Old South Carriage Company is a hospitality-focused tour operator in charming Charleston, South Carolina. The website they’ve had for years—which we did not build but did maintain—was the best-converting website we’ve ever worked with, yet we just completely rebuilt it. Here’s why.
1. The brand needed a better presentation.
The brand has slowly evolved to be more refined, with messaging focused on hospitality and a visual style that better matches the beauty of the area. We needed an updated canvas on which to showcase a more airy and organic appearance, symbolic of the feeling of this coastal southern city. We had been feeling the growing disconnect for a while, but the client had to see the new design before they saw the disconnect themselves. Early in the design process, we received this feedback: “[I] didn’t realize how outdated ours looked until I saw the comparison.”
2. Speed is more important than ever.
Page speed is such an important part of the user experience that Google added it as a (small) factor to their search ranking algorithm last year. The old site had some technical limitations preventing us from improving its speed beyond a certain point. We’re still working on improving the performance, but now the focus is on third-party scripts (such as the Freshdesk widget) rather than the core of the website.
Google PageSpeed Score on mobile devices, with 3rd-party scripts loaded:
3. We thought the conversion rate could possibly get even better.
We believed that speed improvements, combined with a better representation of the value proposition, would win Old South Carriage Company more business—even without factoring in the additional traffic that the speed optimization and SEO adjustments could yield. We ran the numbers and concluded that even a modest increase in the conversion rate was going to pay for the new website many times over. We’ve seen some early wins already—including an unexpectedly-high 25% year-over-year increase in the desktop conversion rate, even with an increase in ticket prices.
Of course, a website is never complete, and we’ll continue to refine as needed. But this new site provides Old South Carriage Company a solid foundation on which to build for years to come.