PHP, AJAX, JQuery, MySQL, PPC, Advertising
Host-Finder.net – A comparison engine for web hosting providers. Not too long ago, we were approached to redesign an existing website that offered comparisons of different web hosting providers called Host-Finder.net. The owners wanted a new site that maintained the same basic purpose as their old site (to allow potential buyers to make an informed decision on hosting), but incorporated new aspects such as hosting reviews, top 10 ranking tables, and the ability for customers to come to the site and contribute their own opinions of the various hosts.
For this project, our approach was very straight forward. Our goal was to increase the functionality of an existing site, while managing to give it a bit of a facelift and incorporate some new features that were previously unavailable. To do this, we decided to simply build upon the existing content management system they were already using to power the website. We also decided to incorporate JQuery and AJAX elements which would allow us to implement several small interface improvements without having to completely rebuild the site.
First off, we completely redesigned Host-Finder’s database in order to incorporate many of the new aspects needed to make the required improvements. We built support for top 10 lists by designing new tables that tracked a wider range of features for each web host. With that in place, we implemented a JQuery/AJAX based voting system that allows visitors to the site to contribute their own votes on quality, which are then used to determine each hosts ranking within the top 10 list. Furthermore, we incorporated tools for writing and posting reviews for each web host, so that the operators could build targeted reviews of features and services provided by each host. Finally, we gave the site a facelift by changing some of the colors, improving the sites structure for search engine optimization, and also by making the site easier for users to navigate their way around.
The new version of this site is still very new, but the results appear to be promising. The owners of the site have already noticed a dramatic increase in click through rating to the web hosting providers based simply on the virtues of a top 10 ranking and individual reviews for each host. Also, visitors have left comments remarking how the improved user voting system and navigation make it much simpler for them to find what they want and feel confident that they are getting the best information. Time will tell how well this project ends up, but so far the new approach has been successful.