Countryside Properties

A user-centric site for customers and staff alike.

Countryside Properties is a listed UK home builder, delivering homes of character and quality, and creating places people love through two complementary divisions. Housebuilding provides homes on land owned or controlled by the Group, whilst the Partnerships division works with local authorities and housing associations to regenerate public sector land.

Countryside Properties wanted to provide more consistency around its customer experience online through a unified digital estate that better supported the wider business. This would then lead to better communication of the brand message, a more coherent brand image and ultimately increased sales.


The Challenge

Reading Room was commissioned to build a new website for Countryside Properties that more accurately reflected its brand online. The project needed to better market the business going forward. Our priority was to simplify the user journey, to enable users to find things easily and funnel enquiries through to sales as quickly as possible. The site also needed to inspire customers, not only about the properties on offer, but also the places that could become their homes.

The Solution

Our approach was firstly to define a new vision for the brand, in order to inform digital developments both now and in the future. Our vision is to: “Make Countryside Properties synonymous with place-making, not housebuilding, and attract customers who want more than just bricks and mortar.” Using this vision to apply the new brand, we built the website on Drupal 8 CMS with a focus on efficiency.

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For website visitors, we included new features such as a search mechanism and filters on pages, which help users to define their priorities and find relevant content quickly. But, it was important to help the Countryside Property team be more efficient too. So, we implemented the ability to create bespoke property pages using common elements so that the website could continuously grow with ease. Our solution was based on a multi-site setup, meaning that Countryside Properties can easily add investors, careers or other sites to their digital estate in the future, using the same code base and hosting setup.

The build included multiple complex integrations with 3rd party systems, including Zoopla and Right Move, to streamline the management of property listings across the different digital platforms. We also built in the ability to send information capture directly into Contact Builder and Pursuit from various forms on the site, such as the “book a viewing” form.

The Outcome

By giving people who are looking for a home important information to help them make a decision including information about plots, developments and financing, the average time on page has increased, and bounce rate has reduced in comparison to the old site.

The new design encourages people looking for a home to sign up for viewings at developments, and as a result the number of pageviews and entries registering interest have significantly increased.

The number of returning visitors has also increased in the new site, demonstrating that the new UX, content and design distinguish Countryside Properties from the competition and communicates the values of the brand as a family company.