In recent years, business networking has become an important part of sales and marketing activity for virtually all types of organisations. Here at Studio 18, we are enthusiastic networkers ourselves, and one of our favourite groups is Reading Business Club (RBC). We’ve been active members for some years now, made some great connections and acquired numerous clients as a result; now we can count RBC as a Studio 18 client too!
Focused on helping to promote business growth through networking, mentoring and support, the Club is well established and has a healthy and diverse mix of members. The Club’s website had served them well for a number of years, but was beginning to show its age, reaching the point where it required a serious makeover to improve the way it looked and worked. Key issues included;
- Outdated design
- Disconnect with the professionalism & vibrancy of the group
- Difficult for RBC management to update site content
- No member areas
RBC asked Studio 18 to take the project on, and as group members ourselves we were in the perfect position to do so, having an in-depth understanding of what RBC stands for, and first-hand experience of the benefits it delivers to its membership.
Like any building job – virtual or otherwise – good foundations are crucial, and it was important for us to develop the new site in a flexible, versatile platform with scope for future expansion. For this reason, we chose to build the new site in WordPress. To ensure it is simple to maintain and update, at the heart of the site is an easy to use Content Management System (CMS) – enabling the site administrator to easily make edits to text, upload new images, add new pages – or make any other changes to content. The CMS also means that RBC members can log in to upload and manage their personal business profiles. To bring the site right up to date and make it more interactive, we added a Twitter feed, links to member’s social media accounts, and the facility for members to post their own blogs onto the site. By clever integration of Google applications, we’ve also built in features to automate some administrative processes that previously had to be done manually – these include sending out meeting invitations and logging member attendance.
Like most of the websites we create, the RBC site has been designed to be ‘fully responsive’, so that the quality of the user experience is maintained regardless of how it’s viewed. With sites increasingly likely to be accessed via mobile devices, we regard this as a crucial consideration.
As well as addressing functionality, we have updated the RBC logo and designed a fresh, new-look, easy to navigate site that is much more in keeping with the image RBC wants to present, and one that will help attract new members. Instead of simply being a reference point as it was previously. The website is now at the very centre of RBC – a showcase for the Club – as well as for its members and their businesses.