The Iowa Hawkeye Horseshoe Pitchers Association needed a modern, useful website for their members. A club, not a company, there wasn’t a huge budget to work with. Regardless, Sterner Stuff was able to identify their needs and produce a successful product. Thus far, its performance has been exceptional.
Planning For the Future
The great thing about Blueprint is that it scales well to the ultimate size of the project. We were able to identify most of the IHHPA’s pain points and goals over the course of a single phone call. The primary goal was to provide a way for the IHHPA to let their members know about cancelled events.
We identified a secondary goal, as well. IHHPA members must pay dues. Current members, an older crowd, wouldn’t care much for paying these online. But the IHHPA wanted to attract a younger audience. The IHHPA could cater to that audience by taking membership payments online. A younger audience also expects a modern, maintained website.
WordPress to the Rescue
The first thing we did was get Google Analytics installed on the existing site. We recreated most of the content from the original site, but the information from analytics allowed us to tailor menus based on existing trends.
This project was budget focused and would need a content-management system. We opted for a ready-made WordPress template with a strong pairing of plugins. The chosen theme puts an archive front and center to speed users to where they need to be – event details. Most WordPress templates focus on blogs, but this was easily extensible to use events provided by The Events Calendar from Modern Tribe. This plugin also provides a wealth of extensions, including event ticketing. This provides IHHPA with the ability to also ticket for events ahead of time. With the Iowa State Fair coming up, this was a welcome addition.
The Events Calendar integrates with WooCommerce to provide event ticketing. WooCommerce also provides the functionality to sign up for IHHPA membership on the website.
Finally, good old Advanced Custom Fields provides event statuses so the IHHPA can log into the site at a moment’s notice to update an event.
Seeing the results of this project has been the most satisfying part of the project. We launched the site June 30, 2016. A quick comparison of June versus July following launch showed tremendous improvement.
My favorite stats here are pages per session, session duration and bounce rate. Users are coming to the site and staying on it, so they’re finding useful information. This means it succeeds in meeting the needs of existing users. This can also mean it’s proving compelling to new visitors considering joining the organization.
The e-commerce aspects have already seen some use as well. Users are both reserving their spots at the Iowa State Fair and signing up for new memberships. This should continue to improve as the IHHPA attracts younger members more comfortable with online transactions.