RiceTec Inc. is the world’s leading developer and marketer of hybrid rice seed.
While RiceTec is the leading-edge innovator in rice, the company’s website didn’t reflect its status as an international thought leader in agribusiness. The site looked old, functioned arthritically and was technologically obsolete. Among its ailments were a dated graphic design, confusing navigation, low traffic numbers (a visitor bounce rate of more than 80%), and browser and mobile incompatibility. The site also lacked social-media and email-marketing integration, video capabilities, a user-friendly CMS for timely content updating, a site search, basic SEO for organic placements in leading search engines and security measures to protect the site from hackers.
In its current form, the site had more than 1,000 active server page files/pages, and website data was being stored in an insecure format. This made it extremely difficult for RiceTec to update and maintain the site with current information or in a timely fashion. The company’s marketing and sales staffs did not consider the website to be a viable communications tool.
An in-depth plan of action was needed to tackle this large, internationally visited website. First step: Perform an audit of the site complete with a sitemap of all the navigation and every page to understand exactly what the current site contained. Next, we hosted lengthy “discovery” meetings with key RiceTec stakeholders to gain an understanding of the demographic of the visitors coming to the site and the business goals and expectations RiceTec has for the site. Armed with this information, we developed mock-ups of the new design that included an optimized menu navigation flow; we also developed a plan of action for engineering the site and an overall project schedule.
The new site is integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ through “share” buttons sitewide, as well as a blog, all with link-backs to RiceTec content. We engineered a user-friendly, state-of-the-art content management system (CMS), including custom Web apps for easy data management. We enhanced the site with video capabilities, custom Career Opportunities and Where to Buy Web apps, and an advanced site search. We also built a RiceTec Reps Web app that includes search functionality. Basic organic SEO was performed on the site for Google and Yahoo. Careful attention was given to code commenting, optimization and organization.
SI performed a browser-compatibility test on the new site to ensure that it would run in all major browsers on the market. The site was also optimized for mobile devices (phones and tablets). We also engineered all sliders and special features on the site using compatible technologies, then tested for correct functionality.
The overarching solution to the website, in terms of RiceTec’s ability to use the site effectively to impact sales, was a dashboard system that allows RiceTec staff to manage content, email marketing, analytics, customer relationships (CRM), and data capture from forms. The dashboard provides RiceTec with a complete picture of the company’s online presence in one place.