Developing a New Web Paradigm for the Better Business Bureau
In 2000, the national Council of Better Business Bureaus mandated that all regional BBB's develop their own web sites. Prior to that, all web sites had been maintained at a national level.
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern Washington and North Idaho contracted with Interactive Consulting to assist them in creating their own site and making this transition. The site had been somewhat static up to that point and difficult to update.
The challenge was to create a unique site that people would find really useful, that would powerfully promote the BBB and its services, and that could be maintained by in-house staff after the development process was completed. Overall, the goal was to increase site traffic and make the web site a cornerstone of the BBB's marketing efforts.
Interactive Consulting consulted at length with Jan Quintrall, president of the regional BBB. We ascertained that truly the most important role of the web site was the communication of timely and critical information to the consumer and business communities.
We thus forged a unique approach (that is different than many other BBBs) in making information transfer the highest priority. We established a front page which contained critical alerts to the general public, to seniors, and to businesses. Along with this, the front page contains the President's Message, Hot Topics, and a Calendar.
We also created a navigational structure, that would allow the visitor to access every service quickly. The site enables the visitor to find a BBB business, request a report, view non-responding businesses, read the newsletter, as well access many other types of information.
The site is completely database driven and is managed and updated by BBB staff. Interactive Consulting handled all design and html programming. We teamed up with Stauffer Technology of Columbus, Ohio who provided the database and dyanamic page programming, as well as hosting services.
Within the first month after the site's soft launch, page views jumped from 8000 per week to 40,000 per week. The traffic has continued to grow since then. The site has received great feedback from the local community as well as recognition nationally in the Better Business Bureau system.