Sun Mountain Lodge came to Ravenna with two issues. First, due to a new site launch, their SEO had taken a massive step backward. Second, the new site was not maintainable. While it was WordPress, the developer had implemented the CMS in a way that made it very difficult to manage. The site Also had a very Lighthouse score in the 60s.
With this foundation, Ravenna mapped out a strategy to resolve the SOE issues, regain the lost ranking, and re-implement WordPress in an organized way that would support content authors.
The result is a 90+ Lighthouse score in Speed and best practices. But more than that, the re-implemented WordPress was easy to manage, had a clear organization, and supported Sun Mountain Lodge so that it did not need an ongoing retainer.
Many people complain that WordPress is slow. Our rebuttal to that argument is simple: Poorly developed or implemented themes are slow, sites with 30 plugins are slow, sites that don't minify assets are slow, and sites that use 1+ MB images are slow. So, let's talk about how we fixed this for Sun Mountain Lodge.
First up: the theme. We started from scratch with a clean theme that followed WordPress best practices related to clean code and was organized in a way that allowed WordPress to do the heavy lifting.
Next, we dumped 20+ plugins. Plugins can create added weight to the page load because they often add front-end code that the developer didn't know about. We only use plugins that make content authoring easier. This means plugins like Advanced Custom Fields.
Thirdly, we started with Vite to handle all the asset compiling and modification. This lets us use live-reload in development, making the development process even faster.
Finally, we set appropriate image size restrictions for image uploads to support the content author as they create content for the site. We also set up a Webp converter that converted every uploaded image into Webp, saving us a lot in page load.
Another improvement was in the content authoring experience. Previously, the WP admin was confusing to manage. The previous developer added most of the content to pages and then used slugs or magic numbers to find the correct content.
Our first order of business was to group all content by type. Rooms at the hotel, Activities, Specials, and more each have their own content type and relevant fields. This allowed authors to find the right content and manage it easily.
The resulting site is easy to manage, fun to look at, performant and recovering its SEO ranking.
TJ and the whole Ravenna team is fabulous to work with. They are professional and very knowledgeable about web design, app design, and SEO. We were grateful to find and work with them.
Anne Young, Marketing Manager