A Site BetterRobert W. Gaines | Georgia Nonprofit NOW, Summer 2015
The Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI) believes that strong leaders transform lives. Every day, we work to develop world-class education leaders through leadership development, consulting, and research.
Over time, our original website had become weighted with issues. First, it was built on a content management platform that required a level of expertise our staff didn’t possess. While we learned through trial and error how to make basic changes, we never understood how to use the site to its fullest. Second, we had an enormous amount of content, but much of it did not speak to the day-by-day work we do in the field, or to the value of that work for our district partners. Finally, site navigation was a problem: the good content we did have was buried so deep within our site that even staff, at times, had trouble finding it.
We resolved to create a site that effectively communicates who GLISI is, articulates the value and impact of our services, helps convert prospective clients into partners, and strengthens our connections with potential funders and supporters. For those reasons, we needed a user-friendly navigational experience, engaging content, easily accessible and relevant resources, and eye-catching aesthetics.
We partnered with Sideways8 Interactive, an experienced, Atlanta-based web development company, to understand our organizational identity and meet our budgetary criteria. Over 14 months, we worked closely with their team to restructure the site’s navigational layout, ensuring a smoother, more intuitive user experience, and collaborated with their designer to inject our brand identity into the site’s visual elements. At the same time, we overhauled our content to better communicate the core messages of our organization, the full scope of our work, and the impact of our partnerships.
New features for users include a robust library of resources with powerful filtering options, making it easy to locate and download the exact education leadership materials needed; an online registration portal streamlining event registration; and a responsive design ensuring accessibility across mobile and desktop platforms. Staff, meanwhile, benefit from the intuitive back-end functionality of the WordPress platform and get to take advantage of Google Analytics integration that provides a clear picture of site traffic and visitor engagement.
So far, we’re averaging 1,500 site visits per month and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the new site’s functionality, resources, and design. It’s been extremely rewarding to hear directly from stakeholders who are enjoying and benefitting from the features we’ve worked so hard on, proving that our belief in the value of these improvements was well-placed.
Robert W. Gaines is communications and development manager at GLISI.