Chocolate and Steel is a handmade jewelry business started by the owner, Christine Street. They sell a variety of products, from earrings to bracelets to quote necklaces. Their existing site dated back five years and was no longer meeting their needs in terms of brand identity and current technology. In addition their web host had become unreliable and slow, hurting their WooCommerce performance.

Chocolate and Steel's Old Website
Chocolate and Steel’s Old Website

Using a premium theme as a starting point we developed a new visual design for the website, starting with Chocolate and Steel’s current logo and typography and expanding it into a visual language that makes the site an extension of their brand.

The new theme is also Responsive—capable of being viewed on any size screen with no loss of information or functionality—and can serve images optimized for high-resolution “Retina” screens to devices that support them. The site design is photo-driven and uses subtle dynamic effects to communicate Chocolate and Steel’s sense of playfulness and whimsy.

The Challenge

  • A Non-Responsive Website that didn’t work well on mobile devices
  • Poor WooCommerce Performance and Out of Date Software
  • Visual Theme didn’t Represent their Brand
  • An underused Email List and labor-intensive Social Media Process

The Solution

  • Updated the site to the latest version of WordPress + WooCommerce
  • Create a customized premium visual theme that aligned with the Chocolate and Steel Brand and worked just as well on phones as on large screens.
  • Configured caching, optimized images, and moved the site to a new web host to improve site and WooCommerce performance
  • SEO and Content Marketing Strategy Roadmap

The Results

Comparing the month leading up to Valentine’s Day in 2016 to the same period in 2017, Chocolate and Steel saw:

  • An overall increase in speed by almost 100%.
  • 62% more Unique Sessions and a 78% increase in the number of visitors who had never visited the site before.
  • A 107% increase in orders and a 66% increase in the average price per item sold
  • Traffic from Social Media increased 458%
  • Traffic from mobile devices went up 68%
  • A 130% increase in the number of subscribers added to the Chocolate and Steel mailing list during the reporting period.
The new Chocolate and Steel site by dbdc
The new Chocolate and Steel site by dbdc

Due to the ever-increasing technical demands of the site we decided to move the whole thing, including 400 products and 500 archived orders, to a new hosting account at SiteGround. Adding resources, upgrading the version of PHP, and implementing file and object caching resulted in a nearly 100% increase in WooCommerce performance.

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Tell Me More!

Chocolate and Steel had a large email list but didn’t engage with it often. We integrated the shop with MailChimp for email list management, added an opt-in check box on the checkout form, and deployed visible but unobtrusive opt-in forms to the home page and non-product pages. Finally, we added map-based interface for finding physical stores carrying Chocolate and Steel’s work around the world.

The home page shows live updates from Chocolate and Steel’s Instagram and Pinterest feeds, and Instagram posts are added to the site’s Blog automatically. Removing some of the manual elements of the social media publishing process has driven the 458% increase in traffic coming from social media year over year.

Client Testimonial

“The best part was how efficient and knowledgable Jeff was. If I had a question he always knew or found the answer. It was great not having to deal with much of the server/hosting set up stuff.

“I also really enjoyed the road-mapping process. The questions really allowed me to hone in on the functions most important to my customers.”

 — Christine Street, Owner, Chocolate and Steel

Jewelry image copyright and courtesy Chocolate and Steel. Links to the WooCommerce, MailChimp, and SiteGround websites are affiliate links.