Monticello, Home(page) of Thomas Jefferson

by Cassi Greenlee, Digital Sales & Marketing Manager at Fastspot

At Fastspot, we’ve worked with many non-profit, higher education, and cultural institutions. While each institution has its own unique challenges, there is one that’s (almost) universally shared: the digital marketing budget.

As a result, we understand that for website redesign projects, one size does not fit all. Each of our clients is different, and our solutions are customized for each new opportunity.

Based on Fastspot’s recent experience redesigning the homepage for Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, there is a case to be made for some institutions to take a phased approach to a website redesign. That is to say, with a predictable, renewable annual budget, make changes to the most impactful and marketing-critical pages of your site first, and work from there.

A Homepage Worthy of a Historic Home

In the summer of 2016, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation sought bids from potential partners for the redesign of the Monticello homepage. They were motivated to take advantage of new trends in responsive site design and mobile user experience and driven to transform home.monticello.org from a repository of information into a beautiful online space of engagement for visitors.

From the start, the Foundation was upfront about its intentions to improve the site in segments, starting with the homepage, and making more widespread changes in the following years. The idea was to go all-out and avoid spreading the website redesign effort too thin by applying the budget strategically to the most important part of the site, the homepage.

Fastspot was thrilled to help take first step toward redesigning and elevating the digital entrance into Monticello. The result of our work with the Foundation was a homepage filled with inspiring, engaging content built within a modern, clean responsive design. The homepage established direction toward an overall tone, which was also translated into select interior pages.

The site captures and showcases the Monticello in-person experience in a way that entices users to start exploring right away. In fact, the new home.monticello.org sees 363 hours of attention per week, up from 226 hours in 2016 and the average time on page has doubled since the launch.

The mobile experience is strikingly different from the former, non-responsive monticello.org.
The new homepage gives visitors a true sense of place.

Put Your Money Where Your Users Are

A homepage redesign is not for everyone. If you have serious issues with functionality within the site, if the transition to interior pages will be off-putting for your visitors, or if you’re not prepared to follow with incremental changes elsewhere in the site, you might want to consider a different investment. (For some of our clients, the homepage isn’t even the most visited page!) But for the right organizations, this can be a good way to get the ball rolling on the eventual transformation of your digital presence. You may have to utilize multiple budgetary cycles and incrementally build the most impactful areas of your site, but the authentic representation of your brand is worth it.