Spirit Rock Meditation Center
A NetCommunity Case Study
– Kathryn Arnold, Marketing & Communications Manager
The staff at Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) came to the realization that they were losing the power of their website due to a lack of mobile responsive functionality. They knew that giving up on having a NetCommunity & Raiser’s Edge integrated website was not an option. The last time the site was updated, the primary membership consisted of baby boomers and users more familiar with looking for classes and events in a traditional print booklet than online. In recent years, Spirit Rock’s demographic has shifted toward a younger and more tech-savvy audience that is now looking for more mobile-friendly search and results, class sign-ups and payment pages. Their 2012 site design and had grown cumbersome to use on mobile and the look no longer represented Spirit Rock’s vision.
Before moving forward with a redesign, SRMC investigated moving toward another CMS (WordPress, Drupal, Luminate, etc.), but based on their research and user feedback, they determined that NetCommunity was still the only proven CMS with full Raiser’s Edge integration; and that data collection and analysis was critical to the organization’s continued growth. The biggest challenges with regard to design included:
- Custom parts on current site were critical for users and must stay in place
- It continued to be hard for users to find what they’re looking for regardless of age
- The current site had an early-2000’s look and feel
- The lack of photos and natural background resulted in content that failed to accurately reflect the current climate of Spirit Rock
- An inability to leverage Google’s SEO and ensure top-of-page results
Spirit Rock is self-described as “spaciousness, stillness, insight and support for your inner journey” and the new look & feel of the site was designed by a communications staffer, Stacy, to better reflect the Spirit Rock experience and to visually tell their story. After meeting with the SRMC team to discuss new site architecture and areas of special interest, we partnered with Colombo Designs to get their new design programmed and implemented inside the NetCommunity CMS.
Third-party solutions are commonplace in NetCommunity and this project was no exception. Our team helped migrate & test several custom parts that were developed by a third-party during their 2012 redesign that provided critical functionality with which their users have grown accustomed. These custom parts allow the SRMC staff to display current teacher and class information directly from The Raiser’s Edge without maintaining additional pages/parts in NetCommunity. The addition of a new custom photo gallery greatly elevates the user experience and includes the ability to “pop out” an enlarged image of the natural beauty reflected in Spirit Rock for those who aren’t able to visit in person.
Finally, the Nonprofit Garden team facilitated an internal discussion with multiple stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive approach to the site not “owned” by Marketing, Development, Classes, or any other singular department. Through a commitment to challenging-the-norm, a long-term strategic planning session occurred in which Nonprofit Garden gathered data used to develop an organization-wide approach to leveraging Google’s organic search formula.
- Large call to action buttons that feature a drop-down menu to provide users with more information without “clicking” to a new page
- Utilizes Google Custom Search for improved search results. The custom search indexes the entire site and its contents, not just a select type of parts as the default search part does.
- Embedded third-party bookstore that sorts by author and allows users to purchase directly on site.
- Photo Gallery with pop-out for enlarged images for an elevated user experience.
- Converted PDF forms to custom forms
“Thank YOU for all your excellent training! I can’t speak for everyone else, but I feel so much more prepared! So much gratitude.”
– Stacy Evett-Miller, Website Design & Digital Media
The resulting responsive site launched with rave reviews from both internal and external users. This simple, clean, and comprehensive website prioritizes the user needs and better reflects the Spirit Rock experience for a broader demographic. The restructured menu is allowing users to navigate the site with ease and the responsive design has created an immediate uptick in use among mobile users since the site launched. Moving the site search from the default NetCommunity search part to a Google Custom Search is allowing for more relevant search results and an improved user experience.
By the Numbers
- New site passes Google’s mobile-friendly test with a score of 99/100.
- Overall number of users is up 22.5% compared to the same time last year
- Mobile users have increased 68%
- New users are up 21% & returning visitors are up 24%
- Bounce rate down an average of 4.5%
View the website at www.spiritrock.org