By Heartburst Digital, 31 May 2019
Your website is the first impression that potential supporters will have of your organisation, it is basically your shop front. So if your organisation's website is your front door, you can see how crucial it is to have an engaging, dynamic web presence.
Many organisations put a lot of emphasis on their websites to communicate their cause, bring in new supporters, and share information about their products. Therefore having a compelling website that will firstly bring in your supporters, and then cause them to engage and action your cause should be an important focus.
Best of all, it isn’t hard to make a big difference to how your website presents. Simple changes can really affect your outcomes, here’s a few points that will help.
1. Be Found
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
One of the most important things about having an online presence through a website, is that you can be found! You don't want to be paying for a piece of Internet real estate with no customers and no return.
SEO is one of the most important things you can do for your website.
Search Engine Optimisation is not just the business of bringing traffic to your website, it’s about bringing the ‘right’ traffic to your site!
To break it down very simply, in yesteryear when people searched for your organisation without your exact address, they would trawl through pages and pages of Google to find you. Now, thru the intelligence of SEO, search engines send SEO crawlers through websites which index and organise keywords that identify your business for what and who it is. Google crawlers analyze the text in headings as 'more important' and therefore determine where you place on a Google search.
SEO can be as simple as including descriptive keywords in your headings and bold text throughout your page content.
Over the years, search engines have become much smarter, developing the ability to detect when they are being manipulated by tricky SEO tactics. So honesty is always the best policy with SEO! Be descriptive in page titles, URL addresses, headings and content to maximise chances of being found. If you can achieve a healthy balance between content that is delightful for humans and descriptive for search bots, you'll go a long way towards effective SEO.
For example: if your organisation helps aid orphans in Zimbabwe, some basic SEO keywords that would be written into the content of your website could be - ‘orphans, zimbabwe, aid, africa etc.’ This all contributes to your SEO ranking and potentially makes your organisation stand out when someone is searching for an ‘aid organisation that helps orphans in Zimbabwe, Africa.’
Through strategic SEO this is where your organisation could be, on the first page of a Google search! If you look closely, the highlighted words on the below search are the keywords that Google has picked up.
If SEO sends your brain into a spin and you need some help, we have a team of analytics and SEO professionals who can help to bring your organisation up into the top pages of Google searches.
2. Be Less Boring and More Dynamic
You’re Organisation isn’t boring, so why should your website be?
We live in a very fast paced “engage me now,” generation. Everything that you have to say and share with the world needs to be heard. Therefore don’t sell your organisation short by having a boring website.
Make sure it is appealing visually, and interesting to read. Maybe there are interactive animations, or drop down menus that take you somewhere interesting.
Bring your best!
Your Website is your shop front. Put your best foot forward with the look of your website design. You wouldn’t have your organisation situated in some dark alley with broken windows, chipping paint and a door that no one can get through. So think about your website as a door your prospective supporters will walk through. Do they come in easily? Or do they lose interest and get lost as soon as they step through your website door?
For example, bad design goes as follows: If you are blasted with a ‘pop up’ the moment you enter, that’s like someone asking you to buy something before you even step one foot into a shop. Broken buttons that take you nowhere when you click on them are frustrating, and will see your supporters disappear as they run out the door. Think about how you like to experience a product.
Don’t be daggy! Think about your 20 something year old son or daughter visiting your website. Would they sing your organisations praises and share to their social media, or would they remind you of your age and set up a meme in honor of your rare design?
Make it hard to leave.
Make your website so visually pleasing that supporters will want to hang around, bookmark your page, and engage with your subscription so that they can stay in contact. Good website design has a clean, simple look, limited text and large visuals that convey what your organisation is really about. Great design contains clearly defined buttons that guide your supporter to either donate or engage.
Remember, your website is about your supporters, not you. ;)
3. Less is More
Hello people, it’s 2019! No one has time to read 2000 words of unrelenting text. Unless you’re an academic doing your thesis!
Researchers have found that users on first impression will judge the aesthetics and usability of a website in 50 milliseconds, and determine whether it’s worth staying.
Your potential supporters will do a quick scan read and look for anything attention grabbing, and if all they see is a lot of text, they will leave as quickly as they came.
The F Shape
Research has found that most people will read content in an F shape. They will read the title of your page, scan down the left side, read a subtitle that stands out, and then scan to the bottom of the page. So the text on your website needs to resemble the same pattern.
Here’s the lowdown:
- Make strong headlines, and reduce the content of your paragraphs. Paragraphs should be no longer than about 4 lines.
Add in engaging, bright pictures to break up the text
Say more, with less.
Don’t repeat yourself a thousand different ways.
Engage a content writer. If you can’t say your point in a concise way, get help writing your content.
4. Make Your Organisations Purpose Clear and Compelling
When a potential supporter visits your website, they should know within the first 15 seconds who your organisation is, what you do, who you support, and how they can help.
That’s all you have, 15 seconds!
One of our Heartburst clients, Family Life have nailed this with their homepage. Clearly the moment you enter their site, you know that they are a specialist family service provider. Their vision is stated clearly, and you have the opportunity to engage within seconds. Their site is clean, clear and compelling!
5. Ensure There is an Obvious Call to Action.
You may have the best designed website and lots of great information about your organisation, but if there is no call to action, your site is just information and users will leave empty handed.
As a non profit organisation, it’s really important that you use your platform to engage potential supporters.
Don’t miss an opportunity.
You’ve worked really hard on your SEO for your readers to find you and visit your website. You’ve also created a well designed website, but don’t leave donations on the table and make it hard for the reader to respond. Give them a clear and compelling call to action.
You only have to tune into the news when a natural disaster or injustice happens to see how quickly and passionately people will engage to help. Give your potential supporters a reason to rally. Present the need and ask for help. People need to be needed!
We were able to help Leprosy Mission with this recently, by adding in a clear ‘call to action’ button on their front home page. They saw a rise in online engagement and donations as a result.
So, to summarize:
Put your SEO to work and bring in the ‘right’ traffic.
Liven up your boring website and truly reflect who you are.
Reduce the amount of text on your pages and engage the ‘F’ pattern.
Have a clear and compelling purpose on your home page.
Make an obvious call to action, and cause your readers to respond.
These simple but effective points can make a world of difference in helping to make your organisation’s website really stand out.
At Heartburst we love helping organisations who are passionate about their cause. If your website is needing some love and you need help making it really stand out, we would love to help you.
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