Headless WordPress Takes Georgian College to the Head of its Class

By converting its website to Atlas, Georgian College went from 23rd in SERP rankings to 2nd, joining the likes of Harvard and Yale.

Industry: Higher Education

Site: georgiancollege.ca

Challenge: Address website performance issues that were affecting SERP rankings for Georgian College.

Solution: WP Engine Atlas allowed Georgian College to relaunch its website as a headless build, including a Gatsby frontend, which looks better—and loads faster—than ever before. 

Results: By converting its site to Atlas, Georgian College went from 23rd in SEO rank to 2nd. This performance boost puts Georgian College’s website’s performance up there with some of the top universities in the U.S., including Yale, Harvard, and MIT.

New site metrics:

Georgian College Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.”

—TKTK, Georgian College

Finding Stability for Increased Demand

In 2021, the Melbourne office of web design and conversion agency Chromatix began working with Miss Biscuit, an Australian business offering cookie decorating classes and decorating supplies to a growing audience.

With a growing eCommerce presence built alongside its in-store experience, Miss Biscuit partnered with Chromatix to elevate its website and assist with increasing demand for its products and classes online.

While MissBiscuit.com.au performed well overall, high traffic numbers began to impact the effectiveness of the site during key sales events including Miss Biscuit’s May Anniversary Sale and Christmas Sale, which both attract a large volume of customers each year.

Over concurrent sales events, the website experienced challenges with search experience, site integrations, event-based workflows, and with increasingly high traffic, downtime.

“Miss Biscuit was sending out its newsletter and new offers early in the morning and within the hour, the website would crash,” said Chromatix Director, Irwin Hau.

“This was a frustrating experience for customers as well as the Miss Biscuit team. Websites are incredibly important, not only for conversions but also revenue, and with clients from Melbourne, Sydney, and around Australia visiting the site all at the same time, fixing this issue was a top agency priority.”

Hau and his team recommended a more stable eCommerce server solution to create a smoother website experience for Miss Biscuit’s customers and support the website’s growing number of visitors.

At that point, Chromatix enlisted the help of WP Engine to provide a sturdy and secure foundation that would take the Miss Biscuit website from good to great.

"There were so many possibilities with the Miss Biscuit site and without a stable server, we were limited,” Hau said. "It's difficult to build a house on a rocky foundation, and the same applies to building a website. WP Engine helped us build an excellent foundation for this project to thrive on.”

New Opportunities Created From the Bottom Up

The key to building an even stronger eCommerce presence for Miss Biscuit was ensuring the foundation was reliable. WP Engine’s goal was to deliver solid infrastructure, security, support, and eCommerce optimizations to create a strong backbone for the site.

In that vein, Chromatix leveraged WP Engine’s compute-optimized servers for WooCommerce hosting, providing Miss Biscuit with its own dedicated server and removing the risk of downtime due to high concurrent traffic.

WP Engine also provided a scalable infrastructure solution to support event traffic at peak periods with additional application monitoring and post-event feedback to assist with any future developments. This has been critical for managing key sales events or surprise upticks in traffic.

“Moving the server for Miss Biscuit’s website to WP Engine provided a stable, scalable platform that can adjust to the highs and lows of traffic on the website,” Irwin said.

“If the website’s server is slow, the website will fall apart. This is why WP Engine is so important.”

With the support of a secure and stable server, Chromatix was able to turn its focus to upgrading UX elements that would provide Miss Biscuit customers with an even better eCommerce experience.

“If we are selling premium products, we want to be able to provide premium service,” Irwin said.

"This applies to the Miss Biscuit website as well. As a result of these improvements, we are now able to explore additional opportunities for creating a smooth, enjoyable, and memorable journey for all customers.”

To further assist MissBiscuit.com.au, Irwin and the team at Chromatix worked with WP Engine to add search-based technology to the site.

This integration, which adds AI to site search and discovery, supports the website’s overall new direction, allowing customers to more easily find the products they need (or didn’t know they need) with ease.

The Results

With the website going live less than a week after its internal relaunch, WP Engine ensured that processes were running smoothly for customers in a timely manner.

Once all systems were implemented and the site was fully live, Miss Biscuit.com achieved 100% uptime throughout day-to-day traffic and peak sales events. The website also experienced an increase in immediate revenue through improved conversion and marketing strategies.*

Customers also received an updated, seamless experience when browsing the website, with a 41% decrease in total load time and predictive search options that provide customers with personalized choices.

With Chromatix’s supported optimizations in place, Miss Biscuit has since celebrated two of the highest-grossing sales events in its history.

“The outcome of this project has been precisely the type of result we aim to provide our clients,” Hau said.

“With WP Engine behind us the whole way, we were able to not only build a beautiful new online experience for an important eCommerce client, but we were able to tackle their mission-critical challenge around downtime and set their online customer experience back on track.”

*Results as at EOM May 2022

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