New Website! 0
Back in 2009 I decided to start marketing our maple syrup online. I bought a book called HTML Goodies and after working in the woods all day I stayed up most of the night learning how to program in html. After a month long obsession with building a website I launched our first website ever and called it CVT Maple for "Chris' Vermont Maple."
It was a basic site offering maple syrup, wedding favors and gift sets. I had some PayPal buy buttons and set up a packing area in the shared garage underneath our Apartment. I had a few sales, and our online business was officially under way.
For the next year or so the website got a few more hits and I began to sell a little more syrup. I wanted to step it up a notch with my website and really do more to showcase our maple syrup so I continued to read about website coding and began testing out new features. I get a little crazy when I take on a project like this (just ask my wife) and after arming myself with a little more web programming knowledge I build the second version of our website.
The new site was a HUGE upgrade over the first. It had more pages, more products, more features, more images and carried a new business name. CVT Maple was just not catchy enough for my business. I agonized over what to call it. I through around all sorts of names, like All Things Maple, and Maple Valley, and Online Maple Syrup. One day while taking a break at the family Christmas tree farm while gazing up at Mount Mansfield I was struck with inspiration. I grew up in the foothills of Mount Mansfield, our sugarbush faces Mount Mansfield, I went to a high school named after Mount Mansfield... and so Mount Mansfield Maple Products was born.
We really liked the look of this website version, but were concerned that it just was not search engine friendly. After another year we decided to address this issue and sought out a web design company. We didn't have a budget so we just asked them if it would be possible to take the exact look and feel we had and make the code search engine friendly. A couple hundred dollars later and they took our home-page and reworked it for Google.
Once again, with HTML book in hand, I took that single page that they coded and rewrote the entire site. For the last few years this has been the online face of Mount Mansfield Maple Products. We added a few pages here and there, included content and added new products and eventually moved away from using strictly paypal to an eCommerce platform that could accept credit card payments, but for the most part not a whole lot changed.
This version has been very good for us, but we ran into yet another technical obstacle as people have transitioned from computers to smartphones and tablets for shopping. The website was just not mobile friendly. In addition to that, search engine algorithms have evolved over the years, and our website was still using old programming methods.
Over the years our business has also grown dramatically! In 2011 we had one part time employee at our maple shop and no employees at our farm. As of this writing we are now up to ten full time year round employees with six seasonals at the shop and four employees at the sugarbush. We've also been getting into a little more wholesale and have even taken our brand to the specialty food industry, presenting at trade shows. Once again, we have found ourselves at an impasse with our website and decided to take the leap to bring it all the way to 2018 to be mobile friendly, search engine friendly and feature-rich to satisfy both our core retail customers as well as our growing wholesale clientele.
Once again we started conversations with web design firms, and while we have grown dramatically over the last eight years, we quickly realized that we just were not going to be able to find the budget for a total overhaul. Committed to the cause however I did what I always do during times like these. Identify the problem, dig in and find a solution. So, I found a new eCommerce platform that was feature rich and for the last five weeks I've been working morning and night developing a new search engine optimized mobile friendly site to proudly display our brand.
While the overall site has seen a major facelift, the layout and navigation is still very similar. You can easily explore our company and browse our products just the way you could before. Now you can create personal accounts to review your order history and the invoicing and order tracking is much more accessible. Reaching out to customer service and processing returns and exchanges is easier than ever and if you are a wholesale customer we've developed a secure portal that will allow you to submit orders directly through the site, streamlining our fulfillment process and making it easier to focus on the other aspects of your business.
It is our goal to provide an easy to use website that has the information and features you need while being compatible with your computer or device of choice. Please let us know what you think, what, if anything it is missing, and how we can improve your experience with our online store! We'd love to hear from you!
Warm regards and wishing you all a wonderful year in 2018!
-Chris White, Owner
- Chris White