At the end of 2018, the volunteers at the Waterloo Bay Leisure Centre boasted numerous assets: a large community centre with various spaces for rent, a heritage-listed cottage much-loved by locals for weddings, and a slate of activities for over-50s to enjoy.
The asset they didn’t have was a website to promote themselves.
While they had originally asked for a website that allowed for the general public to be able to search all venues by hourly blocks and be able to book online, after discussions with the team of volunteers who keep the centre running, it was apparent what they thought they wanted wasn’t what they needed.
A comprehensive, searchable calendar events guide would be a cornerstone of the website – but instead of being able to book online, online forms would connect hirers with the team who handle bookings – bypassing existing issues faced with their phone system.
Briefing sessions finally identified the key sections the site required:
Weddings / Shire Clerk’s Cottage
The heritage-listed cottage is a multi-use venue, and required special focus due to its hiring possibilities and history. Weddings in the grounds are popular, and needed special attention.
With a swathe of centre-organised activities, plus regular and one-off external hires, an interactive calendar was imperative.
A recent success for the WBLC is the launch of bi-monthly markets, which needed the ability to have easy-to-update news (connecting to the existing Facebook page), FAQs and stall request form.
Using WordPress as the CMS was agreed upon as it is easy to update for even those with minimal computer experience, allowing the volunteers to be able to update news items, calendar events, and referrals.
Skills & Tools:
Being account manager, project manager and web designer allowed me to take a holistic view of the site, and guided my choices in structure and tone.
I wrote all the new material for the website (the only original text is copied from historical documents regarding the history of the Cottage) and by taking the photos of the building and classes myself, I was also able to present a unique identity for the organisation.
Traffic to the site has risen dramatically since its launch in February 2019 – even with minimal announcements within the group made on their Facebook page and newsletter – monthly visitors counts have leapt from single to triple-digits, with the vast majority of new traffic arriving via organic search, showing that SEO is more important than ever.