As there are already a number of websites concerned with listing the UK’s many beaches the challenge here was to produce one which was significantly better than the existing ones. I think this has been achieved through the judicious use of photos, maps and intuitive structuring of the data.
One important area identified was user engagement and how to involve people in the site, This has been achieved in a number of ways including rating beaches and photos, commenting via Facebook api, setting up of social media profiles and facilitating user content – photo uploads and ‘add a beach’.
The website is completely bespoke and built using the Codeigniter PHP framework which is perfect for rapid development along with scalability including caching, which allows for more complex database interaction.
Obviously, there is not point in building a site like this if no one visits it. Therefore the site was built using SEO principles from the outset. This is one advantage of bespoke sites, they can be fast adn lightweight but have all the right elements in the right places – just what the search engines like. This strategy seems to be working as the site is now getting around 300 visitors per day – not bad considering it is the middle of winter and the site is less than 3 months old.
See for yourself at www.thebeachguide.co.uk
UPDATE: 30/12/2012 – the website is now averaging over 500 unique visitors a day