Timothy Lea & Griffiths
Content managed website featuring automatic property updates and online payments.
Timothy Lea & Griffiths (TLG) is a leading Estate Agents based in Evesham, Worcestershire. They were thoroughly fed up with the inflexible templated website solutions they had used to date and wanted to take full control of their online presence.
Their new site had to:
- be mobile friendly
- automatically update with their latest property details
- take rent payments online
- allow office staff to update certain areas of the site
Whilst TLG were clearly aware that the majority of their visitors were still using desktop devices such as laptops and PCs there was a growing percentage of mobile visitors and these had to be catered for.
I didn't just want to cover off mobile and tablet, I wanted to make a site that was truly device agnostic to provide as much future proofing as possible.
A responsive approach was the answer. I used the excellent Pure.css to handle the responsive layout work and created a website that works elegantly at all resolutions.
TLG uses two different office based systems to manage their properties:
- Vebra - residential properties for sale along with commercial opportunities
- Jupix - residential properties to let
The website needed to be able to integrate with both of these solutions in order to regularly update the available properties on their site.
Both Vebra and Jupix make an XML feed available. The basic data is in rightmove data format however each system adds their own little quirks and differing ways to authenticate and connect.
At various times throughout the day cron tasks run on the web server to connect to these XML feeds to retrieve the latest versions.
Using PHP/MySQL I pulled the information from the feeds and stored it in the database along with any supporting images and PDF files. This data is then used to populate the website with their up to date property portfolio.
This was a no frills approach to taking online payments. There was no requirement for an exhaustive backend or customer accounts so implementing a full blown e-commerce system like Woocommerce would have been overkill here.
I decided to code a bespoke solution which would capture and sanitise all the relevant data before passing it over to their payment gateway, sagePay.
SagePay would then process the payment and send the outcome back to the website where PHP/MySQL would be used to store the response for record keeping purposes with any actual payment management being handled through their sagePay back-end.
TLG have a wealth of offline articles relating to properties etc. so we decided it would be a good idea to publish these on their website to help increase organic traffic.
Enter Wordpress, my favourite CMS.
I built the site in wordpress and gave their office staff access to the areas needed to add these articles.
I also created a few bespoke Wordpress plugins to facilitate new functionality such as listing properties for reporting purposes and selecting featured properties.