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Showcase #1: The heart of the matter

As the hub of the business community, Waitakere Enterprise was in need of a dynamic, easy-to-use portal site

See also: Creative Showcase is an advertising supplement created by Idealog. For information on upcoming Creative Showcases, call Ben Gibb on 09 966–0997 or email ben@idealog.co.nz

When Waitakere Enterprise relaunched its brand in 2007 with a new website built on a limited budget, there was a growing realisation that the site wasn’t keeping pace with technology or the demands of the users, information was hard to find and its navigation was unintuitive. A plan was hatched to launch a newer, better site.

As the city’s economic development agency, it was essential for Waitakere Enterprise’s website to be a hub of information. The organisation is focused on growing the local economy in a sustainable way, attracting businesses to the region, helping to grow businesses within the region and developing skilled local people to meet business needs.

“Waitakere Enterprise is focused on working with individuals, businesses, industries and institutions that are committed to sustainable economic growth,” says Susan O’Meagher, Waitakere Enterprise’s deputy chief executive. “All activities of the organisation stem from this focus, be it building strategic networks or developing products and services that address the wants and needs of the business community.”

The must-haves

Waitakere Enterprise partnered with The Web Company in mid-2009, armed with a shopping list of must-haves. The new website would need to be user-friendly, dynamic and able to be regularly updated. The site would have to allow Waitakere Enterprise to easily provide wider economic and business information, which should be intuitively navigable, and to showcase the products and services that had evolved significantly over the past 18 months.

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In all, it hoped to create a platform to enable Waitakere Enterprise to become the heart of the Waitakere business community—a place to find out about training and development opportunities, events and networks, investment and location information as well as general local and international commentary.

The company expressed a desire for repeat traffic with longer stays by visitors, and had some specifics in mind: a 25 percent increase in site visits and a ten percent increase in time spent on the site, in the first 12 months.

And in terms of audience, the products and services offered by Waitakere Enterprise covers the full spectrum of businesses, says O’Meagher. “These might include new husband-and-wife startup businesses right through to large corporate enterprises headquartered in West Auckland, or those who are interested in being so. What galvanises the clients of Waitakere Enterprise is their ambition to grow and to contribute to the prosperity of the region through offering local employment opportunities.”

The solution

With Waitakere Enterprise’s objectives in mind, The Web Company successfully set out to develop and launch a fully functional, easy-to-use, intuitive website, driven by a dynamic content management system.

“The site would be a portal for all things business and built on the social business community of Waitakere Enterprise’s target audience,” says The Web Company consultant Phil Shacklady. “It would become the go-to place for training information, development opportunities, Waitakere Enterprise events, and other business events in the area in support and development of their own businesses.

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“Every business is different, so we base our concepts on an in-depth understanding of each of our clients, to ensure the design works for them. For Waitakere Enterprise, it was important to focus on the informational architecture and the navigational structure.”

And in late October 2009, Waitakere Enterprise’s new website was launched, a community-based portal that enables new and existing local businesses to easily find the information they need.

Some highlights of the site include e-newsletter registration and subscription management integrated with Waitakere Enterprise’s existing customer relationship management (CRM) system, easy site navigation and efficient search functionality. A gallery module showcases event photos and an event module is integrated with Waitakere Enterprise’s existing CRM to display the full range of events on offer as they are updated in real time. Fundamental search engine optimisation works to set the stage for Waitakere Enterprise’s future online marketing programs and to improve site results and rankings, and the home page highlights relevant news and calls to action.

“We aimed a soft launch of the website in time for a major event so that we’d be sure to drive traffic,” says O’Meagher. “Since that launch, traffic levels have remained significantly higher than on the old website. Also, in the first week alone after launch, average time spent on the site and page views spiked above our 12-month target; they’ve since settled above where we expected them to be at this point.

“As more new functionality is added to the site, we anticipate even more traffic and people staying longer; in particular, the regular repeat user traffic that we are aiming for.”