Gone are the days when a nonprofit could put up any old website for their organization and check the box. As more and more of our lives move online, nonprofits need an optimized, well-designed website in order to stand out and engage donors—and to justify the expense of maintaining one! In this article, we’ll catalog four nonprofit website best practices that your organization can use to maximize your investment.
A Better Website is Worth the Money
Your website serves as a digital hub for your organization. In today’s ever-expanding online world, that’s important. Many website services promise quick and easy setup free of any long-term planning or custom coding, and—while that may sound alluring—it can cause certain roadblocks in the future that prevent you from scaling your online presence.
Here’s a great way to avoid those roadblocks: Choose a nonprofit-specific service like Neon Websites that incorporates nonprofit website best practices into their products from the ground up. While these services are usually a little more expensive than a lower-end website option, the results will more than justify the added investment.
Here are four website best practices that come standard with Neon Websites—and that your nonprofit should employ with your website regardless of which service you use to build it.
1. Build a Website That Can Grow With You
Like any good investment, a nonprofit website should be built with longevity in mind. Think of it like buying a car: If you go with the least expensive option, chances are you’ll be sinking a lot of money into quick fixes and repairs.
The truth is, most inexpensive, lower-end website options are designed to support e-commerce sites, even if they’re listed as “nonprofit options.” Trying to tailor these sites to support your organization can require custom coding, reconfiguration, and quite a few support tickets.
As your organization grows, you’ll probably want to move to an option that connects directly with a donor database. It’s better to start with an option that can support that growth from the beginning, rather than having to deal with the mess of trying to transition to a new website after the fact.
Neon Websites is a product designed specifically for nonprofits. It comes with a wide range of sector-specific templates for nonprofits of all types, and its easy drag-and-drop editing capabilities mean that your team can easily build out your site as your organization grows. All the while, your website will seamlessly integrate with your Neon CRM donor database, saving your team boatloads of time and effort.
If you want to learn more about how your nonprofit’s site is stacking up, than take our (short, simple) Website Optimization Assessment! And for more information on how you can upgrade your site, check out our Website Optimization Action Plan.
2. Build Donor Trust With Consistent Branding
If you’re like 88% of consumers, chances are you do at least a little bit of research before making a purchase decision. Whether buying or donating online, people want to be sure that their money is being used for its intended purpose. A consistent, well-designed nonprofit website can showcase your credibility and inspire confidence in potential donors.
A website designed specifically for your nonprofit can ensure that your organization’s branding is used consistently throughout the site within an information architecture unique to your mission. That architecture will continuously reinforce the legitimacy of your organization through text, photos, testimonials and logos.
It’s also important to take your donation form into consideration. The website option you choose should be able to seamlessly house your forms. If not, you could be missing out on valuable donations. On average, branded forms receive 7x more than their non-branded counterparts. This is the same for other forms, too, including membership forms, online stores, and even volunteer interest forms.
Neon Websites offers a host of dynamic, responsive design options and widgets that teams can use to create a positive user experience. And its integration with Neon CRM’s optimized donation forms will mean that your supporters won’t skip a beat when they decide it’s time to give.
3. Make Your Site Discoverable Through SEO
Search engines use search engine optimization (SEO) to determine which pages appear at the top of search listings. A number of on-page SEO strategies can be implemented to boost site rank, but if your website suffers from technical issues, you probably will have a hard time reaching the top.
Technical SEO increases search visibility through a series of website and server optimizations. Your site map, data structure, and server security all play an important role in how search engines index your site and assess its relevance to various search topics.
If you choose a website builder that doesn’t include these optimizations, your page rank can suffer, meaning fewer people come across your site naturally. Studies have shown that the top ranking page in Google gets 33% of all search traffic, and from there, the percentages dip significantly.
Neon Websites comes with technical SEO best practices built in. Our sites are optimized for mobile devices, lightning-fast page loads, HTTPS encryption, and more. If you want to learn more about the technical side of SEO optimization, check out the article below:
4. Increase Engagement with Website Personalization
There are a lot of elements that a lower-end website provider won’t offer you, and one of the big ones is the ability to personalize your user’s experiences. Personalization means using data from a user’s past visits to tailor their experience on your nonprofit’s site, and it’s a great way to deliver unique and memorable experiences!
Website personalization can take many forms. It might mean serving up a blog post or news update that’s similar to one that a user previously viewed. It can also mean using location data to show users events or volunteer opportunities that are happening in their area. It can even mean creating specific experiences on certain days, which can help excite potential donors in the lead up to campaign launch or an event like GivingTuesday.
Creating personalized experiences will boost user engagement on your website and begin building deeper relationships with your constituents. Neon Websites has a whole host of features that support personalization, including a robust suite of analytics that can help your nonprofit better understand your supporters.
With Neon Websites, Best Practices Come Standard
Investing in a robust website for your nonprofit can feel like a huge commitment, but it’s one of the best investments you can make for the future of your organization. And the best way to maximize that investment is by choosing a service where the best practices included in this article come standard.
Neon Websites is a nonprofit web design solution that pairs industry-leading expertise with easy-to-use features that lets organizations like yours create unique experiences online. If you’re interested in elevating your organization’s online presence, we’d love to help you grow your mission.
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