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Building a modern website

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Deborah Slaughter, marketing manager at breast cancer charity The Haven, describes the process for upgrading their out-of-date website, and the benefits that came with the improvements.


The Haven is a charity which exists to offer practical, emotional and physical support for people with breast cancer.

In 2015, the charity found themselves with a website which was behind the times. Not only was the site difficult to update, but it wasn’t mobile responsive and couldn’t take online donations. Not ideal for a charity that relies on fundraisers and individual donors for support.

The issues we faced

On our old site we had to send people to other websites like JustGiving if they wanted to donate or fundraise for us. If we wanted to make updates, we often had to ask the developers to do it.

The actions we took

After choosing Raising IT to create our new site, we got to work on designing a website which would put The Haven’s vital support services and fundraising opportunities at centre stage.

We started with a two day website strategy workshop that brought people together from across teams. This was really useful in getting people on board with the project and helping us to think from the perspective of our audiences, without getting bogged down in internal assumptions and siloes.

Following this, we worked with the designer to make sure the site looked clean, vibrant and inviting to both people seeking support and those looking to raise money. The feedback rounds also involved people from across teams so everyone remained engaged.

Once the design was signed-off, the hard work of creating content got started. We were pleased to be able to use Raising IT’s easy to use platform to add the content ourselves and see the site come alive as we worked. Knowing we’d also be able to update it whenever we wanted later on too, including adding fundraising appeals and event registration pages quickly using the inbuilt functionality.

When the go live day came it was really rewarding and exciting. We celebrated with balloons and cake.

Positive outcomes

The new site has been a total step change from our old one. We can now change things ourselves easily which allows us to be more responsive and dynamic. Most importantly, we can now take donations online. We’ve already raised a significant amount since the launch in August 2015 – a 100% increase from the previous year.

Being able to offer fundraising pages through the site has also been great and we’ve had a lot of our people sign up to do that. We love the new design too!

Comparing the website stats from Jan-May 2016 to the same period in 2015, before the launch, the difference is very clear.

  • Sessions: +56.61%
  • Users: +47.50%
  • Page Views: +50.24%
  • Sessions (mobile): +146%
  • New users (mobile): +128%

Negative outcomes

We were really happy with how the project went and the final website. If anything, we perhaps didn’t anticipate the amount of content we had to create and might have put more time aside to focus on this.

Lessons learnt

Raising IT provided the following framework for developing website content. This proved useful in the content planning workshops.

  • Define your priority audiences and their goals, creating persona for these is a brilliant way to put yourselves in their shoes.
  • Then think about the priorities for your biggest shop window: your homepage. Typically around 15–20% of a site’s traffic starts at the homepage so it’s also important to remember it’s not the only entry point to your website.
  • Once you have your priority audiences and goals the next thing to think about is the content itself. Map out all the key bits of information from the perspective of your audiences – using persona walkthroughs can help.
  • Finally, step back and consolidate your final draft. Make sure you ask key questions like ‘do we have enough to say about this to make it more than one sentence/ para in another page?’, ‘how frequently will we be able to update this content?’ and ‘does this genuinely help our audiences and our cause?’


Page last edited Jul 10, 2017

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