The SeniorCare.ie website came from a public need for information about elderly care in Ireland. There was no impartial ‘go to’ resource available, and this was identified through the personal experience of Directors Conor and Sheila.
Information on the industry, as well on the services and businesses operating within the industry was badly needed. The goal of the site was to collate these and present them in an organized, searchable and coherent way. Publishing items on the industry, from events to discussions, driving debate, and seeking help were all key goals. On top of this it needed to cover its cost, be painless to update, and grow with the site.
The keystone of the project was building a directory through Sitefinity. This is the main revenue and traffic generator behind Senior Care. It was easy to use for non technical people to manage, join, yet was very effective. The built-in search was adapted to work with this directory.
The next key module was the Blog module. We leveraged this to provide current relevant information on the industry to the public. Using the RSS feeds we have also pushed the blog into Senior Care’s Facebook page and sent out articles via the newsletter. The goal of which is to drive discussion and debate around relevant topics. Recently we have introduced a forum to the site to further drive the debate and user generated content. The module did take a good bit of tweaking, being possibly the most basic module, however it’s very easy to use and functional. We plan on upgrading it when we have fully explored Sitefinity 4.0.
We also use News and Events modules to good effect providing information in a structured way. We have used the News module as the main driver of the directory customizing it to suit our needs. It was quite a challenge for us but Sitefinity made it very easy to add additional fields as required to the News module, and add relevant CSS classes to help with the classifications of the records.
Not only have we used the News module to serve as our listing directory, we’ve used the same News module, for its ‘original purpose’ to add news to the website! Using the same module for multiple purposes demonstrates the flexibility of Sitefinity. Our client is happy to add numerous listings in batches with minimum effort using the customized News module, whilst also using the same module and interface to add news articles to the website.
We have also implemented minor user controls for contact us page & get listed section. Integrating our own user controls with Sitefinity is also very simple and the detailed developer manual has certainly been a useful resource. When we get stuck we always have the Sitefinity team to support us, and discuss solutions.
Implementing many of the other modules on the site required minimum effort. The Blog, Forum & Events modules are simply dragged and dropped in.
Finally a key aspect to Sitefinity is always its ease of optimization for the search engines. It lends itself well to XHTML coding and individual page tagging and optimization which is one of the reasons we like It so much.
The forum itself has provided some of the excellent feedback on the website. Also wonderful comments were made through Facebook. While still at an early stage, the audience using the site is growing, and more importantly returning on a regular basis.
As search engine marketers we have leveraged the various aspects of the architecture and pages to ensure pages are well indexed and optimized. This is paying off with numerous top 3 listings in organic Google searches. Traffic is continuing to build, with extremely low bounce rates and high percentage directory renewals.
Senior Care has fast established itself as the go to resource for Senior Care in Ireland. Sitefinity has certainly helped in that, but its real benefit comes in the future. Sitefinity allows us to continue to grow, update and adapt the site using their modules as the client’s needs change.