3rd Edge

6 Things to Think About Before Re-Designing Your Nonprofit Website

Thinking of redeveloping your organization's website? Here are a few ideas on how to get started....

Ok, so you’re thinking about moving forward and re-designing your website. That’s fantastic!

Now, while the prospect of re-positioning yourself and engaging more people is exciting, a re-design can also be challenging. You’ll have a number of factors to consider… Content. Budget. Can we build this ourselves or should we work with an agency? What platform do we build it on?

Here are several key things to consider as you embark on re-designing your site…

1) Define the key goals in re-designing your website.

What would you like your new site to accomplish for you? Increased product sales. More online donations. Greater audience engagement. Talk with your team and identify the top 3 goals for your website. Your site’s re-design should be aligned to fulfill these objectives.

There are many different reasons that businesses and organizations choose to re-design. Some want an easier way of managing their site via a new content management system. Others are looking to make their site mobile-responsive. If your site is not mobile-friendly, then this can adversely affect your search engine rankings. Perhaps your site is not effectively encouraging people to take the key actions you’d like them to. Or you may need to visually update your site from an outdated look. Make sure you identify your key goals first.

2) Make your vision or mission crystal clear.

When folks visit your site, they need to know what you’re about. Why are you in existence? What is it that you’re striving to accomplish? Craft a clear story. Help people understand how you’re relevant and how they can benefit.

If you’re not sure how to define your brand, you can use a resource like Brand Deck to figure out your identity. It’s essentially an “adjective-sort” tool that enables you to identify your brand’s key characteristics. Once you’ve identified them, your story should show how you embody these qualities.

3) Got content?

Having quality content is a must. In fact, when we partner with clients to re-design their websites, we talk about content early and often. Content cannot be an afterthought. You’ll need to think about what kinds of content can best present your brand’s story. You have a range to choose from – photography, video, information graphics, audio, special interactive features and of course well-written copy.

Success on the Internet is about providing quality content and experiences consistently. Invest in producing meaningful content. You’ll be able to utilize it on your website, social media channels and in presentations. Google has some practical guidelines on creating quality content.

And if you have a large-scale website, here’s a tool that can help you manage all of it for a re-design.

When folks visit your site, they need to know what you’re about. Why are you in existence? What is it that you’re striving to accomplish? Craft a clear story.

4) Set a time frame for launching your site.

Sync your deadline. Is there a major event that the launch of your site needs to be tied to? Perhaps a new product launch or major fundraising event. Have you thought about the pre and post launch activities that you may want to engage in to promote your new site? What’s your internal capacity and upcoming schedule like? Consider how much time you’ll need to help produce the site with your team. All of these factors will enable you to create a realistic schedule.

5) Decide who will manage your site after it’s up.

Designate a person or team to manage your site. If the site is being built on a platform that you’ve never worked with before, like Webflow, WordPress or Drupal, then you’ll want to make sure that those key folks get training. It may be helpful for this training to begin during the technical development phase so that your team has enough time to become proficient.

6) Plan your budget.

Ah yes… What will a new website cost? Well, the cost of a new website will depend on several factors. If you want to create a custom, branded experience that separates you as unique in your industry or market niche, consider collaborating with an agency. A customized website can involve the creation of just a few unique page templates to a fully custom site where every page template is unique. Other cost factors include the integration of e-commerce or donation functions, special features like an interactive map or integrating your website with your company’s administrative system. It takes hundreds to thousands of hours to develop a custom website so you’ll need to determine what approach works best for your business situation.

When it comes to investment cost, we recommend planning in terms of budget ranges. For example, do you have between 75–100K, 100–150K, 150K+? Having a defined range will enable an agency to formulate the best value for your budget. Because of the innumerable ways a site can be developed, you’ll want to determine your budget early in the process.

Creating a new website can energize your business or charity! And with careful planning, can be a powerful tool in helping you grow. Please reach out to us if you’d like to learn more.