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Work Update: American Rivers Brand Refresh and WordPress Web Development

Recently, Rootid and American Rivers, a Washington, DC based nonprofit, launched a new website together that showcases refreshed branding, an updated UX design focused the use of storytelling to drive user conversions, as well as seamless implementation of extensive functionality updates.

We began the revitalization process through extensive stakeholder interviews and goal setting conversations. Below is a brief synopsis of how Rootid addressed the goals that were set forth.

Website Project Goals

American Rivers’ main goal was to establish themselves as a leader in the environmental space.

Though the organization had been (and continues to be) responsible for many policy successes, their team and organizational tendency to work more ‘behind the scenes,’ did not lend itself to a lot of visibility in the community at large. Their goal was to bring their brand voice front and center— becoming a more clear contributor to these environmental victories.  

In summary, the project goals were:

  • Improved visual language and brand positioning—stronger use of imagery coupled with compelling and engaging content to increase traffic and engagement.

  • Improved information architecture and user experience—build interfaces that engage and immerse site visitors in environmental content, while also facilitating increased conversions.

  • Improve conversion rates—tie calls to action on the website more closely with the content that a site visitor is viewing on a given page. Reduce friction on conversion pathways.

Brand Positioning: Rich Imagery and Video

American Rivers has a massive library of rich photography and videos that are either produced in-house or by partners. Since many site visitors would never be able to experience first hand some of the remote places that American Rivers protects, Rootid set out to leverage their rich media throughout the site—immering site visitors into the various river ecosystems.

Rootid also built the home page with flexibility in mind—it has the capacity to both leverage video background loops as well as stand alone images and slideshows—all to bring rivers to life for site visitors.

Custom WordPress Plug-in: River Cleanup Pledge and Social Aggregation

As part of the American Rivers National River Cleanup Anniversary, they released a campaign that encouraged community members nationwide to pledge to pickup 25 pieces of trash. When users take the pledge they are asked to identify their state. The custom plug-in then displays each state as a heat map to indicate how the state’s residents are performing compared to other states and you can explore state totals by hovering over them.

As part of the #WeAreRivers campaign, community members that post a photo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the campaign hashtag, have their image aggregated into the Virtual Landfill below the map.

American Rivers Custom WordPress Plugin

Increase Conversion Rates: Topic-Based Calls to Action

Rootid took two approaches to increase website conversion rates:

First, we built in the ability for content administrators to connect specific call to actions, onto each page of the site, based on the page’s topic.  This ensures that every call to action was closely tied to the interest of the user.

For example, if a site visitor was on a page about dam removal, the call to action would specifically address an active dam removal campaign.

Secondly, we front loaded the steps that users perform to take action. We called these “quick actions.”

For example, on the homepage, users can now fill out a donation amount on the first screen rather than having to go to the donation form first. By asking users to make this first commitment, they are less likely to abandon the donation process in later steps.

Feature: User-Submitted Content

One of the main content strategies taking place at American Rivers is leveraging user generated content (UGC). UGC is one of the largest trends in online communications strategy, and stems from the idea that the web is no longer a static interface. Site visitors expect to be able to engage in their web experience as a contributor, not just a reader. Much of this is born from their social media experiences.

To address this strategy, Rootid built an online submission process for user-submitted content. American Rivers constituents can now submit stories, photography and videos directly on the website. This submission will be held in queue to be approved by website administrators and, after review, can be published quickly and easily.

Custom Analytics Implementation

Our team believes that success should always have measurable outcomes. That is why analytics are so important to web projects.  It also provides information on how we can continue to improve projects over time and take on an iterative approach to achieve success.

Rootid’s analytics team created custom tracking capabilities to provide rich data around user behavior and engagement. We set-up analytics that will help the American Rivers and Rootid teams continue to work on improving content strategies that drive online conversions, as well as help better understand user behaviors.

Of course, this project is just the beginning. Now that we have in depth analytics in place, we can continue to work with the American Rivers team to improve conversion rates, attract new users, and engage existing users. Online communications strategy and success is a continuously iterative process—it’s important to make decisions based on data.