New site launch: Everplans.com - a resource on the tough topic of death

April 4, 2013
New Digett website everplans.com

Digett is very excited about the launch of Everplans.com. There are endless online resources for major life changes like buying a house, getting married or having a baby. Everplans' founders created this site to fill the void in resources available to help people with the tough topic of death and dying.

Everplans is a website to help people prepare for and deal with death. Everplans has answers to:

  • How do I write a will and communicate my wishes with my family?
  • What do I need to know about assisted living, nursing homes and hospice care?
  • What should and shouldn't I say to a person who has recently lost someone?
  • What should I expect at a mourning or memorial event for X religion or denomination?

Their advice is informative and detailed, but the writing avoids a tone that’s too cold or too saccharine, immediately building trust.

A Technical Implementation

The Everplans team is a group of smart, friendly and passionate people. The website and its vision for design, content and user experience is all theirs. The previous iteration of their site, however, presented technical challenges making it difficult for Everplans to achieve their goals. That's where Digett’s technical expertise came in.

Easier to organize content

This site has tons of content so it is critical that content is organized and presented in a logical way. Digett re-architected the back-end of the website to make everything easier for site administrators to use.

  • We've created an easier way to define relationships between all kinds of content - articles, guides, checklists, etc., so Everplans can always show users the most relevant content for them.
  • Those connections are easy for Everplans to maintain - make a change in one place and it will be reflected in multiple other spots. There’s a lot of Drupal magic with entity references and views keeping everything, everwhere, in sync.

Increase SEO friendliness

Everplans’ content is organized according to “paths,” groupings of topics to guide visitors through the site. Select the path that best applies to you: Long Before a Death, Eldercare & End of Life, After a Death, Be There for Someone.

Problem # 1:

Some paths have overlapping resources, posing an SEO challenge. Advice on writing a will can be found in the Long Before a Death and End of Life paths. Having two separate Write a Will pages would be inefficient from an administrative standpoint and duplicate content (identical content at two different URLs) is undesirable from a search engine standpoint.

Problem #2:

If a visitor arrives on the Write a Will page directly from Google, in what context should they see that page? Should we show them the Write a Will page as though they’re in the Long Before a Death or the End of Life path?

Solutions

We have overcome these challenges in a couple of ways.

  • We’re leveraging canonical URLs to tell Google the authoritative URL for a page to avoid penalties for duplicate content at multiple URLs.
  • We’ve also created an advanced system of filtering URLs to make it easier for users to select and stay in their chosen path.

When a user arrives at the Write a Will page from Google, for example, they’ll see a generic version of that page with an option to select which path - Long Before a Death or End of Life - is most applicable for them. Once they choose we can continue to serve up relevant content for them, improving their experience with the website and helping to keep them engaged.

Side-by-side effort

Part of the success of this project has to be attributed to the level of engagement from the Everplans team. At every junction they were able to clearly articulate their goals and collaborate openly. Their vision, expertise and communication empowered us to implement functionality and an overall technical foundation that we hope will serve their team and the site well into the future.

We’re proud of our work on the new everplans.com. We also heard one of Everplans’ content administrators say “I love this site!” And that makes us feel pretty good too.

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