Sabio are specialists in providing customer experience solutions (CX) to their clients so that they in turn can provide the best possible service to their own clients. This is a rapidly expanding and competitive market – especially given events during the pandemic – and thus it was important for them to have an eye-catching and memorable website that performed well for both organic and paid digital marketing.

As there was a considerable digital marketing spend, we had to make sure that as much was done to maximise the return, and so went to to considerable lengths to optimise the site for organic search, as well as ensuring that landing pages and funnels worked as smoothly and as flawlessly as possible.

I was not involved in the initial site build, but was on hand for the launch which had an extra complication due to a change of domain name. Some 2,000 URL paths had also changed, and so I wrote a system to take the old ones (and subsequent ones found through 404s in Google Search Console) and rewrite them to the new correct URLs, taking into account domain name changes and moving from HTTP to HTTPS, and doing it all with only one 302 redirect. This system then updated the Nginx rules, tested and restarted the web service so that it was as fast as possible and resulted in negligible downtime.

After launch, there was a phase of internationalisation (i18n), translating the site from English in to Dutch, French and Spanish and allowing each territory to manage their own content, news, events etc. Although WordPress does provide great tools for this, a large number of our custom sections and some third party plugins required rewrites and updates to accommodate this. It was also essential that these i18n changes did not impact the SEO features of the site.

The client ran many campaigns through social media and at events – both online and in-person. Very often, these campaigns would click through to a landing page that contained a form, powered by Pardot to connect through to their in-house CRM. We needed to fit these forms seamlessly into the page and pass through any trafficking variables so that they could monitor the effectiveness of each channel. I implemented this using a combination of JavaScript query string sniffing and server-side cookie checks to to populate form fields, which were then submitted along with the form.

In mid 2020, we were tasked with making updates to the site to make the most of the upcoming Google Web Vitals site quality signals. At the time, the dynamic and attractive nature of the site meant that there were a lot of moving elements and page size was relatively large, both of which had a negative effect. Furthermore, some elements blocked loading of the page which was also viewed as detrimental under these measurements. I performed many optimisations and tricks, such as;

  • splitting the existing CSS and JS into two sections (vital and improvement), dynamically loading the vital parts inline in the head and deferring the rest to the foot of the page, to reduce initial page load time and time to first interaction
  • refactoring the CSS so that the page moves around as little as possible (reducing layout shift)
  • optimising JS so that only the parts that need to load do so, and only run when they need to
  • adjusting the web font load, so that text doesn’t disappear when the new one is applied
  • optimising images so that they load more quickly, and also manually updating those which weren’t automatically lazy loading

These updates gave the site a 4x uplift in desktop speed score and a 2x increase in mobile score (it already performed highly in other categories)

I built this site while I was employed at AB Brand and Marketing Agency.

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