Giant steps with LA’s champions of sustainable woodworking
Offerman Woodshop are LA’s high priests of handicraft. Nick Offerman and his capable companions build and sell custom furniture and gifts online from local and sustainably sourced timbers.
We partnered with them to build their eCommerce and fulfilment stack, and recently undertook a website redesign to improve content, conversions, performance, and customer engagement.
How we helped
- Digital Design & Development
- Content Strategy
- Information Architecture
- Wordpress / Woocommerce / Shipstation
- +180k Pageviews / Month
- 50 Products In Store
The Offerman Woodshop story
Offerman Woodshop is a small collective of woodworkers based out of Nick Offerman’s charismatic wood shop in East Los Angeles. Their website offers small-edition wood products, gifts, and custom-built furniture with a strong focus on traditional and hand-crafted production methods.
These equal-opportunity enthusiasts run a principled business demonstrated by their approach to materials sourcing (local and sustainable tree rescue), fair wage policy, and support of US-based manufacturers.
Offerman Woodshop is a great example of how to combine traditional production methods with the web to sell unique products in an economically sustainable way.
Going more than skin deep
It had been 5 years since their website last had a serious lick of paint. We shared the client’s vision that this redesign was an opportunity to provide more than just a new skin. It was important to consider how the business was evolving, and the ways in which our expertise could support and enable that growth.
The review was wide ranging and identified several needs. It also shed light on a range of existing features and content that was no longer serving the business as well as it could. This latter group could be removed and/or redesigned to better support where they needed to go.
The website work of Aveling Ray has sincerely been the beating heart of our retail business, pumping the lifeblood of our products and our personality with vigor and consistency. All this without ever hurting my feelings. Gratitude.
Killer copy front and center
Offermanwoodshop.com has a reputation for charming and personable product copy. This was most evident in single-product pages where item descriptions included punchy and hilarious references, anecdotes and alliterations.
We implemented a series of changes that increased the presence of their unique voice and tone across the entire site. One of the most successful changes was in product grids – where we co-wrote and implemented a new product tagline field situated underneath product titles.
Their inclusion brought life and personality to product category pages, and the home page, providing affable and compelling lead-ins to curious customers.
Reusable Product Components
When it came to the single product pages we made a concerted effort to leave no product-related question unanswered. Instead of forcing would-be customers to trawl through the FAQ page or contact the shop via email, the new product pages were newly equipped with informative and relevant content to assist in purchasing.
To support this initiative, we came up with an approach to make this vital content reusable so that it could be applied to multiple contexts from a single management location. This powerful feature made it easy to enrich the store and was especially useful with:
- Product care instructions
- Size charts
- Product shipping specifics
- Product origin and authenticity signifiers
A flexible blogging framework
The old site had several content areas that weren’t performing as well as they could. There was a News content type that primarily served as a blog for the woodshop, and a separate Press type that ran double duties for both shop announcements and Nick’s endeavors outside of the shop.
The OWS crew found it challenging to maintain fresh and relevant content in both areas. Sometimes a single piece of content would get published to both places because it was both News and Press worthy.
Our team also identified a need to share a tasty morsel or two that was newsworthy, but not enough of a talking point to warrant a long-form article or blog post. These morsels were typically a video embed with supporting text, or a quick link to a related website or project they were collaborating with.
We found a solution to this Content Strategy problem by:
- Combining the old News and Press post types into a single content type
- Adding a series of new presentation options to News items.
This new tooling gave them the ability to write their authoritative longform articles while also freeing them to publish a quick snippet or video embed when the need arose
The result of this change is a News area that is content-rich but easier to maintain.
Getting the Custom Furniture message out
Offerman Woodshop make incredible custom wood items. Over the years they’ve designed and built all manner of unique things including boats, furniture, pergolas, and ping-pong tables.
The previous incarnation of the website didn’t communicate the depth and breadth of their creations in a manner that was easy to discover or engage with. We needed to amplify the messaging and outreach surrounding the custom built services in order to secure more unique and interesting work for them.
We remedied these issues with:
- A new approach to taxonomies.
- Provision of valuable user-centered content on subject list pages.
- Technical SEO to support their valuable content offerings.
New taxonomies and terms
The old approach to categorizing their portfolio of custom works led to unnecessary redundancies and cul-de-sacs. It was hard for users to get into a natural flow with the content in this part of the site.
Furthermore, some of the taxonomy terms were either cryptic, too narrowly scoped, or too widely applied which exacerbated their user flow issues.
We found solutions to many of these issues through the creation of a new content schema for the Custom Built area that containerd the the following taxonomies:
Object (Table, Bed, Boat…)
This became the primary taxonomy and was implemented in primary navigation, breadcrumbs, and permalinks.
Wood Species (Redwood, Walnut, Maple…)
View custom projects by species. The species list pages provided an important touchpoint for valuable content that spoke to the qualities of the species and how it is best used in furniture production. Each species list page had its own permalink that came in handy when sharing targeted portfolio examples with clients.
Features (Slab, Live Edge, Reclaimed Lumber…)
The list pages for these Features became the ideal place to provide insight and expertise related to the benefits and idiosyncrasies of building with these features in mind.
Spaces (Living Room, Kitchen, Outdoors…)
A handy taxonomy for clients whose needs, or way of thinking about furniture relates to a particular space in their home or business.
We structured the content and permalinks of these new taxonomies in a manner that would be friendly to search engines. Within 6 months the entire Custom Built section of the website had made significant improvements in search engine rankings, especially in local search results. A recent analysis of their traffic showed that the site:
- Ranked for 65,000 impressions for queries including the word “custom”
- Achieved page position 10 or lower for 82 relevant keyword terms
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