5 WAYS NONPROFITS CAN IMPROVE THEIR WEBSITES
We’re living in a digital age where websites are crucial. There is no better way to spread your message than a carefully curated nonprofit website design that engages your target audience.
At Insquired, we recognize that websites catering to nonprofit organizations can be hard to get right. The goal is to create a presence for you which maximizes your ability to gain advocacy for your cause, volunteerism, and solicit critical donations. With that in mind, here are five key considerations as you build your new website or refresh an existing one.
You know what the purpose of your nonprofit is, now you need to make sure your message is clear for others. Your mission statement should be prominently placed on your nonprofit website design and easily convey why your organization exists, how you are working to accomplish your objectives, and what your core values are. These are the biggest elements in an effective mission statement, and they all must be included to make the biggest impact.
Your mission statement should be well thought out, but it doesn’t have to be the next great American novel. Keep it simple and brief. A great example is the mission statement from the United Way. Their mission statement is, “United Way improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.” It’s short, descriptive, and effective all in one.
Speaking of content, your SEO ranks depend on the quality of content you’re posting. The more relevant your content is, the faster Google and your audience will find it. Define a clear intention for each post; what is it trying to accomplish? Consider your audience, use simple language, and stay on topic. Your blog and social media profiles are great places to share meaningful stories that make a personal connection.
Your content should be informative but easily digestible, and engaging for all members of your audience, which includes potential and existing donors, other nonprofits, and the general public who know nothing about your organization.
No matter where you’re posting, keep things simple to create the best user experience. Avoid complicated navigation or big blocks of text that no one has the patience to read through. Incorporating visuals like photos, videos, data visualizations, or infographics is a great way to break up text and engage readers.
More words mean more keyword ranking opportunities, but again, don’t sacrifice audience engagement for the sake of search engines. If your visitors find the information valuable, they’re more likely to stay on your site. If not, you’ll lose them.
CALL TO ACTION BUTTONS:
Help Google understand your pages and overall website by using on-page elements. “On-page” means they happen directly on your website and impact Google’s understanding of your content as it crawls your website pages.
On-page SEO factors are those that are visible to your audience, so they also impact how users understand your pages. Sprinkling keywords throughout your content is essential, but there are a few more effective ways you can make your content really pack a punch for search engines.
Headings: Titles and subheadings help structure and organize your writing, but they also serve as a helpful cue to search engines by communicating the value of your content. Search engines recognize keywords in headings as being important, so be sure to use them here if you can.
ALT Text: Google can’t see images, so explaining what an image is about by using concise and descriptive alternative text, or ALT text, tells search engines what the image includes or represents. ALT text is another great area to incorporate keywords.
Internal Linking: Find opportunities throughout your content to link to your other pages. This helps users discover new content on your site, keep them on your site longer, and shows relevancy to Google. These links help to build page and topic authority on the content topic while improving site navigation to relevant topics.
Linking to Outbound Sources: Linking to other sources that are related to the work your organization is doing will also help Google to identify what area of industry your organization is in and what it does.
Backlinking: Backlinking is when another website links to your site. When a credible source links to your page via a backlink, it helps boost your rankings, connects your organization to a larger audience, and makes your site seem more trustworthy.
Anchor Text: Anchor text refers to specific words that are hyperlinked to another page. When using an internal link building strategy, consider which words you use within the text of the link. Google assigns authority to the text within the link to provide context for the pages you’re linking to. For example, if you’re referring to local food banks within a post, you might link the text, “donate to food pantries in your area.” This means you would highlight that text by linking to the page that contains information on where supporters can donate in their area.
SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY:
After you’ve ensured you have a great mission statement and effective call to action buttons, you need to make sure traffic is driven to your site. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a large and deep field. It can be intimidating, but it won’t require any significant investment on your part.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does SEO. On your nonprofit website design, make sure every page on your website is rich with content, you don’t want blank pages hanging around. Ensure your content uses as many effective keywords as possible. These are phrases or words people would frequently use when searching for something specific. For example, a food pantry would use phrases and words such as, “end hunger,” “feed the children,” and “food insecurity.” Insert these keywords throughout your content often but when appropriate.
Imagery is also important, and images without the proper titles or captions can hurt your search results. The keywords we just discussed are very applicable here. Search engines like Google use keywords to search for images as well as search images that match keywords. Make sure the photo file names and caption text of your photos have applicable keywords in their descriptions. Below is an example of how a caption can look under your images. It should be brief but convey enough information to improve your odds of your audience finding your site.
MAKE IT EASY TO STAY IN TOUCH AND ENGAGED WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION:
Including ways for your audience to stay in touch with you is important. You should have an easily located contact us page with a comprehensive contact form, general email address, links to your social media, and a sign-up form to join your email list. Social media and email newsletters are a great way to continue the conversation and share aspects of your organization’s story. They encourage donors, volunteers, and supporters to stay engaged with your mission. They are also a great tool for promoting events and sharing information to drive traffic back to your website. Many social media networks now allow for donations to be collected through their platform as well which may help your cause reach a wider audience. Keep your social media icons subtle so that they don’t take away from the content on each nonprofit website design page. It’s best to keep your audience on your website where the bulk of your organization’s information is, but if they leave your site, you want to ensure they’ll still be engaging with you no matter where they roam.
MAKE YOUR WEBSITE MOBILE-RESPONSIVE:
Since everyone is always on the go, mobile browsing is now more popular than browsing websites on a computer. It is important to optimize your website for mobile viewing, otherwise you run the risk of viewers exiting your site too quickly. On any device, you should limit the number of elements on each page.
To capture donor interest, use beautiful images, but avoid using large photos that require donors to scroll for a long time to reach info. Your text should be large enough so that it’s legible on small devices. Providing a mobile-friendly navigation and avoiding a complex navigation on smaller devices is also key. By presenting only essential information and limiting the number of elements on each page, you will create a seamless and successful mobile experience. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but to create a more positive user experience, avoid ads or pop-ups that block the content of your page. Most visitors won’t have the patience to minimize the pop up, they’ll just click away from your website entirely. If your website was built several years ago, it may also use Flash. Android and iOS devices don’t support Flash, so be sure to do away with it when you’re updating your site.
Pay close attention to your nonprofit website design – it is often the first and best option to drive positive engagement with your target audience. Introducing these simple steps will drive more traffic to your website, and once visitors are there, they’ll be encouraged to take positive action.
Insquired creates meaningful branding solutions for nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Our creative process and strategic thinking results in high-impact design with purpose, tailored with each client’s target audience in mind. If you’re ready to upgrade your branding and visual identity, please contact us for more information. We’ll customize a solution that embodies your core values and supports your mission.