Calabasas is located in Los Angeles County, California. Originally occupied by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans, this area became riddled with turf wars when Spanish expeditions and squatters began to claim the land for themselves. Today, Calabasas is known for being a film location for many acclaimed movies and boasts many famous celebrity residents. Calabasas truly exudes the trait of “richness” in its history, culture, and inhabitants.
Recently, the City of Calabasas released an RFP for the redesign of their website. In response, I prepared a comprehensive strategic analysis and content strategy document to help the City meet its business goals and plans for the future.
As identified by the City’s RFP, the new website should contain major updates in design, functionality, and content management. Overall, the new website should be “an aesthetically-pleasing, resourceful information platform that is easy to navigate by both the community and visitors.”
These asks, along with other details described in the RFP, led me to create the following business goals for Calabasas:
Assist residents and businesses in fluid online transactions with the City
Promote the City’s local and community events through timely and accessible online information
Improve website accessibility and SEO for maximum usage and traffic
After determining priority business goals, I could start formulating content objectives, KPIs (key performance indicators), and metrics that aligned to both the core pillars of the organization and the 3 identified goals above.
To make accurate content recommendations for the website, I needed to understand the users and their needs. After consulting the RFP and conducting a comprehensive content audit on their website and social media channels, I was able to determine the following groups as target audiences:
- The Residents: Largest audience and overarching driver for the City of Calabasas website
- The Visitors: Key revenue drivers for the City of Calabasas that account for a good portion of online traffic
- The City Government: The City of Calabasas website is a hub for all things local government, used as a primary publishing source
During my content audit, I was also able to uncover key issues in their current website architecture, UI/UX, SEO, and missed opportunities for their social media channels. To bolster my recommendations, I completed a competitive analysis to see what neighboring cities Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Santa Monica were doing for their online presence.
From there, it was possible to develop a core strategy statement and messaging framework to guide the creation of content in a way that makes sense for their users, while still hitting upon the larger business objectives.
With a strong foundation in place, I reorganized the City of Calabasas’ website with a new sitemap, core page matrix, and designed wireframes to make suggestions for a more scalable, responsive, and beautiful user interface. Combined, these aspects would simplify the website and allow for increased consistency.
To make the redesign purpose worth it, the City of Calabasas must focus on developing a strong content strategy that can support their business goals. The current approach to content is on an ad hoc basis that doesn’t leave much room for a broader story. The following recommendations could be implemented to ensure an enhanced website and valuable future content:
- Consolidate content into organized pages. Remove extraneous areas of information like the “What’s New” tab
- Implement website modifications to SEO like descriptive title tags and meta descriptions to heighten searchability
- Simplify language used on website so that it can be easily consumed and consider using practices like lists, short scannable copy, and textual hierarchy to heighten readability
- Introduce a clear navigation system that does not rely heavily on the search bar, ensure that pages are optimized for mobile viewing
- Develop online resources and interactive forms so that citizens may make secure transactions to the City online