72 Hours, 30 Volunteers, 3 Nonprofits = Success!

A few months ago, Ab Emam at the Web Development Group in Washington, DC came to me with a great idea called CreateathonDC: they would select three DC-area nonprofits and, over the course of one weekend, would completely overhaul their web presences using WordPress as the backbone CMS.  I loved the concept and WordPress.com VIP was proud to sponsor the event.  The idea got a great response – more than 40 nonprofits applied.  Three were selected, and this past weekend, Ab’s team, along with 30 volunteers, hunkered down for a 72-hour design marathon.  The fruits of their labor and talents are simply awesome.  Below is the post that Web Development Group just put up recapping their work this past weekend. Be sure to check out the site makeovers – they are beautiful!

72 Hours, 30 Volunteers, 3 Nonprofits = Success!
September 10, 2012 By mMcCarty

CreateathonDC 2012 was a huge success! Our three teams worked late into the night finalizing the development aspects of the websites. The Web Development Group is excited to announce each of the nonprofits’ websites were successfully launched, much to the excitement of CreateathonDC volunteers, sponsors and the nonprofits themselves!

Starting Friday evening and chugging along through the early hours of Monday morning, WDG and Createathon’s volunteers dedicated both their superb talents and time to create and smoothly implement these WordPress-powered websites, from start (think initial client consultations and wireframes) to finish, successfully launching better web experiences for the three nonprofits.

If you missed the updates over the weekend, here’s a quick run down of how CreateathonDC  Weekend went!

The Web Development Group team spent this summer scouring applications for both volunteers and nonprofits. While considering the organizations who applied to be selected for a website makeover, we focused on their financial needs (based on 990), the state of their current site, as well as the opportunities the new WordPress-powered web experience would give the nonprofits in their efforts to further spread their message and engage the community. With nearly 40 organizations applying, the competition was tough.  The chosen organizations for this year’s CreateathonDC event were: Borromeo HousingDC Diaper Bank, and Phoenix Bikes.

On the volunteers side, we had over 70 volunteers who applied to be a part of this spectacular inaugural event.  The 30 individuals chosen came from a wide spectrum of talents and backgrounds within the DC-Metro creative community. The volunteers were broken down into three teams of 10 people strong and were led by WDG’s own senior developers.  The teams quickly identified the strengths of each member and distributed tasks appropriately to successfully strategize, design, develop, and launch three amazingly user-friendly responsive websites within 72 hours.

With dedicated time, talents and effort, we were able to give Phoenix Bikes, DC Diaper Bank, and Borromeo Housing a complete web experience makeover, including services like, consultation, web and graphic design, development, content management, social media strategy, and WordPress content management training!

Check out some of the before and after shots of the sites!

PHOENIX BIKES:

Visit the new site here

The new site incorporates the colors of the logo better, is much less text heavy, and is much more user-friendly. When WDG first started looking at Phoenix Bikes’ site, many of the links were broken, the calendar did not work well, and the whole site was rarely updated. Now that it is on WordPress, updating will be much easier, there is a Facebook feed which will keep it dynamic and changing, and the site itself is also responsive!

BORROMEO HOUSING:

Visit the new site here

Borromeo Housing really wanted to help spread their message to the general population while also adding color, and video to their site. Our designers and developers worked with the nonprofit representatives and even offered them 15 custom-edited videos that can be used for future posts. The slideshow on the homepage helps push out their message, and the donate button is much more prominent. The navigation on the site is much more intuitive .

DC DIAPER BANK:

Visit the new site here

DC Diaper Bank wanted a site that was fun, creative, and also kept the user on the pages longer. This is something The Web Development Group knew they could capitalize on. The awesome design team added infographics, images, and saturated colors. The site gets the message out without being too “baby-focused”, something the nonprofit wanted. This site is also responsive. The organization also received a toolkit (custom-designed hand-out that promotes the organization and can be edited for different functions) and Facebook/Twitter branding!

This event was a huge success and will most definitely become and annual event. We are eager to continue to give back to the local community again in the future. As Darlene Bakke from Borromeo Housing said, “The website is amazing and I know this transformation will make a huge impact on BHI messaging.”

TIME.com Running Verticals on WordPress.com VIP

Great piece yesterday in paidcontent.org about how TIME.com is leveraging the WordPress.com VIP SaaS platform to run all their vertical sites. In the post TIME.com cites their internal Omniture numbers, stating that ” ..verticals drove 40 percent of total site visits in 2011.

