If you are in the process of planning to redesign your organization’s website, we have 37 tips and best practices for you to check out. Last week I had the opportunity to co-present on the panel 37 Must-Have Strategies to Better Engage Your Website Visitors at the annual Bridge Conference in Washington, DC. During the panel, Sue Anne Reed of the Engage Group, Rob Manix of Defenders of Wildlife and I spent 90 minutes talking to a packed room of nonprofits. Here are some of the key highlights from our panel.
Make Sure Your Web Visitors Know Where You Want Them To Go
- Have a clear and intuitive navigation structure and path on your website that directs visitors to the information that they are looking for and make it easy to find.
- Your website architecture should also direct people to your immediate goals and priorities.
- If you are an advocacy organization, you will want your latest actions front and center, and give people ways to easily get involved in your campaigns.
- Make your donate page super easy. In the navigation have a prominent donate button. You can achieve this by having to be a different color from the rest of your navigation. You should also add a donate callout box on your homepage that visually stands out and prompts people to donate. Furthermore, it’s critical that you provide options for people to donate money to your organization such as through monthly giving, corporate giving, planned giving, donating by mail or phone, etc.
Have the Most Important Information Above The Fold
- Your homage should have a proper hierarchy. What is the most important information that you want people visiting your website to see and focus on first?
- While people are used to scrolling you don’t want to clutter your homepage with unnecessary information just to please everyone in your organization. Example: You would never want to put your main call to donate at the bottom of the website.
Don’t Rely On Flash
Tell Compelling Stories
In fundraising, we have tested that if you tell personal stories in your fundraising appeals, you will raise more money because people are ruled by their emotions. The same holds true for websites. Web visitors want to see how your organization is making an impact on someone’s life or an animal’s life. Stories inspire people and motivate them to take action.
Find Ways to Tell Stories
- You have access to the greatest stories – the people your organization serves on the ground, your members, volunteers, donors, etc. Capture those stories and start telling them throughout your website.
- Like we discussed in the Frogloop blog post 10 Ways To Reveal Your Organization's Best Stories, consider framing your story in a fairy tale structure. Who is the villain, who is the victim, who is the hero, what is the quest, what are the setbacks, what are the obstacles, what are your victories?
- Answer this question: Why does our organization continue to exist. And don’t answer the question with your mission statement. Dig deeper. You will find stories by answering this question.