We’re pleased to announce that the UK’s first Buddhist Temple now has a brand new website redesign!
The focus for the project was to put a new design on the previous website, make it more usable and practical, and to allow Wat Buddhapadipa to engage more with the audience – and allow the website to generate a sense of community for Buddhists in the UK and beyond.
This wasn’t the easiest website redevelopment actually. It may look a cute little site but there’s actually over 2,000 web pages. They were in a previous Lotus Domino system, that has done us proud over a really long time. We do a lot more custom WordPress solutions for clients in London and way beyond now, so it made sense to move the site over to a new platform while we were doing the redesign. The plugin architecture, the ease of which social connectors can be deployed and the wealth of knowledge and staff we have at LogicSpot just made more sense to shift.
That meant we had to get over 2,000 pages out of one system into a new one, somehow automatically. And also then make sure any of the old pages and their old URLs wouldn’t fail coming through to a brand new website setup.
We wrote some custom web scraping code (we often have to do this for clients with larger sites – so we grab the old website in entirety and grab what we want from the webpages automatically into a new system) and built out the new website around that content. Phew!
Socialising the web
I’ve spent some time teaching the monks how to use Twitter, Facebook and now Flickr for photo sharing. They’re equal parts super tech-savvy and focussed, which makes our job easy – whatever we seem to create, they welcome with open arms and it’s a pleasure to work with them.
We didn’t have the ability to comment with the old site, and over 2.5 years, there were about 5 comments ever made against the old website.
We added the ability, simple as it seems, to comment against any webpage or post in the new site. Within 12 hours of launch, the first sensible comment has come in. In the next 12 hours, there’s been another 3 comments. It’s a new feature and it’s going to take time but I think this will lead onto something else evolutionary for the client next – perhaps forums. My goal is not to bombard a client with tech geekness but to grow and nurture an evolutionary relationship where both demand and availability meet at the same time!
We’ve added Flickr photos to the homepage and a separate photo gallery. We’ve linked off to Flickr but not left instructions what people should do to get a Flickr account or how they get their photos onto the Buddhapadipa website. We’ve done this on purpose – I’m not sure if Flickr is appropriate for a diverse community to just upload a few images without any hassles … so we’ll see over time!
This is one of the nicest new components that’s now easier for the guys at the Temple to use – that’s event management. The events system we’ve done is simple but the more we want from it, the more it’ll give. We pulled all the years’ events across into the new system and the guys can now use it to add or edit their own events with simple clicks.
Search engine optimised
As always, the site has been search engine optimised out of the box. We take our best of breed knowledge, work with our in-house Search Engine Optimisation technical and content team and pull it all together with the developers to have a website that starts to gain traction from the off. The previous website already had top #1 positions in Google for all their major search terms – we want to keep them up there, and also grow out other phrases.
We’ve got some performance optimisation to do on the site. We carried out tests post-launch and we’re not happy with the performance. The old site had been performance-optimised to an extraordinary level and we want to do the same on this site. We’ve got a project in progress that’s due to conclude next week, so check the blog soon for an update!
To be honest, this is a site I’m now proud of. As Buddhist and someone who used to live and work in Bangkok, Thailand, I’m pleased to have met the monks at Wat Buddhapadipa in Wimbledon, and I’m equally proud of the new website – I feel it’s a reflection of what they are doing in the world, of their manner and approach in life, and of their space in Wimbledon.