Starting Something With Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Success Stories

How SEO TWIST Helped a Leading Children’s Charity Refresh and Revamp While Staying On-Brand

When you’re facing limitations and restraints, creativity comes alive. Limits on what you can do help you discover innovative ways to get the job done and creative solutions to your problems. When you’re a major branch of a leading charity in the country, looking for a way to refresh your brand, but must work within national guidelines, what do you do? In the case of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa, you reach out to SEO TWIST.

Making a Difference

The challenges BBBSO were facing with their existing website were clear from the get-go. The site had outgrown its structure, with pages and subpages buried, making navigation less than intuitive. The design, though incorporating the parent organization’s colours, needed revamping too. The challenge lay in the limitations imposed by the Big Brothers Big Sisters branding guidelines. Our approach was clear: streamline and simplify the structure wherever possible, and create a visually appealing design that would reflect the community-centric nature of BBBSO.

Structural Solutions

Our SEO experts conducted a comprehensive audit of BBBSO’s existing website, developing a complete overview of the site’s structure and architecture. While a loose silo architecture existed, an ad hoc approach to adding content and new pages over the years rendered navigation somewhat unwieldy. A silo architecture essentially organizes a website’s structure according to main topics and keywords. For BBBSO, this meant focusing on mentoring programs, volunteer opportunities, donations, and information about the organization. We ensured this was reflected in the menu for easy navigation, too. The size of the site presented a challenge, too. Google Search relies on automated crawlers that essentially speed-read a website, creating copies of each page for its ever-expanding index. Larger sites can run into trouble, though, as they may exceed the crawl “budget” given by a search engine. Because of the aforementioned ad hoc approach to new content and pages, there was tremendous potential for optimization. Streamlining the architecture with a silo approach and an accurate site map made navigation easier and would also improve crawlability, and effective 301 redirects made sure that defunct pages led users to newly-optimized content.

The Creative Process

Meanwhile, our design team got to work developing a unique identity that nonetheless reflected the organization’s place in the community and broader BBBS network. It had to speak to an Ottawa audience while representing the brand as a whole. After some initial research, the team focused on incorporating softer shapes as opposed to sharper angles. The circles featured in our final design reflected the curves found in the Big Brothers Big Sisters logo. They also served as a subtle visual reminder of the inclusiveness of the community that BBBSO fosters amongst its participants and Ottawa at large.

BBBSO’s old website, while serviceable, lacked a unified design and architecture.
Colour was an important design factor, as well. Purple had to be featured heavily. It was equally important to avoid the dated gray look of the old site, though. Our designers worked with complementary colours before settling on a golden orange for highlights and menu items. In addition, we chose a warmer orange for key call-to-action (CTA) items. Incorporating existing branding materials from BBBS’s national level also helped provide some design continuity. Reports, documents, and infographics provided a sense of the visual language we had to use. Finally, finding visually engaging ways to integrate BBBSO’s many partners and supporters was a must. We opted for scrolling carousels and simple uses of partner logos to immediately identify the breadth of their involvement with other organizations.

Finishing Touches

Although we conducted a site-wide redesign, SEO TWIST’s major focus for site content was to revamp and refresh key pages. By keeping content to-the-point and focusing on key action items, we zeroed in on their message and focused on key CTAs to encourage engagement with their brand and programs. It was important to highlight the wealth of programs that BBBSO offers. These pages all got special focus to encourage volunteers engagement. We also developed a unique framework for blogs and events. This allowed recent postings to be featured automatically on the home page. An effective archiving system was put in place to log past events, as well.

Starting Something Big

After internal review and modification, we presented the finished website to BBBSO. Because we stayed in contact throughout the entire process, they were always in the loop throughout the development cycle. As such, we could take advantage of instant feedback and implement it immediately. We quickly got the go-ahead to launch the new website, and after finalizing the technical details, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa had a brand-new website! “The SEO TWIST team was able to fulfill all of our new website wishes and give us a fresh look while respecting our branding guidelines,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa. Sometimes, the most exciting and engaging work comes from creative limitations and challenges that force us to find innovative approaches. It was a challenge to work within the regulations of the parent organization’s brand, one we were happy to meet. “We are thrilled that our website is easier to navigate and will give users a much more positive experience,” added BBBSO. SEO TWIST is always thrilled to help organizations grow and develop. We’re proud to start something big.


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