Quick Fixes for Nonprofit Website

What do you do when your web developer flakes out?

That’s the pickle the Chicago Symphony Youth Orchestra was in when they reached out to ellell & co in January of 2016.

A dysfunctional web dev team just doesn’t get your requests. They’ve stopped answering your calls… Should you start over completely? Or is there a way to rescue the project?

Thankfully, we were up to the task. Our development team stepped in to finish the website and launch it — on time and on budget. We worked around the clock and dealt with our share of code surprises, resolving each one as we went.

How We Rescued The Project:

1. We prioritized the to-do list

We ranked bugs and website needs so that we could get the most important concerns addressed fast. By the second day of work, the client noticed huge improvements on some of the most annoying bugs that were there before.

“I’ve spent over a month begging the other firm to build that and you guys gave it to me in two days. So a huge, giant thank you for that.
– Abbey, Marketing Manager

2. We made a copy of the entire website

This step seems simple, but it was very helpful. We needed to isolate our copy of the website so that we could completely upgrade the code independent of the old website build, and everyone appreciated having the ability to compare/contrast our work to the previous site as we went.

3. We Communicated

We kept an open line of communication throughout the project. One of our favorite tools, Trello* was instrumental in getting answers to questions along the way, and sharing our progress with the client.

trello for web development project management

*We love Trello so much we had to recommend them to you. Have you used them yet? Basic Trello features are free but we’ll get a small upgrade if you sign up using our link. Win-win!

4. We Recommended Smart Solutions

Whenever we could, we turned a bug-fix into an improvement. For instance, the navigation menu at top of page was not meeting the needs of CYSO. We improved the look of pages that the previous developers had left half-finished.

When we noticed that the client was over-paying for hosting, we recommended a more efficient service that would save them $$ each year. We did the work ourselves – moving the website to the new hosting plan in an afternoon.

The Old CYSO Website:

Below is the website that was hanging on by a thread, as the new launch was delayed time and time again. The old site wasn’t responsive, it kind of burned the eyes, even worse it was hard to use. And CYSO was stuck with it until the new site could be completely developed.

Then we stepped in.



The New Website

We completed the project and launched a new CYSO.org that is leaps and bounds better than the previous one.  It’s a more user friendly design with clear newer navigation – and of course it’s responsive.

Not only does it let the public know about CYSO events, performances, and auditions, but it has a special section where students and parents can log in to grab documents they need, like sheet music and permission slips.

cyso-desktop-homepage-1symphony orchestra website design wordpress


A closer look at the About Us page

The previous dev team had left the About CYSO page half-built, or at least that’s how it looks to us. There were images and some odd text links but really nothing substantial that the user was actually looking for. We needed to tell a story… so we did.

Content is a high priority in all of our projects at ellell & co. If the website doesn’t communicate a story, why does it even exist? We made sure the CYSO had the tools to tell their story their way.

nonprofit website design - about us page

Simpler isn’t always better

We built a footer menu that would help people find everything they needed on the new website. Because at the end of the day you’re coming to this website for information. If it’s hard to find, you lose customers.

website footer redesign


Visit Site ›

Laura Eagin • March 25, 2016

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