As anyone who’s surfed the web will tell you, user experience is the key to success. Sure, a site can be beautifully designed or contain the latest and greatest in coding gadgetry, but if it doesn’t function well, it’s just noise. With this in mind, we built HighYa from the ground up to be a lean, mean content machine, by using minimal design, rich content, and a strategic approach to fostering user involvement.
In short: Competition.
Because the market is already flooded with consumer review sites, we quickly realized that HighYa needed to stand out in order to become a success. In other words, we needed a personality. So we got to work identifying the key traits of the brand, the content direction, the user interface and logo design, as well as the overall experience we wanted to provide.
During our intensive research, we noticed that most competitors’ sites featured a large amount of content that was somewhat diluted or was grossly out of date, and their design was cluttered with far too many ads. And this was our AHA! moment.
In the short-term, we knew that everything featured on HighYa had to work together seamlessly in order to help visitors “…chop through internet clutter and avoid scams, one review at a time.” At its most basic, we wanted to help people make informed decisions about a wide variety of topics, so content, usability, and information architecture needed to be spot on. (Learn more about HighYa's mission.)
In the long-term, the essential ingredient to HighYa’s continued success is building an online community of brand advocates, which is only possible by delivering the highest quality of information, in the most unobstructed way. We’re focused on creating more than just “noise”—we’re out to craft an online destination.
Under the Hood
While we knew there were a wide variety of hosting companies that would meet our needs, we weighed several factors when narrowing our options, including bandwidth, storage, pricing, level of customer service, in addition to VPS specifications such as speed, available RAM, etc. With these factors in mind, InMotion Hosting stood out, and is who we ultimately decided to go with.
After choosing our hosting company, our next decision was how to construct HighYa’s framework. We elected to build a custom CMS using Symfony PHP FrameWork, because it gave us the flexibility to put together advanced, highly functional applications with optimal performance that would enhance the user experience. Some of this functionality includes giving users the ability to add products and write reviews, vote and leave comments on existing reviews, and to search for products and services by keywords. Users can also browse products by category or tags, while administration retains the ability to add separate articles, and to associate them with specific categories.
SEO & Marketing
From a traffic perspective, HighYa was structured and developed using the latest on-site SEO practices, which are exactly what Google, Yahoo, and Bing are looking for. In addition, we incorporated Google Rich Snippets into the code, which allows each product to display a star rating based on X number of reviews in Google’s search engine results. Ultimately, this attracts higher click-through rates.
From a social media perspective, each new article and product review posted on HighYa is funneled through numerous channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. We also maintain a daily, active presence in social media channels, with 2-3 updates per day. Because after all, when compared to even one year ago, social signals are what Google and Bing are really looking for.
In just three months, HighYa has experienced a tremendous amount of growth, and now boasts as many as 500K readers per month. Our team of dedicated testers and developers help ensure that everything continues to works as flawlessly as possible, and that we’re using only the most cutting edge technology. In fact, as a result of the high amount of traffic the site is receiving, many well known companies have begun directly resolving issues with consumers who have left negative reviews.
HighYa remains a work in progress, and we continually use analytical software to test and tweak different changes focused on improving the experience. We want to see how visitors are actually using the site, and to gain a clearer insight into what’s working, and what isn’t. We’re excited about what the future holds for HighYa.
Visit the site: www.highya.com