Overcoming Website Madness for a Global Nonprofit Organization
By Lia Barrad
Owner Haiku Web Services
Special to Santa Cruz Tech Beat
September 7, 2017 — Santa Cruz, CA
(Photo above: Lia Barrad, was honored by the non-profit Woman Within International. Contributed)
My name is Lia Barrad, owner of Haiku Web Services. a digital marketing agency located in Santa Cruz and am proud to share that I have been honored with the Rose Award by Woman Within International/Western USA for helping build a secure, HIPPA compliant WordPress site moving from manual registration to automated processing.
Here is the story
When a global non-profit company, Woman Within International, with an almost exclusive volunteer board wanted to upgrade/rebuild their websites, they a sought me out as one of their active participants to help develop a solution that would be Google friendly and easy to use.
They had hired a ‘web company’ who made promises and took their money. The site was ‘pretty’ but not functional. Registrations in many cases for Woman Within Empowerment Weekends were still being done manual and payments by check.
I stepped in to stop the madness and create a common WordPress theme that was pretty, functional, secure and HIPPA compliant. Most important, the different regional sites would have consistent content from a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) point of view to attract new members and weekend workshops through out the world. I did not do this work alone. Woman Within International also sought out help from other participants, one whom was a market-branding expert and another who had owned an ad agency in the UK.
I also recognized that building a site was not enough. The board also needed training on automation communication functions. Using Zoom video conferencing, I recorded a series of training sessions on topics such as Email Marketing, SEO, use of Google for Nonprofits, Gmail, Google Drive and Local Search. Then I devised a digital marketing plan with an easy to use workflow system to go from manual to auto processing applications, payments and donations.
Disaster struck — Literally
As a team with months of planning, creating, and writing taking place, disaster struck. Literally. The hosting company’s building (A Small Orange) was hit by a tornado and 45,000 sites went down at the end of 2015, at Xmas time, when registration for five different Woman Within key conferences from were going on. Woman Within programs that no one could sign up for or make donations to without the main website being up. I jumped in on a Twitter rant and rave. While they admitted they could not recover 6,000 sites of which Woman Within sites were among, they did give me a personal call of apology and a refund check (yes, laughable, but the old web company never made a backup and that was the best could offer.
New website up in three days
So on January 1, 2016, my company, Haiku Web Services, fast tracked the site building, payment portal, security issues, and had a new site up on January 3, 2016. We worked for another month to build out all the event pages so that the organization was able to complete registration and payments for events in California, the US, Australia and South Africa. Today, the three sites completed to date with the new branded system are WomanWithin.org, WomanWithin.org.uk (with a password protected membership component) and WomanWithinWesternUSA.org.
One of the happy endings: the Western USA region has reported that since the launch in mid 2016, on their site alone, they have automatically processed over 800 participant applications and 400 staff applications which automatically sent emails to participant and organizer as well as completing payments securely with PayPal that tied into QuickBooks.
Lia spearheaded a dramatic update to our website in 2015-2016. She worked tirelessly to give us many new features, including the ability to accept registrations for our Weekends and training workshops as well as staff applications, donations, and scholarship coupons. Lisa used web conferences and recorded videos to train board members to use and manage the new website. Once the site was launched, she taught our Communications Director take over her webmaster responsibilities. Lia gave countless hours of her time and demonstrated immense patience and kindness during this lengthy website update. One measure of her success was the two recent Weekend registrations that resulted simply from women visiting our website. That’s a first for us. Woman Within Western USA is grateful to Lia and is pleased to nominate her for this award.
Lia Kay Barrad is a certified SEO consultant, with 12 years experience in web development and another 20 in marketing/sales. http://www.HaikuWebServices.com