A website is an essential tool for any charity looking to grow; but developing a new website for a non-profit / charity can be a minefield, especially for leaders who haven’t been through a website build before. To make sure your website is effective, and to avoid throwing money down the drain unnecessarily, check out these 5 top tips.
1. Consider an off-the-shelf Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is the interface you use to update a website, and it should be easy to use so you can easily update the website yourself. As well as being able to update content, you should be looking for a website with the most amount of flexibility possible.
For example, as you grow, you will probably want to easily change things such as the menus, change the way your contact form works, or add functionality to your site. If the site has all been custom-coded, you might find this tricky – and you could find yourself tied into using the original developer only, who knows it would be hard for you to go elsewhere. This can cost serious money.
If you choose an off-the-shelf CMS system such as WordPress, however, you will be able to work with any WordPress-skilled developer (of which there are many). Even so, ask your developer to make sure that as much of the website is easily editable by yourself as possible. This will stop you from having to pay for further development fees whenever you want to make small tweaks to your site.
2. Clarify your message
Don’t leave content creation until the end – make sure that you establish your key messages at the start of the process, and that the website is built in such as way that it can support them to come across clearly. Put your key messages into a hierarchy, and use this alongside an analysis of your audience to structure your website (especially its main menu). You can learn more about clarifying your message in this blog post.
3. Turn visitors into contacts
The majority of people will visit your website and then move on. That’s just the nature of the internet. However, you should be aiming to build an ongoing relationship with as many of your visitors as possible. There are a few ways you can do this. Here are some suggestions:
- Invite them to join your mailing list, through a pop-up or side slider. GDPR regulations have made data like this slightly more complicated to use, but it is absolutely possible to still make good use of e-mail lists completely legally as long as you have consent.
- Include links to social media pages wherever possible. You should cover at least the most common sites in order to achieve higher audience numbers, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Make sure to invite people who support your cause – e.g. through a donation or a petition – to keep in touch. Offer them a range of options to do so.
4. Make supporting easy
Even people who want to support you will look for the most convenient way to do so, so offer them a range of options.
Some might be looking to make a donation, others might want to donate time. Some might want to show solidarity with your cause through a petition, whereas others might simply want to share your message on social media. Make a list of the different potential ways that people can support you, and have a clear call-to-action on the page enabling them to find a way that suits them.
5. Prepare it for social sharing
You should be aiming to create content that people want to share – so make sure it displays well on social media. You should ask your developer to make every page look good when shared. This means including code that sets the social media title and description for every page, as well as the image that appears when the link is shared. This can be quite time-consuming, but it is worth it as your content starts to spread virally.
Like to know more about building a website that will help your non-profit to grow? Contact us to schedule a chat about your goals and how we could help you achieve them.