By Madison Sweet
Your organization is doing great work – but does anyone know about it?
In today’s digital age, your website is a crucial tool for communicating with key stakeholders. It can help potential clients discover your services, attract new volunteers, and motivate donors.
At the same time, many non-profits find website development and design to be a daunting task. But creating a website doesn’t have to be intimidating!
We sat down with web expert David Pisarek of Wow Digital Inc. to learn how non-profits can build a high-performing website. Read on for David’s top tips for a website that will move you closer towards achieving your mission.
1. Don’t Shy Away from Analytics
What gets measured gets managed. Unfortunately, many non-profits shy away from using analytics to improve their website. Website analytics can answer important questions about your online presence, such as:
- How many people are visiting your site?
- What pages receive the most views?
- What percentage of visitors end up making a purchase or subscribing to your newsletter?
This data can provide helpful insight on how to improve the user experience and increase online engagement. If you don’t have a web analytics software already, you can create a Google Analytics account for free.
2. Stand Out with Storytelling
A memorable story that pulls at the heartstrings is one of the best ways to captivate a visitor on your website. Yet it’s also one of the most common things that non-profits overlook.
Meaningful stories about your clients, donors, and employees can all evoke an emotional response. However, a non-profit’s origin story is especially important. Explaining how your organization started is essential in building a strong brand. It helps bring clarity to what you do, why you do it, and who you seek to serve. No matter how established your non-profit may be, a compelling origin story is essential for an effective website.
3. Create a Clear Call to Action
Whether it’s a request to donate, volunteer, or subscribe, a visitor is more likely to take action when they feel connected to your cause. Don’t miss out on this opportunity – ensure that your call to action is clearly defined and stands out on your website. Storytelling, as mentioned earlier, provides the perfect leeway for posing a call to action.
4. Keep Your Language Simple
It’s important that your website uses language that’s as accessible as possible. Avoid using terminology and acronyms that are unfamiliar to the average person (this can be especially relevant to health and science-based non-profits). Instead, use plain and simple language to keep visitors engaged and improve search engine results.
Try using a readability application, such as Hemingway Editor, to test out if your writing is clear and concise.
5. Embed Accessibility with WCAG 2.0
Ensuring your website is accessible requires a lot more than just clear language. For guidance on creating a website that’s accessible to people with disabilities, look to WCAG 2.0. It’s an internationally accepted standard for web accessibility developed by the World Wide Web Consortium.
As of January 2021, all public websites and web content are required to meet to WCAG 2.0 Level AA in Ontario (with some exceptions).
6. Determine What is Homepage-Worthy
In the non-profit sector, cluttered homepages are all too common. While you may want to show off every single one of your programs on the homepage, this often leaves visitors feeling overwhelmed.
Take a step back and consider, what is the most important content for a visitor to see first? What kind of content will draw people in? (Hint: storytelling is a great idea here). To understand what is (and isn’t) worthy of the homepage, create a hierarchal list of content.
7. Categorize Your Content
You may find that random website additions made over time have produced a disorganized jumble of content. To combat this, try sorting through your content and sorting it into several key categories. This will help visitors navigate your website more easily.
Need some extra inspiration? Check out the websites of organizations that are like your own. Consider what aspects you like and dislike, and determine ways to draw inspiration for use in your own format.
Creating an effective website doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. From analytics, to content, to design – there are many practical ways you can improve your non-profit’s website today.