OC Coastkeeper: An Environmentally Impactful Case Study

The Client

Orange County Coastkeeper was founded in 1999 by Orange County native Garry Brown. The group’s mission is protecting and preserving local shores and waterways for future generations. Coastkeeper works with government agencies and private companies as an advocate for healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources.

The Project

Coastkeeper was planning a marketing push ahead of several high-publicity events, including a coordinated beach cleanup and a comedy night outing for sponsors. The marketing plans included commercial airtime for advertisements that directed interested parties to the website.

Coastkeeper’s leadership realized that for the ads to effectively convert would-be volunteers and sponsors, a significant redesign was in order. The group worked with several other web designers before coming to us, but the project always fell apart before the new site was ready.

We were happy to partner up with Coastkeeper, but tackling their existing website was like a movie scene cliché where the new office worker gets a mountain of paperwork dumped on his desk. Coastkeeper’s existing site was huge and difficult to use because of too many categories, outdated content, and more than 100 discrete pages.

Our mission was to modernize the design, make the site more manageable by consolidating as much content as possible, and highlight calls-to-action to urge visitors along a conversion path.

Content

Coastkeeper’s website content overhaul actually started before they came to us. The Coastkeeper team performed an internal website audit to identify and delete outdated or redundant pages. This valiant effort reduced the total content by about one-third, but our content writer still spent several days working with Coastkeeper to collect the text and images for all of the existing pages that would be carried over in the new sitemap.

With all of the content in hand, we began our own audit to reduce the extensive sitemap even further.

One opportunity we found was converting pages about expired initiatives into blog posts, rather than continuing to list them among active programs. With this solution, we were able to keep the old program information and images on the site for search purposes while reducing the number of menu options in the main navigation.

Design

One of the key problems with Coastkeeper’s existing site was a lack of compelling imagery. For a group that does most of its work at the beach and other photogenic natural spaces, Coastkeeper’s photos were small and didn’t properly represent the scope of their work.

The modular design elements available through WordPress’s Salient theme made it easy to fix this issue on the new site. By incorporating large photos in a mobile responsive framework, our designer crafted a Coastkeeper website that would look great on any device. The overall design used open white space to draw visitors’ eyes toward the photos and other call-outs like buttons and downloads.

The Result

Despite the overwhelming size of the project at the outset, Coastkeeper’s new site launched within their project timeline. The overhauled website completely redefined Coastkeeper’s online presence. Instead of countless pages leading to old programs and dead links, the new site has a crisp menu structure and sitemap that is easy for users to navigate.

The homepage’s design balances Coastkeeper’s larger mission with featured events and posts and calls-to-action highlighted throughout. The WordPress framework also makes it much easier to add new photos, text, and additional content as Coastkeeper continues the fight for Orange County’s waterways.

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