The average person in the US is now spending 5 hours a day online. While online, internet users are looking for good content to read and opportunities to improve themselves. In fact, not having a website can be detrimental to your efforts.
Many of your potential donors expect you to have a website. If they’ve heard of you, they’ll want to learn more; but if you don’t have a website they’ll give up and move on. It is even more important in today’s market with the rise of mobile browsing as two thirds of the population will invest in a brand only if it has a mobile ready website.
Therefore, it is important that your nonprofit has a professionally designed website that can be found by potential sponsors / donors and offers them an opportunity to interact with you. Interaction doesn’t necessarily have to be about providing you with a donation. It could also mean offering to volunteer at events or to share news about your nonprofit organization on social media to grow awareness.
At the same time you don’t want to rush the creation of your website. A good website takes time to design and create. If you don’t have the right website, then there are several problems that could arise:
- It has a low visitor rate – this is because the site isn’t optimized for search engines, so internet users can’t find your nonprofit’s website. Search engine optimization is very important; some sites can expect 80% of all their traffic originating from search engines.
- People leave your site quickly – a poorly designed website will not entice people to explore the pages and learn more about your organization and how they can donate / volunteer. You can expect that 70% of your visitors will never return unless you give them a reason to.
- People don’t interact – for your visitors to interact you need to create and advertise an action for them to complete. These Call To Actions take time to develop and the best performing ones can really provide your business with a steady stream of donations and volunteers.
To avoid the three scenarios above from happening; you need to work with a qualified website designer to create a website your visitors can easily navigate and use.
It isn’t just the functionality of the website that you must consider. The look of the website is very important and must match your current image. This includes the wording, color scheme and unique brand aspects of your nonprofit.
To achieve the desirable website that will act as a platform to support your nonprofit, there is a process we have implemented that has helped other Michigan nonprofits. Here is a breakdown of that process and roughly how long it should take for each section.
Consultation (1-3 days)
The first step is for you and your web designer to speak about your brand and your expectations. This should be a rather lengthy brief on what you require on the homepage and what other pages you may require. At the same time, there should be a discussion of your current branding and your nonprofit’s history.
Homepage Design (1-2 weeks)
This is one of the most important pages for your site. A good homepage will attract visitors and entice them to visit other pages on your site. This process can be done within one week; however, depending on your needs it can take up to two weeks. You might also have requests for changes because you have different priorities or have had further thoughts once seeing the first mock-up.
Interior Pages (2 – 4 weeks)
The interior pages will also need to be created and reviewed. The length of time it takes for the pages to be designed depends on the number you have requested and their function. For instance, those pages that have limited content on them and functionality take less time.
Development (2 – 3 weeks)
Your website designer will connect all the aspects of your website together. This will include the functions such as contacting you, making donations and passing from one page to another. Linking is very important as bad links can affect your search engine ranking. During this process your website designer should also implement search engine optimization of your site.
Testing (1 – 2 weeks)
Before you release your website your website designer, you and a few of your staff should thoroughly test the website for errors. The tests should be done on a variety of devices (i.e. desktops, mobiles, tablets) and browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome) to check for look and functionality.
Final Changes (1 – 2 weeks)
Depending on the final feedback from you and any problems that might have arisen during the testing, this is the stage where changes should be made.
Release (1 – 3 days)
Finally your website designer will launch your website.
To get the best results, your nonprofit website could take 2-3 months to develop. This time frame is dependent on the organization. Every nonprofit project takes a different amount of time, depending on the requirements of the client.
Whatever time is spent on your website project is worth it in the end. It allows you and your website designer time to create a platform that will increase donations and volunteering offers for your organization and place you firmly in search engine listing results.
Let’s talk about creating a great website for your nonprofit organization.
by NJE Design