Nonprofit Marketing: Selecting the Best Website Platform

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Nonprofits are faced with the challenge of communicating large amounts of information yet still providing a simple, user friendly experience. No need to worry though, we have outlined everything nonprofits should be asking when selecting the perfect website design.

 Original article from Nonprofit Marketing Community

 

Start with your goals and requirements

Communicating your organization’s mission and vision is crucial in order to properly understand the role your website plays. Our digital marketing partner, Tapp Network has provided a "website design questionnaire" so that nonprofits can get started outlining how they want to craft the look, feel and message they want their website to communicate.  

  • Provide the official name of your company – this will be included as part of the title tag and search engine description as well.
  • State your tagline:
  • State your mission:
  • Include your corporate colors or other identifying assets such as any logo, color pallet, etc.  If you do not currently have these, please tell us what colors you would hope to see in a logo and branding. This can be as simple as “blues and greens” or as specific as color codes. For a good basic guide, please see this article (http://entrepreneur.com/article/232401)
  • List 5-10 sites that you like for design look and feel. These do not need to be in the same industry, but these give us a good idea of the “style” of design you are looking to accomplish.
  • List 5-10 sites that are your competitors or in the same industry, that accomplish a similar goal as your site
  • Provide examples of elements you would wish to see on your site such as “Large homepage slider”, “Parallax Effect”, “Large images of Clients”, “Video”, etc
  • Do you want to use a single layer or drop down navigation structure?
  • Please provide a very basic sitemap – this can be top-level only.
  • Please include any other instructions you feel we need in creating the website and logo (if applicable).

Once you've completed the outline, start asking yourself what specific outcomes you’d like to see as a result of your website project, and why those outcomes matter to your organization.

Here are some examples to help you get started:

  1. Within 6 months of launching our website, I would like to see a 100% increase in traffic coming from social media. This is important because we do not have enough awareness to recruit sufficient volunteers for our programs.
  2. Within 30 days of launching our website, I would like to see visitors spending an average of 50% longer on our resource pages. This is important because it indicates that visitors are receiving more help from our information.
  3. Immediately after launching our website, I would like to see our staff spending 20% less time on website administrative tasks. This is important because we need to be spending more time on other critical projects that have been neglected this year.

After that, think about the specific features you might need on your website to achieve those goals. This will form a list of practical requirements you can use to evaluate your website platform options.

Here’s some example website requirements for the outcomes I provided earlier:

  1. Every article on our site must have social media sharing buttons on the top and bottom of the page, and have the ability to include tweetable quotes in the middle of the article.
  2. Each resource page must have a sidebar menu containing other resource options, and a next/previous link at the bottom of each page to direct the reader to another piece of content they should read.
  3. Our staff must be able to paste website content from Word with minimal formatting needed, because we are spending an average of 10 minutes per page resolving formatting issues.

Your list of requirements will be longer and more detailed than your goals, and you may need to list 2-3 (or more) requirements per goal.

As much as possible, try to be specific with your requirements. Subjective phrases like “easy to use” or “edgy design” are often vague, difficult to evaluate, and should be used sparingly.

As you jot down your ideas, you will find your thoughts assembling into a hierarchy of needs. Certain things will stand out to you as mission-critical, while others will simply be “nice to have” or not useful at all.

When you are done, go through your notes and prioritize your list of goals and requirements for your website. Put the most-important aspects at the top and the could-live-withouts near the bottom.

Your hierarchy of needs will form a framework in which you can assess your various options in the website platform market. This keeps you thinking clearly when you’re being persuaded by the pretty sales page for a website platform that doesn’t meet one of your core needs!

Is your nonprofit looking to refresh your marketing strategy?

Nonprofit inbound marketing assessment

View the original article from Nonprofit Marketing Community   Featured Image Courtesty of iStockPhoto/macrovector

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