Tag Archive: Running a Website with Many Visitors

Development for TA Instruments

November 15, 2011

I recently obtained a position at TA Instruments as their Digital Marketing Specialist. If you aren’t familiar with TA Instruments (which I was not), they develop and manufacture thermal analyzers, microcalorimetry, and rheology equipment. Their client list includes some of the largest organizations in the nation including ivy-league universities, the military, and NASA. Big things.

Now, it’s not common for developers to discuss their projects in such detail, but I think that’s where some fall short. I’ll be the first to tell you that being in the industry for a mere 2 years makes me quite a novice, but I’m open and confident enough to discuss my trials and tribulations with you.

To be honest, when I took the position, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I had absolutely no idea that the company caters to almost every country in the world, and that the demand for equipment that I’ve never heard of was so highly in demand. They are huge. Much bigger than I had anticipated.

You could imagine my disappointment when I discovered their website. Although some of the programming is quite impressive, visually, it was a nightmare. The website, seen here, has hopefully changed under my power, and you can no longer see the travesty that was their webpage. You can refer to the image above to see what it used to look like (hopefully.)

The site was developed through ASP.net 2.0 and hosted on a SQL Server 2000. First off, I hate, HATE, HATE, HATE, ASP. Microsoft, and I do love them, constantly decides to develop their own languages, software, or applications when someone else makes something open-source and efficient. ASP is Microsoft’s answer for a database query language, and it’s terribly gaudy. It’s often very hard to comprehend and manipulate. I’m not a fan.

This site in particular, however, was designed through ASP.net to be a custom CMS for regular folks at the company to update and maintain. The CMS itself is actually quite impressive. It creates dynamic SWF files and other flash animations all through ASP, which I must admit is pretty snazzy.

Other than that, though, I hate it.

There is an enormous amount of Javascript (no JQuery) for rollovers, CSS class modifications, and menus which are terribly unnecessary. Almost everything on the site could be accomplished through CSS with the right imagination. The point is some visual changes needed to be made.

But I digress. The real reason I’m discussing TA Instruments is because of their daily traffic. Holy bejesus. I had no idea how large and wide the traffic sources could be. Just to give you an idea, the site receives about 30,000 visits a month, producing almost 20,000 organic search results from Google alone.

The site received visits from 136 countries. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Big whoop, my site gets visits from everywhere in the world. To which I say, “Yea, but they don’t stay on the site for 10 minutes and follow through with conversions do they?” I also want to point out those numbers are based solely off of their U.S. domain, and that the international domains produce some stellar results as well (12 total.)

The point is, this poorly developed site without meta descriptions, sitemap submissions, keyword-rich URLs, and terrible navigation, already produces a healthy amount of traffic.

They also run a large Google AdWords campaign which I’m excited to be overseeing. I could sit here and preach all day about successful SEO and marketing, but to actually implement these practices and watch them come to fruition is a pleasure in and of itself.

My plans in the future include overhauling the entire website. I’d like to drastically change the appearance, along with making crucial SEO modifications to help boost that figure I claimed earlier. Either way, it bodes well for not only myself, but this entire company.

Happy coding.