The way your website looks can make or break your business, even if you’re a non-profit organization. So much out of everything we do each day is online. This could be an advantage for you. If you push the right buttons, you could see your memberships grow fast as lightning.
If you’re just getting started, the process of designing your website can be daunting. To keep things simple, we made a list of the seven things you need to include in your design for an optimized website. Let’s see what this is all about!
1. Feature Impactful Imagery
You need to be smart with the visual elements you put on your website. They need to impress your visitors, and each image that they see needs to send a message.
People are visual learners. So it’s an excellent strategy to show them your story rather than tell it. However, you need to be smart about what images you choose to show on your website:
Use Your Photographs
Don’t use stock photos
your users will notice that they aren’t genuine. You can’t tell your story with someone else’s words. Try to be authentic and feature photos of your staff, volunteers, donors, or members.
Don’t overdo it
While it is essential to showcase engaging imagery, you shouldn’t just fill up your website with photos. Each one should serve a purpose. Otherwise, it would just distract people from the message you’re trying to send.
2. Offer Smooth Navigation
Most of the time, people don’t have the patience to thoroughly search your website—especially if the navigation is not intuitive and easy. A great user experience should help your users find and understand your message quickly and effortlessly.
There are a few elements that can help you achieve this without putting too much effort into it. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools you can use to do this. For example, there are specific website builders for nonprofits, businesses, and other kinds of niches that can help you with this.
Have a navigation bar
This can be placed on the top of your page or the left side. You should list your most important pages and use a hierarchical dropdown list for the ones connected to them.
You should try to stick to 1 to 3 words for your page titles and keep them as straightforward as possible. After you’ve decided what pages to showcase, you should also incorporate a Call to Action button in your navigation bar.
Make sure that any type of visitor will find the information they’re looking for.
Easy to read layout
Studies show that most people scan the text on a website in the shape of the letter ‘F.’ To make the most of this, make sure that your most important information and keywords are on the left side of the page.
Try to use easily recognizable fonts, like Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman. This type of font is easy to read. Also, try to limit your font variety to 3 different types across your website.
3. Mobile Optimization
Nowadays, most web browsing is done on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. This only means that your website needs to be prepared to accommodate such users. If mobile visitors cannot navigate through your website, they’ll move on to the next.
4. Lower Page Loading Times
Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Besides that, it feels unprofessional if you have to wait for ages for a page to load. With that being said, you should try to keep your loading times as low as possible. To help you with this, here are a few tricks:
- Optimize your images by resizing and compressing them
- Minimize pop-ups
- Ditch the flash player and choose HTML and CSS
- Limit the number of custom fonts you use
5. Make Your Website Visible with SEO
It’s useless to have a fantastic website if nobody will find it. To increase the awareness around your site, it needs to be visible and searchable online. To increase your chances, you need to incorporate SEO into your design.
Here’s what you pay attention to:
Meta title editors
This is the title search engines show in the search results. You should try to include specific keywords so that people can find them easier.
Custom meta descriptions
This tells the reader what your page is about before they click on the link. Make sure you make the description explicit and suggestive so that people will be interested in finding out more.
Make sure to personalize your URLs. A good strategy is to shorten it and include a keyword to know immediately what it leads to.
6. Take Care of Website Security
Nowadays, it seems like a new website or company is victim to a data breach every other day. Because of this, you should consider taking care of your website security, especially if you handle donations.
You can do this by using secure passwords, constantly updating your software and website, store your donors’ data using tokenization, or make sure your staff has to use different credentials to access that data.
7. Keep it Simple
This one might be one of the most important pieces of advice here. Don’t overdo it. Keep your design simple and focused on your core message. Having too many elements on your page will do nothing but overwhelm your visitors.
The same rules apply to the amount of content. Try to keep it simple. If you use too much text to explain your message, your users will either get lost on the way or lose their patience.
This is a list of little things you can do to improve and optimize your website. From being mindful of user experience, SEO integration, keeping it simple, and website security, the most important thing is putting yourself in your users’ shoes.
When you visit a website, what do you usually look for? What makes you like or dislike your experience? And, to be sure, after you’ve built your website, ask for feedback from your audience. There is no better way to improve your work than customize it according to your users’ wants.