It’s great to see Techland, SwamplandBattleland, and other TIME.com verticals that run on WordPress.com VIP highlighted in this article:

“In developing the vertical strategy, we decided to pinpoint areas of reader and advertiser interest, blow them out as mini-publications in their own right,” (Jim) Frederick (the site’s managing editor) said. “The idea was to get writers who can speak to Tech enthusiasts for Techland or personal finance fans at Moneyland, and forge new readerships, while still embracing our core audience and feeling familiar to our Time loyalists, too.””

LightBox, an amazing photography blog that lives on WordPress.com VIP and then connects effortlessly to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, is a great example of WordPress as a digital hub. TIME.com uses the WordPress site to draw in audiences from various services back to the core content.

Nice work TIME.com team !

Ready to become a VIP Services Client? Some of the world’s biggest brands rely on WordPress.com VIP Services.

AARP Blog on WordPress

The AARP has launched their blog on WordPress.com VIP.

To recall the sentiment of Beth Carpenter’s post “Baby Boomers on Twitter? Yep, sure are“, to that we say, Baby Boomers on WordPress? Yep, sure are.

Welcome!

[Visit the official AARP blog]

Ready to become a VIP Services Client? Some of the world’s biggest brands rely on WordPress.com VIP Services.

Elance: WordPress #2 for Top Overall Skills in Demand

Elance’s 2010 Q4 Online Employment Report catapults WordPress into the #2 spot for Top Overall Skills in Demand. WordPress has made a steady climb in the Skills in Demand ranking, listed as #13 in May 2009 and #6 in September 2010.

“A number of popular open-source platforms like Drupal and Joomla! are available for online content, but over the course of 2010, WordPress appears to have moved from top contender to top choice: Demand for WordPress experts rose an impressive 15% quarter-over-quarter, moving up three highly coveted spots to #2, trailing only behind PHP programmers. This marks the first time that any content management system has moved into the top three skills in demand by businesses, solidifying it as the undisputed champ of content, for now.”


[Read more in Elance's Online Employment Report]

2009 Open Source CMS Report Released

WordPress was one of three leaders in both rate of adoption and brand strength as measured in the 2009 Open Source Content Management System Market Share Report. The second edition of this report, authored by water&stone and CMSWire, was released today and concludes that three brands – WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal – are dominating today’s market for open source CMS. The report looks at download rates, evaluation and trial usage, and third party support to estimate adoption. Brand strength is evaluated by assessing search engine rankings, Google PageRank, mindshare, social media prominence and reputation.

We’re happy to see WordPress recognized again as a strong CMS option for publishers. The free 96-page report is available at CMSWire.

Source: 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report, water&stone and CMSWire (2009)

Source: 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report, water&stone and CMSWire (2009)

United Nations University Selects WordPress

We were excited when we found out United Nations University, a think tank for the UN system,  had decided to use WordPress to power its OurWorld 2.0 web site. The OurWorld 2.0 site is designed to create a conversation around the question “What can we do when faced with complex, inter-connected and pressing problems like climate change, oil depletion and food security?”

United Nations University

The site uses WordPress to create mini-sites for its three themes (Climate, Oil, Food) as well as to provide more more general navigation and content such as search and the project’s about page. The developers behind the OurWorld 2.0 site use a variety of publicly available and internally developed plugins to get the most out of their WordPress installation.

OurWorld 2.0 is rich in quality, well designed content and serves as a great example of an innovative organization using WordPress in a unique way. The site’s creative director told us, “With more than ten WordPress sites built and run by our team so far, I think that goes a long way to say that we’re more than happy with the platform. And the recent upgrades have only served to make extending WordPress even easier. To make a robust site that just works, I think WordPress is an obvious solution.”

[ Visit OurWorld 2.0 ]

Portland.com Selects WordPress

Portland, Oregon has a lot to offer. And with the help of WordPress, Portland.com has had no trouble showcasing some of the many things to see and do in the City of Roses. As Portland.com redeveloped its web site, they decided to use WordPress to power its directory of businesses, events section, and more.

Portland.com

Check out this example of a directory entry powered by WordPress. Without implementing WordPress, Portland.com told us, “we would have had a much more difficult time implementing features and what we wanted to do with the site.”

[ Visit Portland.com ]

LIVESTRONG Blog on WordPress

The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) has selected to blog on WordPress. The foundation raises awareness and funds for the fight against cancer, focusing on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors.

Champion cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong founded the LAF in 1997 and it has raised over $250 million to date. The campaign began with the yellow wristbands that had LIVESTRONG imprinted on them and now there are over 60 million LIVESTRONG wristband wearers helping to make cancer a national priority.

[ Visit the LIVESTRONG Blog ]