JBA Consulting: Custom WordPress website
A high-performing WordPress website for a UK environmental consultancy
Promoting JBA Consulting Services
JBA Consulting (JBA), a Yorkshire-based agency that advises clients on weather and environmental risk management, required a new website that was more effective in promoting its services. The consultancy's service offer is wide and varied, and the new solution needed to streamline the services to support promotional activity. JBA has a large in-house marketing team, and the ability to cross-sell and connect content within the new content management system (CMS) was an essential requirement of the build. The team was already familiar with the WordPress framework, but their existing CMS was dated, preventing them from achieving a consistent look and feel across their content.
A key goal of the project was to enable individual team members to showcase their content within a branded framework, linking content elements from different site areas. This joined-up content approach was essential to delivering a better user experience and removing frustrations from the customer journey. JBA partnered with us (Feel Created) because of our ability to work as an extension of their experienced in-house web and marketing teams.
A custom WordPress framework with Gutenberg block editing functionality was the starting point for the build. The Gutenberg feature was an obvious choice for the JBA marketing team because of their focus on content creation. Gutenberg was selected specifically to enable the team to create pages and page elements that showcased their content while linking relevant content for impact. In Gutenberg, content could be planned and linked, creating an 'always forward' user experience without the need to reverse through the site.
To support the new WordPress with the Gutenberg framework, the team worked on achieving a better data structure and navigation and improving the site’s performance. It was essential to JBA’s in-house web team that the new site met stringent performance and security requirements. We would carry out maintenance and hosting, but building the site to universally recognised standards futureproofed any transition to services back in-house or to another team.
Custom WordPress Design
Better data structure and navigation
An abundance of unstructured content was a problem with the previous site because its outdated functionality didn't support good content organisation. Over the years, content created and added to the site resulted in a confusing array of landing pages and articles with no clear route to the final call to action (CTA). We worked closely with JBA to understand how we should structure a new Knowledge Hub area that could be managed to include clear signposting from page to page. The previous Knowledge Hub was one filterable area, which we separated into distinct sections. For example, a new Projects section that filtered projects down into Flagship Projects and a Project Archive.
To support the new data structure, a top-down navigation was created that was much more simplified than before. These two measures made it easier for users landing on the site to move forward with their journey quickly and easily, selecting from a concise list of options. As a result of this streamlined functionality, the site’s performance was far superior to the previous iteration. We tested performance through Google Lighthouse to ensure the best achievable performance ratings.
Gutenberg Block Editor
A creative framework for content creators
A critical element of the brief was to give content creators more autonomy to create pages and page elements that best showcased and linked their content. Gutenberg block editor was chosen as the best feature to meet this need. With Gutenberg, content creators could create dynamic pages within pre-branded blocks. Previously, the team had used various plugins and widgets to create their pages, which still did not achieve the consistency and dynamism required.
The pre-branded framework gave content creators the freedom to create exciting content while giving peace of mind they won’t stray too far off brand. Key messaging could be pulled out and showcased within the content through statistic blocks, quote blocks and media blocks (such as video). Content could also be linked as related or through CTA blocks to encourage the reader to move forward through the site. We supplied a series of blocks and post types that could be interchanged to achieve the desired result.
Saving time for content managers
Gutenberg patterns were introduced to the build as a useful time-management tool. Patterns are pre-determined, editable 'templates' that were used as a starting point for commonly repeated pages. For example, in the Careers section, job listings could be given a consistent look through the use of patterns while saving time for the person creating the listing. In this instance, career patterns can be created and posted within the career section's filterable format in a fraction of the time it would take to create a post from scratch.
Patterns can be used in any section of a site to create consistency. In this build, the Training section was managed through a third-party system that was embedded in the site. While consistent in its presentation, the embedded system did not match the look and feel of the previous JBA website. We created functionality that managed the Training section in-house.
Content managers could utilise patterns to maintain greater consistency throughout their training-related content. A key requirement was the ability to promote this content, and a consistent, easily-managed approach was central to the success of this process.
Easy content entry and training
While we offer content migration and entry, the JBA team uploaded their content into the new format. Following online training sessions, team members felt confident about running with the system. JBA opted to upload their content in their new CMS to have greater control over how it looked in the updated style. The team created consistency across the new site by allocating team members to update and manage different sections. CMS training is essential to complete project delivery, giving users full control over their bespoke system.
Our overriding aim is to create easy-to-use and manage systems, giving users total control over content deployment. Most clients come to us because their existing CMS is unfit for purpose, restricting their ability to create dynamic content. Our custom solutions eliminate this frustration, allowing users to express their creativity and get the most out of their content.
We collaborated with JBA over several months to achieve the final custom CMS. The final solution meets the JBA team's need to plan and manage content autonomously. Pages and page elements allow content to shine while influencing the user journey and encouraging an 'always forward' path. JBA's status as a leading environmental consultancy is reflected in its website's visual appeal and strong performance, showcasing the company's work. The site, built with longevity in mind, acts as a relevant content marketing tool that can evolve with the team's strategy over time.
Read more Feel Created case studies here.
Check out JBA’s website here.