If you talk to me for like 15 minutes, you’ll probably learn two things: I love running, and I love my neighborhood. So I was super excited when the board members of Iroquois Hill Runners, my neighborhood running group, asked if I’d like to redo the website.
Here’s a quick before and after:
The existing website was made with a free WordPress It had been a few years since the site was created, so it was in need of a facelift. Here’s what I did:
1.Identified what information visitors were looking for
When I looked at the site analytics, I noticed traffic spikes around race dates. Race results are posted on the site, so the traffic increases are due to people looking up their running times. So I knew a race results tab had to be front and center.
The group is best known for organizing races in Iroquois Park, so I knew easy access to the events page was essential as well.
2.Identified what information was missing from the site
After talking with several runners who were familiar with the group, I realized there wasn’t much awareness that people can actually join the group. So I added a Become a Member section that outlined why membership is important and included instructions on joining.
I also realized there wasn’t a clearly-labeled “about” page for visitors to the site who aren’t familiar with the group, so I added that as well.
3.Added front-page features that show who we are
The previous front page was informative, but didn’t show a whole lot of personality. There were already a lot of photos taken by group members and posted on Facebook, so I took some of those and created a slideshow. I knew from my research involving yoga events that people love to see photos of events and who attends them.
I also added an announcements section to the front page for two reasons: 1) to put important information in an obvious place, and 2) to show that the group has events going on year-round, and that we want people to come join us.
A few things I learned while working on this project:
1.It’s super important to pick the tool that fits the job.
I was eager to use all the web development skills I’ve learned recently, so I set out to make a fancy website from scratch. I did this, and my design looked great, but then I realized that nobody else from the group would ever be able to update the site, because they’re not developers. Not to mention all the logistical challenges of actually getting the site on the web. In the end, I found that a WordPress template with a few custom changes accomplished what we needed.
2.Take more before pics before jumping into the rebuild
The before photo I’ve got above is actually more of a progress shot. At that point, I’d changed the header photo and text. I forgot to take true beginning photos, but trust me, the site came a long way during the process.