SEE US IN A NEW LIGHT
Brand new website alert!
Catherine Mair, the Cathedral’s Marketing and Communications Manager, writes…
Whether it’s the erection of Heritage Property Restoration’s portakabins at their site compound in St Nicholas Square, the external barriers put in place around the entire Cathedral perimeter, the decanting of the pews in the Nave to loving new homes or the discovery of long hidden objects under the south transept floor, visitors to Newcastle Cathedral can’t fail to notice the development works currently taking place on the ground right now.
Progress with our ambitious National Lottery Heritage Fund project, Common Ground in Sacred Space, is pretty obvious with visible change now occurring ‘above ground’. However, behind the scenes, everyone is also tremendously hard at work getting on with the lesser visible tasks, including the creation of a brand new online identity for the Cathedral.
A new Cathedral website has been in the planning for 12 months – although aspired by many for a lot longer than that! Clunky and temperamental, the original site didn’t optimally function across digital platforms and regularly crashed. When the Cathedral successfully secured funding from both The National Lottery Heritage Fund and generous benefactors, top of the marketing must-haves list was therefore a brand new website to reflect the Cathedral’s vision, mission and heritage.
Of course with differing demands and priorities elsewhere for funding I knew whatever budget we could allocate towards a new website would be limited and therefore ask much of any agency appointed to deliver it. Never known for being ‘backwards in coming forwards’, in true Geordie spirit I channeled my ‘shy bairns get nowt’ attitude and asked for the earth in our website brief released in June 2019.
In July last year, Gateshead-based Digital Allies, a specialist digital marketing firm in web design and development, successfully won the contract to design and build the Cathedral’s website following a robust tender process. Key to their successful pitch was the promise to deliver a new website which not only looked good but which was also fully optimised for search engines.
The revamped site, which utilises the new domain name newcastlecathedral.org.uk, offers a clean, modern design with easy navigation. The launch has been timed to coincide with the acceleration of the Cathedral’s year-long capital works programme, fundamental to the success of our transformational heritage project.
The purpose behind the look and feel of the contemporary new website is to provide a more welcoming, informative and attractive public face for Newcastle Cathedral. It offers an improved experience for online visitors and functions as a focal point for information on worship, music, events, news updates and progress on the heritage project. It is also vital that the Cathedral maintains a high digital presence throughout 2020 by increasing online engagement, even if visitors are unable to physically access certain parts of the building during the capital works.
The result is a truly responsive design which offers an interesting, exciting and user-friendly experience. We invite you to take a look around and hope you enjoy your online visit!