We recently published a new custom Shopify ecommerce website for the very popular and well known strawberry farm Harvest the Fleurieu in South Australia. Allis reached out to us on Instagram after she saw us complete a website for another awesome South Aussie called Within the Candle Chaos Co.
I am not sure why but the pronunciation of Fleurieu always sends me to a world of confusion, I think it’s the mix of characters that throws me off. However, no stress, on confirmation from Allis I am happy to share the correct pronunciation is: flu-re-o.
The Old Wix Website
Allis reached out to us as she first attempted to create an ecommerce website with Wix during the pandemic to service clients from a distance. The old website utilised a template that she customised to suit her brand. She wanted to take the website to the next level so she reached out to us and contracted us to build something unique and custom for Harvest the Fleurieu. I put a few pictures of the original website below.
The original Wix website contained several contrast issues as seen in the contact us section above, misaligned text, unoptimised images, poor load times, and many other problems. The problems stem from poorly designed templates produced by Wix. They put almost zero effort into web vitals, page experience, performance, SEO or any other important things. It provides a good entry point due to its cheap price and ease to start but at the end of the day you get what you pay for.
Producing a Custom Shopify Website
The ecommerce website itself utilises Shopify as we find the platform to provide a superior service compared to others in the industry such as Wix, WooCommerce and others. It also allows us as Software Engineers to build custom functionality with a high level of flexibility. A win for us and a win for our client.
The homepage of the website utilises a contrasting green colour palette with a mix of high quality photography provided by an external photographer. As a side note, I always recommend to our clients to hire a professional photographer for their website if their budget permits them. The online world gives a chance for a company to put their best foot forward and I am honestly convinced the photos pay for themselves for the return on investment for the clients it converts. Our clients either hire our inhouse photographer or source their own, whatever suits them.
Apart from the aesthetics of the website it provides critical functionality required to allow customers to book a strawberry picking session. To enable this functionality we embedded a module created from Rezdy to allow customers to book their strawberry picking sessions. We also custom coded within Shopify the ability for Allis or managers to disable strawberry picking sessions in the off-season.
We hand coded every single section for the Harvest the Fleurieu website with use of our own homebrewed Shopify Theme. We handcraft websites for our clients because it allows us to create a full custom website which embodies the style and branding of our client. It also gives differentiation from the significant part of the community that utilise pre-baked templates bought off of the Shopify Theme Store.
I also added custom forms to the website as requested by Allis to allow customers to book for a group of people such as a school or to book a party for a child. Now, for some unearthly reason Shopify lacks decent support for forms, instead they suggest to embed or link to an external form such as Jot Forms, which I flat out refuse to do.
In my opinion customers utilise forms more than any other contact feature on a website so I want to ensure I create the best user experience possible with a handcrafted native website form, no external services. This provides a superior user experience, especially with specific requirements of a client such as Allis in my case.
It would actually be easier to use Jot Forms with Shopify and I would receive a commission from Jot Forms for reselling their service as a partner. Soooo, hmmmm, it’s easier and I earn more money, seems like a no brainer to just use Jot Forms, right? NO! It compromises the quality of the website and the user experience for clients, which I refuse to accept. I build websites for my clients with the aim to boost their business. Therefore, I chose to earn less money and spend more time building something custom to ensure my client receives the best possible website for their business. Full stop.
Acing the Page Insights Scores
Throughout the development of the website I always test it consistently with PageSpeed Insights, a signal Google utilises to rank a website. I always aim to receive 100 in each score but in reality a number at least above 90 provides an excellent outcome. In the case of Harvest the Fleurieu, I receive on average of 98 for performance, 100 for accessibility, 100 for best practices, and 100 for SEO, as seen in the screenshot above.
Keep in mind that real world results may vary to those results shown in PageSpeed insights but the score gives excellent guidance to reach excellent real world scores. For those interested to find out more about PageSpeed Insights and how Google utilises it for ranking your website, my brother Dom wrote an excellent blog post on the topic.
I highly recommend other businesses to take PageSpeed Insights into consideration. I meet a ton of businesses that pay $1000’s for ads per month or for SEO optimisation, yet they lack good page experience scores, which leads to poorer website conversions and lower Google rankings. It’s like putting fresh and delicious toppings on pizza with a terrible base, it will still suck. Feel free to run your website through the PageSpeed Insights and test your own website.
In the end I felt quite happy and proud of Harvest the Fleurieu website. I love to work with fellow family South Aussie businesses because I myself do the same with my brother at Sanico. As seen in the screenshot above we feel honoured every time to receive customer reviews like this, it warms our hearts and makes our job worth it.
The new ecommerce website included a whole brand update, a complete rebuild from the old website. We packed it full of features such as custom forms, fast page load speeds, embedded Rezdy bookings, SEO specific language, and powered by Shopify, a much superior platform compared to Wix.
For anyone looking for a fun experience with the family I highly recommend reaching out to Allis and the team from Harvest the Fleurieu, you can organise to pick strawberries, book a party for your child or eat and shop at the family friendly market hall.
On a final note, it was such a pleasure working with Allis, a big thanks to her again for reaching out to us. I had so much fun building the entire website from scratch and it was an honour to work alongside such a renowned and popular local South Aussie establishment.
For any businesses out there that want to take their website to the next level, feel free to reach out.