WordPress Website Redesign Boosts Placement Firm’s Candidate & Recruiter Traffic
Responsive Design & Custom Plugins Optimize Century Group’s eXternal & Internal User eXperiences
When businesses in Southern California, the Bay Area or Denver need a new CFO, controller, accountant or payroll coordinator, they turn to Century Group for help in recruiting the right candidate. Likewise, job-seeking finance and accounting professionals rely on Century Group when they’re on the hunt for new career opportunities.
Headquartered in El Segundo, California, Century Group specializes in direct hire and temporary staffing services in the areas of accounting and finance. In February 2017, Century Group hired eXcelisys as their WordPress consultant to solve speed issues and provide general support and maintenance for its eXisting WordPress website. Later, Century Group decided to redesign and rebuild the website and kept eXcelisys on board for the project.
The new, revitalized, optimized and modernized Century Group WordPress website went live in March. So far, the results are encouraging.
“We’ve seen an uptick in visitors per month.” ~ Sabrina Maharaj, Century Group Senior Marketing Manager
This is the home page for Century Group’s old website. Compare this to the image far above, which depicts Century Group’s revised, new home page.
Project Focus for Century Group Website Redesign
Polishing the Look and Feel
To modernize the look of Century Group’s dated WordPress site, eXcelisys Web App Developer Fred Morgan and Project Manager Kurt Knippel proposed using the WordPress theme Lambda because it is flexible, mobile responsive and lends itself to custom CSS styling. “We tackled it one page at a time,” said Maharaj. “We analyzed the content and overall flow and optimized from there. I did the concept on my own, then discussed it with Fred and Kurt and got their input to make it happen on the back end. I had a vision and they made it happen.”
Users assess the visual appeal of a website within 50 milliseconds. ~Behaviour and Information Technology (March 2006)
Above: New website. Below: Old website.
Responsive Design: Creating a website that works on every screen
Users eXpect websites to work — and look good — no matter what device they are using. Mobile users hate to pinch-and-zoom their way through site content that’s not built for small-screen layouts. Keeping this in mind, Century Group wanted a responsive website to ensure everyone — from mobile users to tablet lovers to desktop devotees — could search for jobs and submit their applications effortlessly.
52% of users said that a bad mobile eXperience made them less likely to engage with a company ~ Sterling Research and SmithGeiger (2012)
Optimizing for Blazing Fast Load Times
A site performance audit revealed that people were bouncing from some Century Group webpages. eXcelisys web app developer Michael Suhrbier drilled into the problem and found several areas for improvement during the WordPress website redesign.
- Server: Suhrbier determined that a server upgrade was needed to accommodate Century Group’s web traffic. He recommended a switch to WP Engine — a performance-oriented hosting company for WordPress-powered websites.
Moving to Cloudflare reduced Century Group’s load times from 7 or 8 seconds to 1.5 seconds, noted Michael Suhrbier, the eXcelisys developer who recommended the service.
- Images: Suhrbier combed through the site to ensure images were being served up in the correct sizes so they would upload quickly — and correctly. Mobile images were optimized so they wouldn’t eat up a user’s data. eXcelisys also looked at video content. Century Group’s landing page includes a video that plays when the page opens, so eXcelisys paid close attention to structuring it in such a way that it would render properly without taking forever to load.
- Plugins: During his web optimization detective work, Suhrbier reviewed the plugins from the original developer and determined that the site had an unnecessary plugin for HTTPS redirection. This plugin was increasing the site’s load time, so he axed it. “My approach is making sites better by subtraction,” said Suhrbier. “The HTTPS redirect plugin is not needed. The same thing can be done with three lines of code in the .htaccess file.”
40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. ~ Econsultancy
Custom Plugins for Additional Functionality
- Internal processes: eXcelisys built a custom plugin to help Century Group with the recruitment process. With the old website, candidates applied for jobs and then sent their resume later as an email attachment. This process meant that Century Group had to sort the documents to match up applications and resumes. Now, the resume is attached directly to the application.
- Email alerts: The new system sends an email alert to Century Group recruiters each time a new applicant submits. The custom plugin automatically attaches the applicant’s first and last name to the subject line. This means recruiters have only to look at their inbox to see how many jobs “John Smith” has applied for. Previously, they had to scroll through each email to locate the applicant’s name and determine how many positions a person had applied for.
- Data management: The website is now set up to capture a small amount of applicant data, giving Century Group a database of candidates it can query when seeking placements for outside companies. “We improved the overall workflow of how a resume is posted and how they are able to store the data and query the data,” said Morgan. “Everything was buried in emails before.”
- User eXperience During the WordPress website redesign: eXcelisys created a custom “post type” for job listings. The custom plugin aggregates the data in a manner that allows users to conduct keyword searches. Previously, job seekers had to scroll through job listings because the site had only rudimentary search functionality. Now, job seekers can filter their search by job (i.e., accountant), location (i.e., Los Angeles) and industry (i.e., healthcare). In addition, an “easy apply” button allows users to apply for a position and upload their resume in one fell swoop.
Clicking the “Easy Apply” button (see image at right) brings up the form on the left. Users upload their resume and hit “submit” to complete the process.
Overall, Maharaj is pleased with the outcome of the WordPress website redesign project. Maharaj said that the eXcelisys developers were “friendly and responsive and offered good advice.” She went on to eXplain: “In some cases, I may have had an idea but I didn’t know the pros and cons. They provided both sides so I could make a well-informed decision.”
Suhrbier concurred that a website redesign involves much more than writing HTML and CSS code. “Our biggest job is to educate clients and steer them in the right direction.”
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