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West of England Combined Authority Case Study Cover Image
West of England Combined Authority Case Study
Cover Image

The West of England Combined Authority

Website Redesign & Brand Consolidation

The West of England Combined Authority is made up of three councils in the West of England: Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset.

West of England Combined Authority - Desktop Pages
West of England Combined Authority
Desktop Pages Mockup

The Brief

JBi Digital was appointed to build an industry leading website for the Combined Authority, bringing together each of its existing websites under one roof:

  1. The West of England Combined Authority
  2. The West of England Growth Hub
  3. Invest Bristol & Bath (IBB)

Our key objectives for this project were to:

  • Consolidate the Combined Authority’s separate websites into a single, unified online home, while maintaining a distinctive look and feel for each sub-brand.
  • Provide optimised journeys for all user types based on a consolidated sitemap.
  • Enable better access to information, services and support for residents, businesses and stakeholders.
  • Bring the websites together in an SEO-friendly way, maintaining key areas of value.
  • Comply with WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards.
West of England Combined Authority - Before & After
West of England Combined Authority
Before & After
West of England Combined Authority - Growth Hub Before & After
West of England Growth Hub
Before & After
West of England Combined Authority - IBB Before & After
Invest Bristol & Bath
Before & After

Discovery Phase

The Combined Authority’s new website needed to represent 8 separate internal teams, each with its own priorities for serving residents, businesses and stakeholders.

The Discovery phase was therefore focused on ensuring that each team was able to contribute directly and make its unique voice heard.

To achieve this, we ran a dedicated workshop with each team, deep diving into their objectives and priorities and exploring the needs of their various audiences.

The insights gained from this process, coupled with our analysis of the Combined Authority’s existing websites, helped form our strategy for the rest of the project.

West of England Combined Authority - UX Outputs
West of England Combined Authority
UX Outputs

We also defined which areas of the sites should be global, and which would need to be unique for each section. For example, the Combined Authority and the Growth Hub share a case study page but their events pages are distinct from one another.

The outputs of these workshops directly informed the new sitemap and information architecture, which you can read more about in the next section.

West of England Combined Authority - Content & Performance
West of England Combined Authority
Content & Performance

Consolidated Sitemap & Information Architecture

It was essential to the success of this project that the consolidated sitemap was optimised for the Combined Authority’s residents, businesses and stakeholders.

In order to achieve this, we conducted a full audit of each website’s content, working with the client’s teams to identify which pages should be retained and removed.

Our SEO team then ensured that all content was migrated in an SEO-friendly manner, with 301 redirects added for all deleted pages.

In total:

  • 5,300+ pages and PDFs were migrated and consolidated into 1,600+ indexed pages
  • The IBB website was consolidated from 245 pages to 65 pages

Based on the outputs of this exercise and the insights gained during the Discovery phase, we were able to produce a full sitemap covering all three websites.

West of England Combined Authority - Sitemap & Ecosystem
West of England Combined Authority
Sitemap & Ecosystem

WordPress Multisite

Based on the Combined Authority’s brief and following our initial discussions with the team, we decided that the best solution would be to develop the website using a WordPress multisite CMS.

This achieved the following:

  • Each site has its own distinct brand identity
  • Each site’s teams are able to manage and edit their sections using a unique CMS
  • Each site’s teams are able to manage access and permissions for their respective CMS
  • All sites are able to use the same library of bespoke modules and widgets
  • Each site is able to use its own unique plugins, CRMs and APIs

Building the website in this way has given the Combined Authority a scalable, future-proof platform which allows its internal teams to tailor their sections to their audiences’ unique needs.

This multisite architecture was tied together by a dynamic website header, which you can read more about in the following section.

West of England Combined Authority - Modular Design
West of England Combined Authority
Modular Design Mockup

Dynamic Header & Navigation

By creating a dynamic header and top menu for the website, we were able to tie together the Combined Authority’s multisite architecture, providing users with a clear starting point for their key journeys while reinforcing each website’s distinct brand identity.

Switching between the three main sections (West of England Combined Authority, Growth Hub and IBB) causes the header’s colour scheme to change, making each sub-brand’s unique identity clear.

All of this is possible without leaving the website or domain, creating a cohesive and streamlined experience for users and stakeholders alike.

In addition, the information architecture is easily navigable within the top menu, ensuring that all users are able to access the insights, services and support that they are looking for.

A global footer was implemented in order to keep the website SEO-friendly and maintain SEO value.

West of England Combined Authority - Dynamic Header
West of England Combined Authority
Dynamic Header Mockup

Results and Testimonial

The West of England Combined Authority’s new website has been a resounding success.

It has helped to reinvigorate the Combined Authority’s online presence, while significantly improving the user experience for residents, businesses and stakeholders, as shown below:

  • Bounce rate on the Combined Authority section decreased by 10% on desktop and 9% on mobile
  • Bounce rate on the Growth Hub section reduced by 29% on desktop and 9% on mobile
  • Single page visit sessions decreased by 35% across the site
  • Number of pages per session increased from 1.97 to 2.24 across the site
  • Target branded keywords ranking within top 5 results on Google

The website complies with WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards, and we have provided documentation and training to the Combined Authority’s teams in order to ensure that all new content and imagery added to the site remains within the guidelines.

We have created an optimised hosting solution, providing significant cost-savings in comparison with the previous arrangement, which involved various hosting providers and multiple domains.

The JBi team is now supporting and maintaining the Combined Authority’s website on an ongoing basis as part of a long term digital partnership.


“JBI has been a fantastic partner for the design and delivery of our new corporate website. While working remotely, we have been able to consolidate three legacy websites into one engaging new website, focused on meeting the needs of our varied audiences (local residents, businesses, and stakeholders). The JBi team was responsive to feedback, creative and personable – and was able to deliver our new website both on time and on budget.”

Alison Barrat, Marketing Manager at the West of England Combined Authority

 

If you have a project that you would like to discuss with the JBI team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 0207 043 2510 or emailing us through [email protected].

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