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.