Paddock Plants on the web: a history

Well, here we are. It’s November 2018 and today we lifted the covers on the latest incarnation of the Paddock Plants website, the result of many hours spent glued to a computer screen on Rob’s part (he may moan, but really he likes it). Which prompted us to take a look back at the various incarnations of our online presence since first we ventured on to the vast acreage of the worldwide web back in ……

…..In fact we are not entirely sure when those first faltering steps were taken. We are guessing it was in the mid 2000s, as Paddock Plants was established in 2003 and we know the original website followed not too long after that. The original site penned by Rob in the then state of the art authoring program Dreamweaver looked a bit like this:


Not a great representation, as there are missing images and it’s all a bit fuzzy, but it’s the closest we can get to what the homepage looked like in that version. As is clear from the sub-heading, the next generation site wasn’t far away at the point in time this file was created, and that would have been the first Prestashop site, which saw the light of day in July 2010, having been heralded as early as January of that year. And the homepage of that new site looked like this (again fuzziness abounds!):


Lilac still seems to have been the colour of choice, and just look at that three-column layout and closely packed text - a far cry from the page designs of today, influenced as they are by the need for sites to be readable when accessed on a mobile device. But that site marked our proper first foray into the world of e-commerce and changed significantly the way we operated as a business. Over the next eight years the look of our site altered as it moved with the times, with the last major change taking place in early 2016, as in the version below:


And that’s the version our new website replaces. It’s true to say that the Prestashop installation has been very successful, and our online business has increased exponentially in the time we have had it, but - as we have suggested elsewhere - there were a number of pressing technical reasons, far too boring to go into detail on, which prompted us to take the major step of creating an entirely new site on a different platform.


With any new undertaking there is inevitably an element of risk, and in making this move we have essentially taken a step off the SEO cliff that is Google: all that has gone into our being on page 1 or 2 of that search engine for most of our plants has instantly been wiped out, and we will now have to scale the sheer face of the cliff all over again. We are hoping that, by the time most people are turning their thoughts back to their gardens around April or thereabouts, we may have made some progress in the right direction. Fingers crossed then.

Rob and Joanna