Learn how we improved site performance, user experience and access to more accurate and relevant data through third party search services

One of our newest clients recently approached us as they were frustrated at how their existing website kept stalling or ceased to work entirely. They’d been experiencing the issue for months, in addition to other website issues that prevented them from uploading the content that they wanted to. They’d been told the only way to solve the problem was to have a custom platform built; a very expensive, and rather unnecessary step. 

The client was understandably frustrated, and these website issues were impacting their ability to make online sales- negatively impacting their bottom line. They were also frustrated that their current system meant nobody without development experience could make changes to the website.

When this new client asked us for help, our team was glad to step in, and look into the problem for them. We distilled the issues down to a few key issues to solve:

  • Find out what was causing the website to stall, and ensure a new system doesn't fall into the same traps,

  • Improve the search functionality of their existing website, and

  • Implement a solution that would allow their content teams to make tweaks.

After some careful searching through our client’s website we realised one of their key issues causing all of their website problems was their third party data API. The use of this external API meant our client was forced to fit their business and their website model into the third parties API model, and as they weren’t compatible our client’s website was often crashing, and ceasing to work.

The plan

Our team quickly came up with a number of solutions that could be rapidly implemented for our client. The multi-pronged approach we set up to resolve our clients’ frustration went as follows:

  1. We investigated a number of indexing services to find the best fit,

  2. We decided to go with Algolia, and set it up for our client,

  3. We created a middleware wrapper in Python, and hosted on AWS Lambda, to pull from the existing third party data source, and insert the data into Algolia for indexing,

  4. We utilised Algola’s visual merchandising tools so that anyone from our clients’ company who needed to make tweaks, e.g. boost categories, hide items etc, to the data could do so without needing any website development knowledge.

  5. In addition, our team selected to use Algolia as a “data store” so that the website would not require additional custom Databases to be created or hosted.

  6. We went on to combine the work we had done with Next.js to cache and to statically generate the web pages for our client, reducing hits to the API whilst rapidly improving performance and SEO.

  7. Lastly, we used Algolia’s InstantSearch components to rapidly generate a customised search and filtering pages, without having to create all of the logic ourselves.

The Results

Our multi-pronged, comprehensive approach to solving our client’s website issues was extremely well received. The search functionality increased significantly, the website stopped glitching, there was a vastly improved user experience and far better page performance, not to mention a massive reduction of 90% in hosting and running costs.. In addition, the Algolia solution we implemented meant that less time and resources were needed to create external website data sources, which meant our client’s time was freed up to focus on creating engaging content. 

We continue to be impressed with the results we achieve with Algolia. If you are interested in knowing more, and seeing how we can help your business create engaging, content-driven platforms then please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Want to see our skills in action?

Check out our latest case studies and knowledge articles

Header image