Click and Mortar Makeover

Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters, a landmark in the town where  I live, had an old website and needed a new one. We worked with Paul Fraley of Fresh Eyes Design to bring their new site to life.

The old Uncle Sam’s website had a beautiful outdoor shot on the homepage, but almost no text, with predictably poor results when it came to search. We wrote engaging text that made a clear statement for the search engines, and replaced the one large picture with a sliding gallery. Paul made liberal use of the logos of the products the store carries, so visitors could see right away that they’d find their favorite gear if they went to shop.

The staff liked this a lot, asking for even more logos. This lengthened the home page enough that we pulled blog posts in to reward those who scroll down. The logos are entered as individual posts, so we can change them out when stock changes. We’re linking them to the websites of the manufacturers, so shoppers can identify items they’d like to special order.

The old website had a skimpy page of product information that was rarely updated, but the new site has blog posts several times a week, with reviews, inside information about the products, and the first hand outdoor adventure sports knowledge of the staff. We’ll be posting for them, so they can send photos and thoughts when they feel like it, but be confident that there will be fresh content on a regular basis, no matter how busy they get.

You might notice that the Facebook and Twitter icons stay put even when you scroll. When you hover over them, you’ll see recent posts — see the screenshot below. This is a clever plugin from Code Canyon. Paul customized the icons to suit the new website.

With regular social media and analytics, Uncle Sam’s will have the data they need to measure the effectiveness of their promotions and marketing efforts.

The owners plan to add e-commerce at some point in the future, so the inner pages have been set up to accommodate this. Visitors now can see lists of the item categories and brands carried, and in the future they’ll be able to click through to browse and shop.

In the meantime, the blog (shown below) provides a great way to showcase new products.

The site is built on a WordPress platform, with custom widgets that let the owners accept job applications online, show an interactive map, and collect newsletter signups automatically. A careful selection of plugins add Google Analytics, special fonts, SEO-friendly options, and the ability to show different widgets on each page.

Altogether, the site is highly usable, fun, and designed to grow with the company.







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