BJ's Carolina Cafe old website design

The website’s old look

BJ’s Carolina Café is a locally owned restaurant located in Jarvisburg, NC. Last September, the restaurant’s owner approached Mitro Digital Marketing about helping maintain his website. BJ’s owner was starting to rebrand the company, having inherited it from his father, and he wanted this to carry over to the website as well. BJ’s website was originally built by an older couple who were no longer able to maintain it. After taking a look, we realized that the site was a bit of disarray; the URL structure was odd, and the site’s theme was running on a very old version of PHP. It’s then that we seriously started considering a new build for their website.

The first thing we did after getting access was transfer the website to our dedicated hosting. Once there, we discovered several major compatibility issues with the site’s outdated theme. Many of the integral features (such as the image slider on the home page) were dependent upon the theme, which we could not replace without redesigning the whole site. This required our senior developer to downgrade to a PHP version compatible to what the site was built on for the time being, since the company that created the theme no longer supported it.

BJ's Carolina Cafe new sign

BJ’s new sign was part of the rebranding

Once all of that was out of the way, we began maintaining the website by providing plugin updates and site maintenance. At the same time, we were in talks with the client over a potential redesign of the website. After consulting with him, he realized that it was in the company’s best interest to build a new site from scratch.

Our junior web developer was tasked with finding potential themes to base our new design off of. While our developer was searching for themes, our operations manager was performing all the keyword and SEO research so we could have a correct URL structure for the new website. We narrowed the selection to a handful of themes, and our operations manager then decided which one would be the best fit for the new build. From there, we began collecting resources from the client and started with a blank WordPress theme.

The theme we were looking to build would be primarily focused on the home page, with a few auxiliary pages, such as a full menu, a blog, and a contact page. The home page features a reviews carousel, a compact navigable menu, and two image galleries, all of which are powered with JavaScript that our developer built from scratch. The page also includes an expandable row of events that is built with pure CSS.

BJ's Carolina Cafe new website design

The website’s new look

The remaining pages were a bit simpler to build; the events and menu pages both have much of the same information as their sections from the home page, but more comprehensive. The blog is outfitted with a Facebook feed and Google reviews, and the contact page has a form and a large Google map. Each page included a varying degree of JavaScript functionality.

Once the site matched the mockup, our developer made the whole site mobile responsive and added some helpful plugins to it. We presented the finished website to the client and made minor revisions as necessary. Our operations manager completed the onsite SEO as the final step needed to make the site ready to go live.

We migrated the site to the newly branded, already purchased domain and performed some minor final checks before connecting it to Google analytics. We also redirected the old domain to the new one through the DNS records. Since then, we have continued doing regular maintenance on the new website, and the client has been quite happy with the end result.