5 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit or Business Needs a New Website
As a designer, as well as someone who is passionate about many causes in the nonprofit sector, and someone who is a sucker for online shopping, when those worlds collide, it’s not always pretty.
There’s nothing like hearing about or wanting to get more info on a product or cause that really peaks my interest, only to go to their website and find it is either very poorly made, or clearly a million years old. If I really care about the product or cause, I’ll poke around for a few minutes, otherwise, I hate to say it, but I will just automatically click out of the website.
This is the difference between good and bad web design. Good design draws your audience into a compelling story. Bad design repels them—meaning you lose potential fans, ambassadors of your brand/cause, newsletter subscribers, customers/donors, etc.
I know, I know, we aren’t all designers and therefore you may not be as picky as I am; but then how do you know if it’s time for an upgrade or redesign of your website?
Here are five questions to ask yourself or your team in order to find out if it’s time for a new website:
1. IS MY WEBSITE MOBILE FRIENDLY?
Yes ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 21st century—it’s a world in which we are all glued to the “mini computers” we carry in our pockets or purses every day. Today, 52% of all website views worldwide are on a mobile phone. And guess what, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are losing possibly hundreds or even thousands of viewers. We actually use the term “responsive.” In other words, if your website is “responsive,” it adjusts to the screen that it is being displayed on, whether it is a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Your info should display beautifully and clearly on any of these devices.
How do you know if yours is or not? Get on your smartphone, and visit your website. If you find it hard to navigate and read, without having to zoom in and out and scroll back and forth, your website most likely is not mobile friendly. It’s time for an updated website!
2. DOES MY WEBSITE DO WHAT I WANT IT TO DO?
This seems simple, but it’s true. Sometimes we don’t actually think through what exactly we want our website to do for us. It’s not something we just have because everyone says we should, and it doesn’t just exist. It should have a specific purpose.
Identify what the main call to action is on your website, and then evaluate if it is doing it. Is it to make sales? How many customers buy from your site? Is it to grow your email list? How many people have signed up for it recently. Is it to get donors? How many donors come via your website or visit your website? Is it to share information? How often do you update and put quality, well-designed content out?
If your website is not doing any of these things for you, then you are simply wasting time and money. A strong call to action should be prominent on your site within the first few seconds. You may even be getting a lot of leads and people visiting your site, but if they aren’t converting into customers, clients, subscribers, or donors, it’s time to do some re-evaluating.
Starting over with a website redesign gives you a chance to re-identify your goals and get clear on your marketing language, imagery and content flow, to turn leads into conversions.
3. AM I EMBARRASSED TO GIVE OUT OUR WEB ADDRESS?
Yes, sometimes you don’t have to be a designer to know when a website is poorly designed or outdated. You just know. If you are unsure, all you have to do is send out your website address to a few trusted individuals, and ask for their honest feedback. Another surefire way to tell is if you yourself are embarrassed to pass along your web address.
Think about it this way. In the digital age, your website is literally the single most important piece of marketing material you put out there about your nonprofit or company. It tells your story and even evokes certain emotions when people first see it. Don’t let those emotions be frustration, confusion or disgust, due to poor or outdated design.
Investing in good design (combined with well thought out content and marketing verbiage to support it), is always worth it, just like anything else in your nonprofit or business.
4. WHAT COMES UP WHEN I GOOGLE MY NONPROFIT OR BUSINESS NAME OR KEYWORDS?
Have you ever tried Googling your business or nonprofit? What comes up? If your name is very specific and unique, maybe you come up first on the search. That’s great—if people know your name. But what if they don’t? What are the keywords they are searching?
There’s something we call SEO, which means Search Engine Optimization. Basically, there are things you can do to optimize your website for Google or Bing searches. What are the terms people are Googling when looking for your nonprofit or business? Maybe it is “food kitchens in Chicago”, or “pressure cleaners in Glendale”, or “animal shelters that take cats”—whatever it may be, your ultimate goal is to rank high on that list, ideally on the first search page.
Getting a fresh, new website, with all new content will help increase your SEO ranking. A good web designer will know how to help you get the best SEO results. However, it’s not all on the designer. Part of having good SEO, is consistently putting out new content and updating your website, which brings us to our last point.
5. DO I KNOW HOW TO EDIT AND ADD NEW CONTENT TO MY SITE? IS IS EASY OR FRUSTRATING?
Friend, if the thought of adding content or editing something on your site gives you legit PTSD, it is time for a new site! There are so many platforms these days that make it incredibly easy for even non designers to maintain. Your website should be a living thing, constantly putting out content, getting facelifts and engaging with your audience. Consistent content, using your specific keywords, also will help increase your SEO.
You have a lot to offer the world and your devoted followers. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use your website to do this. Whether it is you yourself, or someone on your team, you need a website that is easy to edit and update.
Pro tip: Blogging is an excellent way to increase your SEO.
Did you find yourself in any of the scenarios above? Even if only one of them applies to you, then friend, it is time for a new site. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task, in fact, it the long run, it will make your life a lot easier. It’s also a good chance to refresh and create a consistent brand, clean up your marketing and go further than you’ve ever gone! A well designed, easy to navigate, clear, concise website is a powerful tool to have in your toolbox. Don’t miss out on it!
(Need help creating a brand new site for your small business or nonprofit? I can help you!)