By Spela | Thu, 03/10/2016 - 17:27
Yes, we are website development company. And yes, we are about to shamelessly promote what we do. But, before you sigh deeply and click away, hear us out. We aren’t the only ones who think that your website can be one of your best resources:
- In a post published on Life Hack, writer Susan Baroncini-Moe states that “for most businesses, a website is one of the most important investments you can make.” (We don’t think they sell website development services.)
- Forbes reminds us that “your site’s web design affects your entire internet presence.” Yooza!
- TechSoup Canada’s guest commentator Kelley Jarrett explains that “your nonprofit's website is a tool that should be used to engage, interact with, and mobilize your audience – a tool that should ultimately inspire action.” --We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
See, it’s not just us.
The importance of a functional and easy-to-use website cannot be understated.
Your website helps you attract donors and increase funding:
One of the best ways to get more funding is to attract more donors. To be blunt, attracting more donors and getting more funding is not going to happen if your site lacks great calls to action, is hard to navigate, confusing, or just doesn’t speak to you.
We can’t imagine anything more frustrating than clicking on a “pay now” or “donate now” button and getting an error page. A really committed donor might try one more time, but we’re betting that after the third try, they aren’t going to be very interested.
… Oh, and now that we think about it, there is something worse:
If we're a prospective donor, and we can’t figure out what you do and why we should care from your home page -- that is, if we aren’t inspired -- you’re going to lose us as a potential donor.
Sure, you might get one or two committed donors, but there are a ton more out there who want to give you their money. They just can’t be bothered to navigate a disorganized and un-inspiring website.
If this is your website, don’t worry. It’s ok. It’s not you, it’s the website. And, it can be a relatively simple, if not always cheap (though almost always an excellent economical decision in the long run) to fix.
Now, there are many things you can do to improve (ahem, save) your website. What you tackle first will depend on your particular situation, but, in most cases, our team suggests you start by:
Updating your security settings and making sure that all of your links actually go somewhere.
Check with your developer. Are there updates that need to be done on the back end to make sure that your pages are loading properly. (Nobody likes a site that takes forever to load).
Analyze your website to make sure your conversion path is clear and simple. When you go to make a purchase or sign up for stuff, do you want to jump through hoops?
Your website helps you recruit and retain the best volunteers
Like your donors, your volunteers would like to come to your site and know almost instantly what you do, why they should care, and how they should get involved. Their path to conversion (i.e. non volunteer —> volunteer) should be clear from the onset and simple.
If this isn’t the case (and you’ll know things aren’t working if no-one signs up online or if they constantly call you about the signup form), you will want to start thinking about:
Landing pages. Each landing page should be geared towards the audience group you’re trying reach. Getting this right will require you to work with your web developer, your designer, and your marketing/communications specialist.
Your website can help you find more time:
A healthy website is a magical thing.
Once you implement the strategies above, you’ll notice that you suddenly stop receiving phone calls and emails asking for this person’s contact information and that department’s main page. Wouldn’t it be nice to focus on your work for once and not worry about fielding calls? We thought so.
Oh, and did we mention, when you have a CMS system (you know, that thing you put information into so that it appears on your site), that actually works (i.e has a community of 2 million + developers who are constantly working on improvements, updates, and bug fixes), you will drastically decrease the amount of time you spend maintaining the site. Can anyone say monkey dance?
The thing is, when people can actually find what they are looking for on your website, they will come to you less frustrated and excited to learn more about something they are already interested in.
There are about a gazillion other things you could do, and though this initial list may seem small, each part has many additional components. This isn’t meant to overwhelm you; although, if it does, don’t worry. Feel free to step outside and scream for a moment, or hide in the corner in a fetal-like position. You are not alone.
With a little bit of insight and the right support, however, taking care of your website will be as easy as throwing your hair in a ponytail or putting on your shoes. (If you wear footwear that is excruciatingly difficult to put on, well, there is no hope for you).
If you’re looking for a bit more information, make sure to check out our brand new guide: The Nonprofit’s Guide to Planning a Website.
Need a break down of exactly what's going on with your site? Contact us about a Website Audit.