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FourFront and Rise First Celebrate their First Anniversary

Ben Swofford meets with the Rise First Team
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    Updated: Dec 03, 2019

    In December 2018, FourFront started providing free SEO services to Rise First, a nonprofit dedicated to serving first-generation, low-income (FGLI) college students. In the first year of this exciting partnership, we have been working hard to optimize the Rise First website, which offers more than 1,000 curated resources designed to help FGLI students navigate the numerous adjustments required by college life. We have also created plans for user experience, content development, and success measurement that will guide online efforts and activity for months to come.

    This is FourFront’s first pro bono relationship and I am proud to be its catalyst. I learned about Rise First from their Creative Director (who also happens to be my wife). Then, I floated the idea of working together at our company’s morning meeting, not at all sure of what response I’d get. The answer was that both our leadership and team embraced it with enthusiasm. I believe they recognized it as a great opportunity to support a nonprofit in a familiar field (higher education) and also, by extension, an employee’s family life. Still, I don’t think any of us fully realized how much of a success it would be.

    Chart showing increased website sessions from March through October 2019We created a comprehensive SEO strategy, identifying usability concerns and content opportunities to reach and impact more people, and our reporting dashboard has provided subsequent insights and guided new ideas. We also dramatically improved traffic by employing an expanded keyword list and leveraging Google Grants: monthly website sessions have more than doubled since the initial promotion of the new website.

    We’ve also contributed to the Rise First team’s overall SEO understanding, explaining our processes and tasking them with SEO tactics whenever possible. For their part, Rise First has helped us test new ideas in the realms of project management, analytics reporting, and client communications. They have also been consistently gracious, open, and professional. And like our best clients, they are deeply interested in learning. They even invited me to join a recent team building event—as shown in the picture above—further solidifying our bonds.

    So what began as a simple idea of offering some charitable SEO help to a relevant nonprofit has become one of my favorite client stories at FourFront. It highlights some of the best things about my job: the culture of working as a team and supporting family life, our commitment to client success, the willingness to try new things, and the wisdom to seize a great opportunity to learn and grow.

    Further Reading

    If you’d like to learn more about FGLI issues, visit or read this material from the Washington Post and U.S. Department of Education.

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    About the Author

    Product & UX Strategist

    Ben uses creative problem solving and analytical skill to improve content strategy, information architecture, and usability. Read More »
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