Equestrian Trails, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to equine legislation, good horsemanship, and the acquisition and preservation of trails, open space and public lands. It accomplishes this by being an umbrella membership association and overseeing the activities of 34 corrals (organized groups of equestrian enthusiasts) and two Mounted Assistance Units located in California. Their previous website (homepage shown here) did not pass Google’s mobile-friendly test and was hard to navigate, making finding the information members needed difficult. Linda Fullerton, current President of ETI, and Randall Michael Tobin discussed the website upgrade project at length, and an outline was agreed upon moving forward with a fully responsive website that would contain all the information members needed access to. The new website also marked the implementation of being able to join or renew on line by locating the desired corral based on the area it covered, and choosing the membership option that applied to the member.
After the project was given the green light, Randall went about putting a preview version of the site together in time for the monthly meeting of the ETI board. The preview went well and all in attendance, either in person or on mobile devices and in communication via conference call, were able to navigate through the preview pages to get a feel for what would soon be ETI’s new digital home. A vertical menu structure was required for the website due to the sheer number of categories and sub-categories that comprise life in the equestrian world. One of the exciting aspects of the upgrade was the change to a fully interactive online magazine from the previous PDF download-only option. The magazine’s editor, Sarah, was trained on the new technology by Randall and she picked it up quite nicely. On the home page near the bottom sits the Magazine Rack where website visitors can choose from the current or back issues to peruse on any computer or device.
ETI has been around since 1944, so Randall kept the existing logo, but flipped it facing to the right (so the horse could watch the other horses, rather than getting lost looking for the wrong trail) and reworked it a bit to polish it up. Much of the photo content from the previous website could be used, but some of the images were too small and many were from years ago. New content was needed so the call went out to key corral leaders to see what images they could round up. With a projected launch date of less than a month from the agreed-upon outline, Randall had the task of keeping the project moving with requests for images, text, documents and forms, and stories for the equine-interest sections.
Next, a robust Event Calendar application was added to the core code and its green, brown and tan colors custom coded to match the site’s outdoor theme. Other specialty pages included separate galleries for photos and videos.
The biggest challenge was setting up the online membership e-commerce page for new memberships and renewals. Each corral sets their own pricing and membership fees are different for junior, adult and family options. Through clever coding and page formatting, we were able to code and text the above and the website launched on time on April 1st!
The final step was creating a Mail Chimp campaign to announce the new website, which Randall did using some of the graphics from the new site, along with body copy designed to resonate with ETI’s members.
Since launch day, the feedback we’ve received here at Theta Media Group has been very positive. The horse is out of the gate and heading for the first turn. Here’s what ETI’s President wrote us after the site went live:
Equestrian Trails Inc. began during WWI when a group of men were commissioned to patrol the beaches in Long Beach, watching for enemy planes to approach. After the war they decided to form an organization that would promote and develop legislation that would protect the equestrian life styles of Southern California and maintain and document riding trails of the community and surrounding areas.
Fast forward to 1995. ETI established a minimum web site that covered the basic history and presence of the organization on the web. In 2009 the current board recognized the need for the organization to move into the 21st century. There were several discussions of how this should happen. Members who had basic knowledge for setting up a website volunteered to provide ETI a facelift on the web. Though the efforts were made to update our website; the volunteers were not successful in accomplishing our goals.
In January of 2016 the current board requested a bid from Randall Tobin. They requested suggestions on the best approach to provide a site that would provide their members access to the information needed to run their individual corrals and allow the corrals to share what they are doing and any legislative issues that they might be facing. They were looking for an interactive website that would open the communications between corrals. In February they voted to accept Randall’s bid and requested that he move forward with the goal of being on line on April 1st, 2016 with our new site.
Then the work began. Randall organized us immediately; provided us with a list of information that he would need to meet our goals. When we fell behind he would be on the phone or via email continually nudging us to keep moving forward. He definitely had our due date sealed and was not going to let us slack and not meet our requested live date.
Needless to say, we did meet our debut on April 1st and received an overwhelming response of approval from our membership. Everyone was very ecstatic to see the new organization that we were now going to become. Not only was our communication between corrals going to improve but the professional site is sure to attract interest in our organization and new members.
Randall, delivered our website on time and on budget. We could not be more pleased and are also proud that he chose to include us in the this showcase that you are reading today.
I would give Randall a 5-star rating for the professional relationship that we developed during this process and the work that he performed for our organization.
Equestrian Trails, Inc.
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Randall Michael Tobin is an award-winning media producer, digital business consultant and website designer / developer based in Los Angeles, California. Since Theta Media Group's beginnings in 1977, Randall has been helping clients around the world realize their vision.