Imagine you work with children and young people who desperately need your help and one of the main ways you have to try to facilitate that help is through a website that doesn’t work properly. What do you do?
The Fostering Company already had a self-built website on Moonfruit. Most of the information needed was available, but due to navigation issues, not easy to find.
Adding new or updating existing information was difficult. The whole site was rather uninviting. Given that The Fostering Company needed a range of visitors to take specific actions, this website was just not able to do the business.
The Client Brief
To provide a website which would:
- Show the best of them to the world.
- Encourage more foster parent to register with them.
- Meet OFSTED requirements for publishing information online.
- Create a secure area for foster parents and their own and fostered children.
This turned out to be one of my favourite websites, and it turned out to be actually quite easy to build and get good results.
Staff at The Fostering Company are as lovely as you would expect. Totally dedicated and committed to doing the best for their children, they recognised the role a good website could play in helping them do exactly that.
We had two main issues to deal with.
The first, and major issue, was the photos used on the site. Images are so important to engage visitors to your website. We all agreed that stock photos can look ‘staged’ and false. We all wanted the site to reflect real families from around the North East. With kind permission from the participants, we were able to use some of the Fostering Company’s own photos. Genuine, heartfelt and honest.
The second and rather vexing issue was the forthcoming OFSTED inspection. A working website was an imperative for a good inspection - it was vital to show The Fostering Company had all of the correct documents available online.
The pressure was on, with a rush towards the end – we managed to get a fully operational website with just one day to spare, a working website that was able to play its small part in The Fostering Company’s ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED grade.
Unfortunately, a couple of years after I built the website, The Fostering Company was taken over by a national chain of fostering agencies, who continue to do an excellent job for the children in their care. The unfortunate bit for me is that I no longer look after the site, and I suspect it won't be long before it's rebuilt to reflect the corporate branding. But for now, it's still there and I'm still very proud of it. You can see it at https://thefosteringcompanyneltd.co.uk.