Day One

Nationally each year, approximately 2.3 million people are raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. In the state of Minnesota, Cornerstone works tirelessly to help these victims become survivors. Day One is Cornerstone’s crisis hotline that connects victims to shelters with open beds.

In order to better serve those in crisis, Cornerstone determined that it needed to redesign the Day One website with the overarching goal of removing the barriers to getting help. Cornerstone chose my former agency Union Park for the task. Read about the data-driven approach I took as the lead on this engagement in the following content strategy case study.


We conducted a thorough audit of the Day One website and discovered that it had not been optimized for search engines. 64% of the organic traffic was coming from branded terms, which meant that most of the people finding the site did so because they were looking for Day One.

The site had a bounce rate of 52% which meant that more than half of the site’s visitors were leaving without any interaction. The mobile bounce rate was 62% which indicated the site was not optimized for mobile devises. Most critically, the crisis hotline was not enabled as a click to call for mobile phones.


Through our proprietary Topic Mapping™ process we learned that many people were searching for content to help them understand the nature of their relationships, to validate if they were a victim of abuse and to understand how to protect themselves as they seek help. In fact this content was searched far more than specific searches for shelters or crisis hotlines.


Working under the premise that we could begin helping as soon as a person landed on the site, we added 30 pages of educational content on domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and how to safely get help.


We made sure the design resonated, the organization of content was intuitive and that the site was optimized for search engines and mobile devices.


The number of people being helped by Cornerstone’s Day One program has grown exponentially. Site visitors are getting the information they need to assess their situation, make informed decisions and protect themselves.

  • Visits from organic search – up 46%
  • Overall Bounce Rate – dropped from 52% to 10% 
  • Mobile Bounce Rate –  dropped from 62% to 5%
  • Pageviews – increased 204% from 2051 to 6225
  • 6 of top 10 pages with the most pageviews are educational with “ what is emotional abuse” and “what is verbal abuse” being the 3rd and 4th most viewed pages on the site

For those accessing the site on a mobile phone – help is now only 1 click away.

“The team critically listened to our audiences’ needs and the key messages we wished to convey and then identified what was most important with their research. Throughout the whole process they created a partnership with us to ensure that we would receive the results we were seeking.

It was so important to us that victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking could easily find our site and get the help they were searching for immediately. They were able to give us such a site. As a result, traffic dramatically increased, bounce rates are down and page views are up as visitors are pouring through the new content which addresses their most pressing questions and concerns.”

– Colleen Schmitt, Director of Day One

Learn more about my data-driven approach to content strategy or click below to find out how I can help you get your website better aligned with your customer’s content needs.