Going Serverless with Hamilton’s Leading Real Estate Agent

Serverless Web Development

Cathy O’Shea is enjoying her progressive web app website for Hamilton Real Estate.

The Challenge

Cathy O'Shea is Hamilton's leading real estate agent with over 1400 happy clients. To increase her reach further, KiwiSprout was tasked with developing a new website that engaged visitors and generated leads.

The Process

Planning & Research

As part of our planning and research, we worked with the client to understand key details such as:

  • Their branding and core values
  • Their goals for the website
  • Their target audience, and how they will interact with the website.

From our planning and research, we knew we had to deliver a website with fast loading times with a prominence on lead generation tools such as eBooks. To achieve this, we decided to use GatsbyJS with Prismic to deliver a serverless website. Serverless websites are faster, cost significantly less for the client to host, scale with demand and make it easy to integrate new features.

Design

With a website plan put together that fit their goals and brand, it was time to start visualising the end result with a design. We designed the website using Figma, one of the fastest growing design tools for rapidly prototyping designs for desktop and mobile. As part of the design process, we tested different methods of showcasing the 2 key lead generation elements, which were the eBooks and requesting an appraisal.

When the designs were ready, we sent them to Cathy O’Shea’s team to review.

Development

With the designs signed off, we began developing the website in GatsbyJS. Gatsby uses GraphQL to pull our content from Prismic into the page, then we make it look and work beautifully following the designs.

As part of the development process, we integrated with their newsletter service to generate leads with eBook downloads, as well as integrating with Property Suite to show their properties for sale.

To maintain speed and quality, we also set up a CI/CD service so that when a new blog post is created or property is added Gatsby pre-renders the page so it loads quickly for visitors. Our CI/CD service also ensures any future changes are tested and seamlessly synced with the live website after they've passed our rigorous tests so that we can maintain a high standard of quality.

Launch

With the staging website signed off and everything ready to go live, we performed a full quality assurance. Every website we make is a reflection of us as an agency and we want to make sure we're delivering the best quality experience possible.

After the website passed all of our QA tests, we deployed it live onto AWS using AWS S3 to host the website on a serverless architecture that scales with demand, AWS Route53 to manage the domain and AWS CloudFront to give that extra performance boost by automatically compressing and keeping a fresh copy of the website around the globe.

The Results

Cathy O’shea’s new website achieves loading in under 1 second on average, and has passed all of the tests to achieve the status of a Progressive Web App, meaning it's proven to be:

  • Fast - Smooth animations that respond quickly to user input
  • Reliable - Loads instantly even in uncertain network conditions.
  • Engaging - Works as smoothly as an app would on mobile devices, providing an immersive user experience.

As part of the perks of being a Progressive Web App, website visitors on their Android phone are able to install Cathy O’shea's website like they would an app, and Cathy O’Shea can send push notifications to users. This ability to re-engage with website visitors on their phone is incredibly valuable for real estate agents because they can use this functionality to send direct notifications about new listings or property trends.

Project Details

Date Published: 25/10/19Client: Cathy O’SheaLink: cathyoshea.co.nz

Technologies Used

GatsbyJSPrismicGraphQLGitlab CI/CDReactAWSFigma