equine, canine and riders. The latter two of which make up less than 1% of products available. The colour scheme of the site was also updated to match the business logo to improve brand consistency and brand recognition.

Once all changes were defined and approved it was time to move onto the “migration” unlike most sites there was no safe way to do an automated migration for this site. I needed to clean up the server and eliminate all of the old elements that would no longer be needed. I then manually migrated content from the development site across and made any changes needed to get everything working correctly.

The end result

Providing horse owners with the best quality equine health products available

A seemingly straight forward site rebuild turned into a quite complicated technical challenge. Whilst this was a long, difficult process the results were outstanding. The server was no longer causing issues, all sales data was retained and the new look site functioned as designed. This site doesn’t have any fancy tricks or frills, it is a clean and contemporary e-commerce site that highlights what makes the business special as well as the products.Going forward Bianca and I are beginning to work on implementing some new features to better serve her customers and meet their needs. I’m looking forward to continuing to work on this site along side Bianca.

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