The Ocean Beach Web site has many functions. At first glance, it invites people to OB as a destination with annual events, attractions, and local news. Users are presented with one-click access to an event calendar, local restaurants, hotels and venues, photos, videos, detailed history, member resources, and much more. The MainStreet Association is funded through grants for BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) and manages around 550 memberships.
Intrepid Network is responsible for the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association's Website, YouTube Channel, AddThis account, Google Analytics, and Pinterest. Josh Utley, the owner of Intrepid Network, has been on the OBMA Promotion Committee since 2009 and served as temporary Chair of the Promo Committee for 6 months during a transitional period in 2011. Intrepid Network also assists with the marketing efforts on the OBMA's Facebook and Twitter accounts by producing videos and providing photos. We've found contributing as a local Google Guide through reviews, photos, and videos have had a significantly positive impact on the community and website traffic.
The layout of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association was designed to match the mood of visitors who are looking to have a good time. The menu items were carefully researched using Google keyword tools to determine the maximum benefit possible. For example, the word "Stay" was searched for far more often than Hotel and similar lodging terms. Using the word Stay instead increases the site's exposure to people searching for a place to stay at the beach.
The idea of using keyword tools and analytical data was used for all sub-menu items as well and mirrored on each landing page.
With Ocean beach being known for its annual events such as its world-renowned Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off a touch-capable slideshow take up the entire top 1/2 of the screen. Each slide is displayed for 10 seconds and then the next event and/or promotions and ads are then displayed. A person using their touch device can swipe left to right to view each item.
The next 1/2 of the viewable area (above the fold) are the three tiles. We review the website's analytics on a monthly basis to determine which content people search for the most. And combining the fact that people are more likely to click on a photo than the text we create these three creative tiles which are referred to in our industry as CTA's (Calls to Action) where you show a title, brief teaser, and text guiding the viewer to where they want to go.
People want to be shown where to go. People will only give you 3 to 10 seconds on average to give them the information they are looking for. If you don't succeed they will simply move on to another website that does.
Next, we have two other rows of information which are displayed below the fold. Having worked in the industry for a long time I've found that people's opinions are about 50/50 on whether or not they scroll. Some people simply despise it while others crave it. With touch devices and Windows 8 sliding and swiping content is now the norm. So, appealing to those who don't mind a little flick of a mouse wheel or swipe on their mobile device we present them with some more information which again was determined by compiling months and in this case years of analytical data; Upcoming Events, Local News along with a simple Newsletter sign-up form.
In the fourth and final row, we address the organization responsible for the promotional website. This area houses all things related to the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, its members, contact info, media resource for local news outlets, and its social media networks.
Here we have the smartphone view of the Ocean Beach website. It is very important that it loads quickly. Its responsive design improves search engine rank placement (SERP). These days content is still king when it comes to search engine optimization but how you display all that content just ranks #2 on Google's list of what you should do with your website.
A review of the site's data trends shows that more than half of the site's visitors are viewing it from a touch device. So not only should your layout respond to various screen sizes it must be touch-capable as well.
On the back end the Web site not only serves as a content management system for Web site content it serves as the staff's main administrative tool that saves them time by making it easy and efficient to create multiple membership reports, print labels, run advertising reports to viewing sales summaries and checking stock on inventory.
In addition to the Web site itself, we analyze and consult on its trends and the goals issued by the OBMA Executive Director and Advisory Board. When a new idea is implemented we collect real user data and measure this data against past solutions before making new ideas permanent. It is this recurring practice that keeps new users coming to the site, gets them the information they need, and takes this Web site to #1 on the Google search engine. It's taken a lot of work getting this Web site to where it is today but we've enjoyed every moment of it. We look forward to improving its usability and extending its reach every month.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the executive director of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, a nonprofit business organization.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenge were you trying to address with Intrepid Network?
We originally hired Intrepid Network to create a new website for our organization. Since then, we used them for a variety of services involving our web presence.
What was the scope of their involvement?
Intrepid Network developed our site on a Drupal platform and has created several iterations of it since the beginning of our engagement. They maintain and update the site regularly. In addition, they are responsible for our YouTube channel, Pinterest, AddThis account, and Google Analytics efforts.
What is the team composition?
Josh (President & CEO, of Intrepid Network) is our main contact at Intrepid Network.
How did you come to work with Intrepid Network?
We knew Josh because of his volunteering support, and he approached us about working together to improve our site and overall promotions. The vendor that had done our website in the past was no longer able to work for us, so we felt Intrepid Network was a strong choice because of our relationship with Josh.
What is the status of this engagement?
We’ve been working together since 2009 and the relationship is ongoing.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We get a tremendous amount of hits on our website, especially when we’re promoting an event. When our traffic surges, we notice more individuals coming into our office for relevant handouts and other materials that we offer.
How did Intrepid Network perform from a project management standpoint?
They’ve excelled in managing the project. Everything is communicated well during our monthly calls. They also bring statistics to our meetings so we can review their progress. Their team is receptive to any feedback we have for them and there have been no issues.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They’ve shown an outstanding work ethic throughout the engagement. Even if Josh is on vacation, he ensures we can reach him at any point if we have issues.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I can’t think of anything for them to improve on. We’re pleased with the relationship between our teams.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Having regular meetings with your primary contact helps everyone stay on the same page.