It is always great to be involved with any large event, especially when the motivaition is charitable.
The Paddle Round the Pier beach festival in Brighton has been going since 1996, during which time it has raised over £100,000 for charities. The event was conceived by David Samuel of DSA and was originally surfers just paddling around Brighton’s Pier to raise funds for charity.
Since then the event has grown in size and popularity to become an internationally reknowned event which is rated by the press and visited by 40,000 people a year – and it is free.
Last year we were involved with the coordination of the Paddle Something Unusual where a series of unlikely floats took to the seas. This year we set out to improve the website. Last year’s website was a slick and comprehensive affair but it was not readily editable by the many volunteers who comprise the paddle team.
The Paddle is a social event and so required the facility to bring together all the online threads and make it the focal point of a community.
We built the site using a page structure which echoes the various areas of action such as water events, land events, kids, entertainment and music. The music area of the site was given a custom menu as it is almost an event in its own right. Wordpress’ post functionality allows us to add press releases and news in a separate format and with RSS feed generated for simple syndication. Additionaly the website’s URL structure was improved upon with clean addresses and a simple navigational structure. We were also able to repoint old web addresses to the new ones via 301 permanent redirection so that bookmarked pages and backlinks could still find the requested content. The site is a rich source of accessible information and is fully SEO optimised.
Social media plugins were implemented on each page to read from the feeds generated by the event’s various outlets such as Twitter, YouTube , Facebook and Flickr. We were also able to echo the structure of the Flickr galleries onto the gallery page on the website.
The site’s IA (Information Architecture) was agreed upon through meetings with the Volunteer team , A1Surf and DSA ;whilst Mayermedia and Bionic Graphics provided both branding and graphical direction.
The result has been an engaging and feature rich website which allows a disparate team to add content as the festival grows, which looks great.
Further Information is, of course, available at www.paddleroundthepier.com
The event takes place on Hove Lawns, Brighton, East Sussex on the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd this year – 2011
If you are a charity event which wants help in any way with your online ventures then please contact us, if we have free time we will be happy to help.