Until this summer, Compassion International had a Web site in need of a makeover. The Christian aid charity hadn’t redesigned the site since 2003, and in the world of online communications, eight years is a long time.
As a result, the organization faced a series of limitations that are common among groups using outdated Web tools. Staff members had little control over the site’s content. And its system for collecting online donations was dated, which meant the organization was missing opportunities to raise money from viewers.
“We always had a lot of ideas, but our content-management system at the time really limited us in what we could do,” said Dustin Hardage, the charity’s Web and interactive director.
But thanks to an update in June, the number of visits to the site has grown by 25 percent, traffic from search engines has risen 28 percent, and page views have increased 9 percent. The number of people who visit every section of the site has increased as much as 350 percent on some pages, Mr. Hardage said.
And the new site is also helping the organization raise more money online.
While the number of total donations has decreased slightly since the charity went public with its new site, the average donation made by each visitor has increased by 55 percent. The group attributes this jump in part to a new “shopping cart” donation system that allows people to donate to the charity and pay for a “child sponsorship” in one transaction.
Here are some of the features Mr. Hardage looked for in a new system, and what that meant for the charity. The new system:
Gives employees more control. The redesign allows the charity’s Internet marketing staff to handle tasks that it previously needed the group’s technology department to handle. With the new site, the marketing team can change layouts and add code for measurement and testing.
Adds testing capabilities. The staff can now test two versions of the same page to see which performs better. Within two weeks, the organization recognized patterns that allowed it to make better decisions about how to display information.
“We already changed the landing page for one of our products because we saw an increase in our conversion rates, and that has just continued,” Mr. Hardage said.
Attracts search engines. The new site has allowed the organization to win more attention from Google and other search engines, Mr. Hardage said. “We were really able to personalize that to an extreme.”
The new content-management system—which runs on a platform called Tridion by the company SDL—also includes a tool that tracks what similar sites are doing to attract search engines and visitors to make sure Compassion is competitive online.
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