What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Our members and board love the website. They were really excited about the increased functionality because they need our website for event registration. We are really thankful it is where it is now. When the website launched in August, the number of users increased 1,468.2% just in that one month, and we continued to see steady improvements. The bounce rate decreased by 71% in that first month.
We saved $300 a month thanks to the functional backend they delivered, as we used to pay for maintenance each month. Those savings have been helpful for us, since we’re a nonprofit, and being able to make those changes in-house has saved us time as well.
Flynn came in and met with me. He looked at the backend of our site and the integration and realized that WordPress integrates with our CRM the best, although I was more comfortable with Squarespace. I expressed major concerns that I had with him about personally having to learn WordPress and having to use it when I wanted to make small edits to the site. Although I tried to convince them that Squarespace might have been the best, they took a holistic look at our situation and advised us on what would be best while still meeting my need to make edits easily on the backend. They implemented a WordPress plugin called WPBakery, which functions as a frontend editor. I can now edit right on the page if I am logged in. It’s really easy.
Once we launched the website, Flynn included two hours of website maintenance a month as a service from his company for a year. One of my worries was that the website would launch and that I wouldn’t know how to use something on the backend or would have questions, but having that support made us comfortable letting our previous maintenance vendor go.
How did Online Optimism perform from a project management standpoint?
They were fantastic. We were the ones holding things up because we had several events that delayed our response time. They were great and weren’t pushy about following up as they understood our situation. They met every deadline.
We had a short delay on our end when we had to decide whether to change our hosting service. Online Optimism went above and beyond on that issue as well and even offered to pay the increased hosting fee for us just so we could try it out. They never pressured us to switch back, and they said they were willing to do that for as long as it took us to get an answer from our board as to whether or not we could switch over to the more expensive hosting service. They were really helpful.
We mostly communicated over email or we met in person. There weren’t too many people involved, so I don’t think we needed to use a project management tool.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They’re highly responsive. I never waited for more than a couple of hours for an email response even at night, and they always had a very thorough answer. We never had to explain ourselves too much when asking a question. It didn’t take much for me to explain what my vision was for the website in terms of design or even functionality. It was nice to work with people who just understand what we mean.
They are very technical people. Some of the other companies I met were definitely not as sociable and spoke at a level that could be above people’s heads. Online Optimism doesn’t do that. No question is a silly one, and they are able to explain things in a way that anyone could understand regardless of their technical background. It made a huge difference for us.
Are there any areas they could improve?
No, we’re very satisfied.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Don’t be afraid to ask for anything. With Online Optimism, you don’t have to be afraid to ask. If it is possible, they will make it happen. We had a really tall order for them, but they handled it with class and professionalism and never made it seem like it was overwhelming for them. Even though we weren’t their highest-paying client, they treated me like I was their most important client in every interaction. I would tell a potential client to not be afraid to ask for exactly what you are looking for. Send them some samples of websites you like, and they will make it happen if they can.