Leightons

Website Optimisation with Professional WordPress Support and Development

Leightons is a proudly independent, family-owned and family run optician and hearing care provider. Opening their doors in 1928, they have grown to have 34 successful branches spread across the South of England. However, in 2016, they approached us with major technical issues. They had built their website with a custom WordPress template, using a variety of developers over the years in an attempt to keep it up-to-date. The multiple plugins and inconsistent backend code had made the website slow to load and difficult for users to navigate, whilst creating an environment that was complicated for us to develop going forward.

Cost Effective Solution

To provide Leightons with a cost-effective solution, we suggested an incremental re-build of the website from the ground up, which would be implemented as and when legacy issues arose. Firstly, we analysed the hosting environment and carried out an initial clean up and optimisation of the server. Having reduced the space used by 60%, we then replicated the website to a staging server and created a platform to test our changes before setting them live.

The use of plugins to patch up historic issues had added excessive bloat, cluttering up the backend with unnecessary code. As a result of the multiple developers working on the website previously, the compiled and source styling were no longer in sync making it difficult to make consistent styling changes across the website. In the words of our Technical Lead, “The functions.php file was nearly 3,000 lines of php and even included some hard-coded HTML. From a best practice point of view, this needed to be an organised collection of include files. Additionally there was the use of the Advanced Custom Fields Pro plugin with 500 lines of definitions and hundreds of lines of include files.” To rectify this amongst other problems, we used build-tools to re-sync the Sass source files, and then worked to update all of the necessary plugins before setting the website live.

Robust and Secure Website

The result is a robust and secure website, which performs better and loads faster for the user. Following our design and development processes has provided Leighton’s with a website that can be easily updated going forward. More recently, we have gone on to add a whole new section to the current website and create branch pages that function effectively alongside the legacy codebase. Leightons are delighted with the result, saying “we're so pleased with all the work Dewsign have done. The website was becoming increasingly frustrating and difficult to manage, but Dewsign have identified and solved a huge number of problems for us, improving the customer journey as well as page loading times. It's great to have such a reliable, knowledgeable team supporting our website, thank you to all involved.”

"The website was becoming increasingly frustrating and difficult to manage, but Dewsign have identified and solved a huge number of problems for us, improving the customer journey as well as page loading times. It's great to have such a reliable, knowledgeable team supporting our website, thank you to all involved."

— Kate Aldridge, Digital Marketing Executive at Leightons