We delivered Chagala Group Plc’s new multi-lingual and responsive corporate website to improve stakeholder communication and reduce annual spend
Based in Kazakhstan, Chagala Group Plc’s (CGLO) corporate audience is both diverse and mobile
Chagala Group Plc (LSE:CGLO) is a real estate owner and developer that provides specialised services predominantly targeting oil and gas companies and their service providers operating in the Caspian region of Kazakhstan.
Having met their CEO on a recent visit to London for a filming session with ProactiveInvestors, we were invited to present our ideas for improving their corporate webspace. In the end we were able to do just that, while reducing their annual spend in the process.
We began our exploration by analysing their previous site to identify the way forward. We’ll highlight some of our reasoning and processes below, but time was also limited and we had a small window to design and develop their corporate website – just a few weeks from appointment to delivery, which for a 450 page website across three languages (140 pages, 310 news posts), was no mean feat!
Understanding the brief and designing a solution
CGLO’s previous website was created a few years ago and was supported by the incumbent’s proprietary technology, meaning the only option was to rebuild the site from the ground up.
We opted to use WordPress as the underlying content management system for a number of reasons, not least its lack of expensive ongoing license and maintenance fees. Such an approach means CGLO now own the underlying technology and don’t need to rebuild from the ground up in future – the new site could easily be re-hosted and even re-skinned by any competent developer without too much effort.
The new website also needed to be delivered in three languages, with English as the default, and Kazakh and Russian versions also available for most pages. Thankfully there are some mature and powerful off-the-shelf translation extensions available which helped us to keep costs and time-frames manageable.
A phased development approach
The limited time we had available forced us to focus on a phased development, with a new look and feel being the primary focus, and a full content review to follow over the coming weeks.
This means the sitemap and content has remained largely unchanged for now, but the new site is responsive to work equally across devices and it is more in line with CGLO’s branding and corporate identity.
WordPress is essentially a open PHP framework that can be extended with new features very easily. This was an important consideration given the limited time we had available. It allowed us to lay a flexible foundation without worrying about future adaptability, and it’s an approach that ensures longevity and protection of investment for years to come. WordPress is the most popular CMS on the planet and we don’t expect that to change any time soon.
Developing a website in multiple languages presented a unique set of challenges. It naturally increases, and in this case trebled, the number of pages to be created and managed, but there are also some other intricacies we needed to consider.
When faced with multiple copies of each page, any major changes to the structure of one have to be reflected on the others, so we proritised the English version first before duplicating into other languages nearer the end of the project.
We also needed to accept that we simply couldn’t read the Kazakh or Russian languages in house, let alone proof them! Thankfully we had the existing site to work from, but Google Translate still came in handy at times. We also needed to select a unicode font that would work equally across each language to be represented.
For a site to be truly multi-lingual it needs adjusted page slugs, titles, navigation and inter-site links. Unfortunately we didn’t have non-English meta-descriptions to work from as they were missing from the previous site, but we’ll work on enhancing the site’s search engine optimisation across borders during the next phase.
Attention to technical details
Even though the sitemap remains largely unchanged, the page URLs have changed slightly. For example, what was previously:
has changed to:
We created a series of 301 redirects within the new site, mapping the old URLs for each language to their new equivalent. This helps search engines when it comes to re-indexing, and also ensures any old bookmarks still lead to the right place.
We also put a series of security measures in place to harden the site against would-be hackers, including humans and automated bots. We’ll not go into too much detail here for obvious reasons, but we’re confident the site is now well-protected, with real-time monitoring in place to ensure it stays that way. WordPress isn’t inherently insecure, quite the opposite, but its popularity can sometimes make it more of a target than other technologies.
If you’re thinking of redeveloping your corporate website talk to us to discuss your options and the best solution to fit your budget and requirements.