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Canada's Largest Botanical Garden Digitally Blooms

A tbk Case Study

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) needed a welcoming, easy-to-navigate website where people wouldn’t get lost. They wanted their website to be as aesthetically pleasing and user friendly as its impressive gardens are.

How did Canada’s largest botanical garden beautify its website while improving the visitor experience—both online and onsite?

Designing a beautiful and accessible website required help from tbk. Our marketing agency has sophisticated understanding of online growth strategies, complementing RBG’s understanding of growth in the natural world.

~600,000

new users

~10%

increase in new users from organic traffic

~12%

increase in average session duration

~6%

decreased bounce rate

About Royal Botanical Gardens 

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is a registered charity that is revered worldwide for its extensive display gardens, scenic trails, wildlife, and horticultural collections—including the world’s largest lilac collection. 

For over 80 years, RBG has been awakening people to the beauty, diversity, and necessity of plants, promoting environmental stewardship through education and conservation. RBG protects and preserves 2,700 acres of land, improving the ecosystem from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment. It is a National Historic Site of Canada and part of an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. 

Planting Seeds of Growth 

After evaluating several web developers as part of a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP), RBG chose tbk as the best choice for its website modernization project. 

RBG wanted a picture-perfect website to attract more visitors, members, and donations. They needed a user-friendly experience for their marketing team to easily update and promote upcoming and recurring events. 

The old RBG website was very slow to load, which was especially problematic when people were planning their trip. Since RBG’s gardens are so expansive, many people relied on their cellphone to navigate it, so they needed exceptionally fast page loads.

tbk’s seasoned team knew the exact strategy to grow RBG’s website presence.

tbk Services Provided:

  • Custom E-Commerce WordPress Website
  • User Experience Consulting 
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Web Accessibility

Near Zero Load Time

tbk acted as a trusted guide throughout the website project, drawing on our deep-rooted UI/UX experience to walk the RBG team through the customer journey. The new WordPress site was designed with strategic mobile-first thinking and requires nearly zero load time, helping increase page speed while improving SEO and user experience.

Attracting Visitors by Leading the Way

To assist with wayfinding, tbk built multiple mega menus (including a side navigation and bottom navigation). The dynamic top navigation can be organized by attraction, experience, and season. A custom-coded event calendar makes it simple to see what’s going on at RBG throughout the year.

The new site includes e-commerce functionality where people can buy or renew their membership and/or donate to the gardens. It showcases an in-depth FAQ section, volunteer and career opportunities, and a sustainability page with environmental performance highlights such as greenhouse gas reduction, water consumption, waste diversion numbers.

Proper Tracking to Stay on Track

tbk has a well-earned reputation of being thorough. We launched the new RBG website with all necessary tagging and conversion tracking goals in place to monitor website performance over time.

In a year-over-year comparison, people are spending more time on the RBG website:

  • Average session duration increased over 12%
  • Pages per session increased almost 11%
  • Bounce rate decreased by over 5.5%

The website is also seeing many new visitors (almost 600,000) with new users from organic traffic up nearly 10%—all despite a global pandemic.

The Royal Treatment

RBG is the only botanical garden in Canada with the right to use “Royal” in its name. tbk ensured their new website got the royal treatment, rolling out the red carpet to visitors for the best possible experience—online and onsite.

tbk provided hands-on service that resulted in a beautiful and impactful final product.

“The complete redesign and rebrand of Royal Botanical Gardens’ website was integral to improving our visitor experience. tbk’s detailed workplan addressed the multifaceted priorities of a botanical garden and tourist destination. The new rbg.ca boasts vastly improved navigation and a colourful new design that allows our diverse audience to find what they need, when they need it, and tailor a unique experience from all that RBG has to offer. tbk provided hands-on service that resulted in a beautiful and impactful final product.”

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Melissa McInerney Headshot

Melissa McInerney

CEO