14 Jul 2014

Website upgrade and refresh

One of our first clients, Dunsfold Park, home of Top Gear, asked us a very important question earlier this year, "Should we think about upgrading our website?".

The simple answer is yes!

We first designed and built the Dunsfold Park website back in 2009 using the Joomla Content Management System. Its proved to work very well as the website has grown over the years with extra functionality added, such as a Business Park lettings system and interactive site maps, but like everything systems change and improvements are made.

The old website was running Joomla 1.5 which stopped being supported by the Joomla community in September 2012. Although it was still working perfectly well, no new security updates or improvements were being made available for it. This alone is a great reason to upgrade from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3 (the latest version).

Joomla 3 brings with it many great new features, but the top for us are:

  • Responsive administrator area
    Allowing content updates to be made easier on mobiles and tablets
  • Version control of webpages
    If mistakes are made when updating webpage content, its now simple to roll back to a previous version
  • Microdata
    A relatively new feature which helps with Search Engine Optimisation, tagging the webpages to help Search Engines identify the content

We showed the team the new system and worked with them to understand if a new website design and any new functionality was required. They decided they liked the design as it was but wanted to include a new drivers track booking system.

THE BUILD

Upgrading Joomla 1.5 to 3 is unfortunately not an easy task, its almost a case of recreating the site from scratch as the template must be recoded and content imported back in. Extensions must be upgraded and a site the size of Dunsfold Park means this alone takes quite some time.

Its also very important to make sure the website design, although staying as it was, is made to work on most devices such as phones and tablets so needs to also be rebuilt.

Our team got to work updating all areas of the website and provided Dunsfold Park with a test area to login and try out the updated Joomla system whilst also trying out the new Booking System functionality and ensuring the existing systems all worked as they should.

After a final review period a suitable time (over the weekend) was decided and the new upgraded website was put live.

We hope the update proves fruitful with the new SEO capabilities built in to Joomla as well as a new responsive template which is also on Googles radar as a factor in ranking websites. Joomla are now also ensuring future versions are much easier to upgrade so next time it won't take so much time!