03 Jul Is your website ready for fall?
Organizations, for the most part, understand the importance and alum of a website. Most realize that their website is like the front door of a store or church. And everyone wants a website that looks good, is clean, inviting – and most important – easy to access.
However, websites are also like shoes. Yes, shoes! We get a new pair and we protect them with our lives. Suddenly the most important part of our day becomes dodging puddles and taking the long way around to avoid walking in damp grass. You may not have realized but websites are similar. We love when we get to create, rebrand, redesign and launch a new website. But just like that pair of shoes, inevitably the site gets old, outdated, out of style and before we realize it, no one likes the site anymore. No one smiles when they see it. There are no more ohhhs and ahhhs. No more staring. No more coveting those precious Jordans… I mean that precious website.
The point here is not that you should buy new shoes today. However, you probably should take about 10 minutes and give your site The Timothy Group Fundraising Audit. 10 questions to evaluate your site in 10 minutes. Let’s dive in.
1. That important button. Is the placement, size and obvious-ness of your DONATE or GIVE button the best possible location? Can people easily access giving to your organization? Too often we see donate buttons hidden at the bottom of homepages or buried four or five clicks into a site. Rule of thumb, it should only take one click to allow me to give from your homepage.
2. Updates. When was the last time you updated your site template? Websites are not like fine wines or even classic Jordans – they do not get better with age. Your site should be updated, even with a template facelift every 18-24 months.
3. Team Page. Does the ‘About Us’ or ‘Team’ page reflect the current staff? It is so frustrating to land on a team page only to find that the person listed is no longer employed with the organization. Or worse yet, trying to find someone you know works there but is not listed on the employee page. Finding your team members should not be a mystery or a guessing game for site visitors. Remember, when asked why they gave, the most common answer is because of the person that asked. Getting the right people on your site is the first step in gaining trust with your supporters.
4. Fonts! Yes, Times New Roman is a great font and it was a great font when Word Processor was the only writing software available. One of the easiest changes to make on a website with the least amount of work is updating your font for a modern and trendy look. Most back-end hosts allow you to push a font change out to the entire site with one click. Go ahead, implement that new font today.
5. Photo Quality. Let’s go back to the shoes for a moment. You’ve just purchased a sweet new pair of your favorite brand of shoes! They look good, smell good and they have you feeling invincible. Yet, when you put them on, the laces won’t stay tied. You think nothing of it and proceed to go about your day but every time you look down the laces are untied again. It becomes a nagging and annoying issue and eventually you will stop wearing the shoes. Having a nice site is like that. You have a clear organizational vision on display and creative content in all the right places, but you have low quality photo images everywhere you look. With numerous sites like Shutterstock and even Adobe images, there is no excuse to have poor image quality on your site. Low quality images result in low organizational equity from site visitors.
6. Menu Vs Map. When someone lands on your site, one of two things happen. They click around, as they see fit until they find the desired information they are looking for – similar to looking at a restaurant menu. Or the other option is the map option. The visitor is guided through what you, the organization, have laid out for them to see, experience and remember. Menus are great when you’re hungry and looking for something specific, but maps guide people to an intended goal. Your website should not look the menu from The Cheesecake Factory. Guide your visitors through the curated as the most important and critical values that you and your team have identified.
7. Goals. We hear about goals for every facet of life and your website is no different. Organizations that have goals for their websites most often have the best results with their sites. Have site visit goals, time on page goals, click goals, and even newsletter sign up goals. A website without goals looks like a closet without shoes, sure the closet still exists and is serving a purpose but it’s empty and not fulfilling its designed purpose.
8. Mobile. This one is straight forward and simple; your website MUST be mobile friendly. Nearly half of all website visits and nearly 32% of all donations to non-profits come through mobile devices. Are you willing to miss 1/3 of all your donations this year? Mobile is a must.
9. Copy. Website must look relevant and be user-friendly. However, a great looking site is not complete without the right words to capture your audience. And in the non-profit world this is even more important. Too many times we have witnessed a passionate, engaging leader who starts a non-profit or leads a rescue mission or even leads a Christian school who simply misunderstand their skill set. Just because you are the leader with great passion does not mean you should be the one writing on your site. Writing is a skill, a craft that is honed. There are people who earn their entire living writing for websites. Let me save you the time – you should almost always hire a writer to craft your copy content, at the very least a sharp editor. Passion does not translate directly to writing talent. A great looking, highly motivating website has the look complete with the copy to reinforce that look.
10. Vision. That’s right, we are going to end with what should come first – VISION. Your website, like any other tool or experience that your organization offers is rooted in the overall vision. Sites that lack vision are usually accompanied by organizations that lack the same. Your site is an extension of your vision. Your organization must have a crystal-clear picture of the future (vision) and the know-how to accomplish it (mission). And your website is simply an extension, a really important extension of that mission and vision. If you don’t have the right vision, you cannot have the right website.
So what’s next? Grab a spot at your favorite coffee shop, throw on your headphones and ask these questions of your site. Summer is a great time to execute this audit. Fall is coming. Get your site ready to attract and keep the audience you are looking for.
The audit is only the first step. To learn more about how The Timothy Group can help, click HERE to schedule a free website audit with a consultant today.