When you first created your non-profit website, you really believed that things would work. But now, just a few years later, you’re looking at the clip art graphics and the 1990s background and thinking, “This really isn’t retro chic”. And as you’ve watched other nonprofits roll out amazing websites to great success, you’ve been thinking very seriously about giving your site a makeover.
Or maybe that’s not quite your problem. Maybe your site looks decent, but between the slow load times and the server errors, you’re not surprised that people have taken to dropping off their cheques in person.
Whether you’ve got a ton of website design ideas in the back of your head or you have no idea where to start, we’ve got your back. Read more to find out how you can get the ball rolling on your non-profit website redesign.
Table of Contents
The 2 Questions Every NonProfit Should Ask Before a Website Redesign
1. Do I Need a Redesign?
Be honest here!
Is your site prone to lagging? Is your donation page six clicks and a scroll away from the homepage? If you recognize your site in any of these boy-do-you-need-a-new-website scenarios, chances are that you need an overhaul. But there’s a simpler way to tell if your site is redesign-ready:
Have you ever had to hire an employee? If so, you know that if you had a candidate casually stroll in late while wearing insanely wrinkled clothing, that person would probably need to have a once-in-a-lifetime resume just to not be disqualified.
In many regards, your website is the first impression that people get of your organization. If your site screams, “We aren’t ready for prime time!” or “We haven’t really thought this through!”, your entire digital marketing strategy could be at risk.
2. What Do I Need the Website to Do?
Remember American Idol’s early auditions? It was always really surprising how so many aspiring idols looked like pop stars only to be completely unable to do the ONE job that was expected of American Idols: being able to SING well.
And similarly, there are a shocking number of non-profit websites that are best described as “All flash and no substance.”. These are websites that technically look fantastic, but they’ve got a fatal flaw that makes the site a less-than-ideal asset to your organization.
Maybe you’re using the site to draw in donors, but the payment processor page is messed up and has been for months. Or maybe people are going to your website for project updates, but because you’re unable to update your blog, you’ve got to engage in a lot of elaborate workarounds to get anything done.
The last thing you want is to partner with a website design service only to learn the hard way that you really did need that feature you passed on. That’s why it’s really essential that you have a solid understanding of how your site will likely be used.
Planning and Executing Your Redesign
So you’ve gone through our short questionnaire and said, “Yep. We definitely need to get our site updated.” Now It’s time to start working towards building your dream website!
Here are some of our best tips to get started:
1. Do a Website Audit
How many times have you walked away from a site thinking, “I wish they would have changed all of these annoying features”?
Maybe the checkout cart was way too slow to respond. Or perhaps the popups and ads were so intrusive that you made note of the URL specifically because you don’t want to end up revisiting that site by accident.
Chances are that if you spend a couple of minutes clicking through your website, you’ll probably be able to find at least a few quirks that make you think, “I can’t imagine that our supporters are enjoying this”.
Is your website difficult to navigate? Are your important pages tucked away in a less visible part of the site?
These are the types of questions that you’ll need to ask yourself as you put together your redesign plan!
2. Think About Your Current and Future Content Needs
Landing pages are a digital marketing tool that has been known to deliver dazzling results for marketing teams in a number of sectors. But if you opt for a single-page site, to name a more extreme example, it won’t matter how much you want to A/B test your headlines. You’ll still need to create another site.
With Apple now giving its users a choice when it comes to ad tracking, nonprofit marketers need to be more precise and more targeted when it comes to their content.
Because your digital marketing strategy can have such an extreme effect on your content needs, you’ll want to make it a priority to think very deeply about the capabilities that you’ll need your new and improved website to have.
3. Carefully Evaluate Your Theme
We’ll let you in on a little secret!
Web designers rarely ever create new sites from scratch (Gasp!).
Most of the time, we’re able to start with templates, called themes, that act as the foundational building block for the rest of the site. Here are the features that you’ll want to look out for:
1. You Want Your Site to Be Mobile-Friendly
According to Tech Jury, 54.25 percent of all web traffic in 2021 was mobile traffic. Even though this might seem a bit counterintuitive if you use a desktop or a laptop for work, these numbers do make sense. After all, browsing the web during lunch hour or while waiting for an appointment is just what people do these days.
Imagine you’re hanging out on Instagram or Twitter and you suddenly see this awesome non-profit in your feed. You click over on your phone intending to check it out only to realize that you can’t navigate because the site was built on a desktop and only works with desktops.
On a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to remember that you had intended to check the website out?
Mobile web browsers are expected to continue growing as a traffic source. If you want people to give your site a chance, you’ll have to invest in a theme that reads just as well on mobile as it does on desktop.
2. You Want to Choose a Theme That’s Clean and Intuitive
It seems like everyone and their mother is imitating the Apple aesthetic when it comes to their websites. You know what we’re talking about. That super-clean and insanely minimalist look that prompts people to say things like, “It looks so chic and modern!”.
For many modern internet users, clean and uncluttered websites aren’t just strongly preferred – they’re the current professional expectation. When people visit your website, they don’t want to feel like mice in a lab maze. A well-chosen theme will make it possible for your visitors to find what they’re looking for with minimal stress and fuss.
3. You Need to Pick a Theme That Fits Your Image
SmallBizGenius once reported that a consistent brand presentation can drive up a company’s revenue by up to 23 percent. We don’t know about you, but if making a couple of simple changes could drive up fundraising dollars by almost a quarter, we’d be all over it.
BUT here’s the thing:
It’s possible to create an objectively fantastic website that is 100 percent wrong for your non-profit organization. After all, if you’re a non-profit that’s active in the arts, for example, maybe that avant-garde experimental look is exactly what the doctor ordered. But if you’re a subsidiary of an operation like the UN, maybe a more somber tone is a better fit for what your website needs.
Some of this may be less about the theme and more about your choice of colours and images. But your overall branding is still important to keep in mind when you’re making choices for your site.
Want a Non-profit Website That Gets Results? Call Us!
For many nonprofits, their websites are just there and existing.
And it’s not until leadership teams sit down and say, “Wait a minute, we can do more with our site!” that the necessary work of improving your design is able to happen.
Your nonprofit website is your calling card! You don’t want to be making a less-than-excellent first impression with people. But at the same time, total site redesigns take a lot of time and planning to pull off well.
We’ve been designing non-profit websites since 2001. You can count on us to deliver a fabulous site that’s built with the needs of your organization in mind.
Book an appointment with us today!