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Visit Buffalo Niagara | Website

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Website Enhancements

Visit Buffalo Niagara | Website

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Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) had launched a new website prior to the pandemic with the help of Madden Media. Over time, the site continued to grow through a process known as ‘growth-driven design’ with iterative updates and changes being made to the site. In early 2022, VBN conducted an asset audit and decided it was time to bring a fresh look and feel to the site.

As the city continued its renaissance with new hotels, attractions, and more opening in 2023, we wanted to ensure that the website reflected the same energy as 2023 was looking like it would be a crucial time for the city–and it was exactly what we expected. With VBN welcoming a new state-of-the-art arts museum, they continued monitoring the growth of the city and found themselves ready to reintroduce international travelers following the pandemic. It was time to elevate the destination website to reflect the inspiring future that Buffalo offers.

On the previous version of the site, much of the real estate on the homepage was dedicated to directing users to categories of business listings. We know that VBN has countless rich stories to share with visitors, yet on the old site, they were buried in second and third-level pages. On the updated site, VBN and Madden worked to elevate these stories to serve inspirational content to site visitors right from the start.


We collaborated with the VBN team to streamline navigation, craft a dynamic and interactive layout, produce creative assets that celebrated diversity, and develop a rich storytelling library. By leveraging Madden’s marketing-driven website philosophy, rather than building a site, letting it sit without change for years, and then starting from scratch, VBN and Madden work consistently to make incremental updates and improvements through development ‘sprints’ that allow for flexibility to fit the changing needs of the DMO.

All of the work to update the new was completed during these ‘sprints’ and a plan was established to convert the site to the new, modern look beginning with the homepage redesign, followed by top-level navigation pages, and trickling down throughout the rest of the site. We worked together to bring elements of movement and animation into the site, creating an inviting and interactive experience for users. Brand palettes were expanded to introduce new fonts that reflected the spirit of Buffalo. We worked closely with VBN’s team to establish style guides that helped to inform all levels of pages on the site with a goal of consistent look and feel throughout. This would help to elevate VBN’s outstanding content, both in written and visual form, to provide true inspiration for potential visitors to the destination.

The new layout of the site stretches across audiences, reaching both leisure travelers as well as meeting and sports planners, travel trade, and more. For all of these audiences, the focus was put on telling the destination story at the forefront rather than pushing business listings. New headline text treatments, animations, and graphics also help to capture the spirit of the destination and keep visitors engaged throughout the website.

The enhanced website accomplishes the following design and layout goals that were set forth by the VBN and Madden teams:

  • A more modern navigation that properly adapts to accommodate mobile devices. The navigation structure allows for clear and easy use no matter what browser type you are working with.
  • Clean layout that emphasizes inspirational content, while not negating partner listings. In addition, listing and event layouts and detail pages received a facelift to align with the more modern feel.
  • Better organization and categorization of content. Rather than many rows of tiles used to highlight stories throughout the site, alternate structures such as horizontal swipes were implemented to help diversify page content. Engagement on these interactive elements has proven successful as it blends an intuitive motion of swiping on mobile devices.
  • Increase impressions and clicks by adding more opportunities for users to engage with stories on various levels throughout the site.

In addition to visual updates site-wide, a close partnership with Madden’s SEO experts was maintained throughout the site redesign process to ensure that we were maximizing Buffalo’s presence on platforms such as Google–keeping keywords, images tags, etc. in mind for maximum performance. The following content goals were set and accomplished by the teams as well:

  • Both existing and new content was written with SEO best practices while still telling the Buffalo story.
  • Create SEO-rich content that increases visitor traffic. This includes key SEO adjustments to back-end structures as well.
  • In writing new content, an emphasis was put on Buffalo’s content pillars, including a larger focus on the various unique neighborhoods through the county.
  • Increase Meetings and Sports industry engagement through custom-written stories housed on interactive landing pages.
  • Reintegrate a hub for all blog posts and stories on the site to improve SEO value of these content pieces.
  • Develop “snackable” content features for site visitors to explore that highlight hidden gems of Buffalo through content sections such as “Five to Try,” “Currently Obsessed With,” and “Neighborhoods at a Glance: Sip, Shop, and Savor.”


As the enhancements were implemented onto, the website generated better results.

Visit Buffalo Niagara | Website
Visit Buffalo Niagara | Website


To increase the website’s average time on page, we created new content tailored to the specific interest of their intent-based audiences. For example, we created a “48 Hours in Buffalo” immersive story from the perspective of someone taking a weekend trip to Buffalo, highlighting the different stores, restaurants, and the attractions the city offers.

To improve site engagement, we developed interactive tools to help users plan their trip. We created a planner for meeting and events coordinators that enabled them to identify destination experiences their attendees could visit. The tool allowed them to build a custom itinerary that exported to a shareable, unique URL and an interactive destination map with their chosen experience marked.

Most importantly, we executed these updates in a flexible and affordable way, perfectly tailored to Visit Buffalo Niagara’s needs.

Visit Buffalo Niagara | Website


We updated the home of the Buffalo Wing Trail and gave it a new and prominent placement on the homepage of the site

The addition of the “Five to Try” content hub showcases must-see recommendations penned by local community members.

The “Currently Obsessed With” list highlights hidden gems throughout Buffalo that are loved by the VBN staff.

Visit Buffalo Niagara | Website