Old Down Estate
Old Down Estate is a stunning location situated in the South West countryside and set in 66 acres of beautiful grounds. They requested an updated website as their current site did not capture how they were positioning themselves. Nor was it very easy to use.
As I worked with the various members of staff at Old Down, it became quite clear that this was not a single product. They needed three distinct areas of their business promoted: Weddings, Events, and the Country Park.
These had to be part of the Old Down Estate umbrella, yet somehow be separate. After discussions with their design team, we collaborated on the logos, branding colours, and typography. I used these as a starting point for the websites.
What I came up with was a main ‘olddownestate.co.uk’ site, linked with ‘olddownweddings.co.uk’, ‘olddownevents.co.uk’, and ‘olddowncountrypark.co.uk’. The sites would have a unified menu and an identical structure differentiated only by content and subtle colour changes. This setup grants specific SEO to each domain and enhances the profile of each site with interlinked content.
When it came to the full build, I wanted to make it as easy to update and use as possible. I knew that having four separate sites could introduce complexity. For instance, events uploaded to the wrong sub-site, or phone numbers changed on one site and not the other.
I decided that a WordPress multisite setup would be the best option. This allowed better communication between site content and sped up development as only one master theme needed to be created. It also meant subsite-specific CSS handled colour adjustments.
I was able to create a custom unified menu. This meant when the main site (Estate) adjusts it’s menu, all sub-sites reflect the changes. Using categories, I integrated a system that syndicates blog/events from the main site to the correct sub-site. This allows the main site to contain a master of all blogs/events, with each sub-site only showing it’s own. I also built a multisite AJAX search utility that screened out duplication (blogs/events appearing on both the master and the sub-site).
Since leaving my contract with the parent company, their in-house team took over but sadly were unable to complete my full vision as intended.