How to Redesign Your Nonprofit Website for Maximum Impact

The significance of having an exceptional website for a not-for-profit organization can't be overstated. All their publicity and campaigns need to direct people into taking action, whether that may be donating, learning about services, or registering to receive information.

A successful website facilitates these processes quickly and with simplicity, making the journey to conversion seem effortless.

Conversely, lower-quality websites can be an impediment to success; they may confuse visitors with unclear navigation or bombard them with too many calls to action. These subpar sites will swiftly lead audiences away from your desired outcomes rather than toward them.

As experts in digital marketing, we always adhere to a basic process when launching new nonprofit website projects. This ensures that the end product is straightforward and intuitive for users while also being highly effective.

Achieving a Successful Nonprofit Website Project in 6 Steps

1. Discovery

During the discovery phase, your project team will identify its goals and assess current advantages, the potential for development, as well as target audiences.

Identify Your Goals

Realizing that your website can be improved and setting clear objectives for the redesign process are essential in constructing a better website. With data analysis, you will quickly recognize whether or not your current site meets all of your expectations.

Understand Audiences

To optimize your website's content and actions, Google Analytics is a powerful tool to determine which elements are performing or underperforming amongst audiences. Additionally, incorporating audience surveys into your strategy can provide valuable insight into what parts of the website resonate best with key demographics.

Evaluate Content

Has your website been in need of a makeover? Or maybe it's become less accessible to audiences lately. A marketing agency can give you an expert opinion on what needs to be changed, and provide useful tips for improving the look and feel of your website so that it meets any goals or objectives you have. They can also do a thorough audit of your current site to ensure everything is up-to-date and working properly.

Site Audit

When undertaking a full site redesign, research should be conducted first in order to lay out the foundation of your strategy and design. It is imperative that you audit all existing content on your current website before making any changes, as well as understand how other technical platforms (like CRMs or fundraising) interact with it. Additionally, researching potential audience groups and mapping their needs throughout their journey within your organization will enable more effective customer engagement.

SEO Audit

An SEO audit is an essential aspect of your website rebuild process, enabling audiences to easily find it through search engines. This involves thoroughly scrutinizing all the elements that impact a website's discoverability on various search platforms. Doing this assessment offers a comprehensive understanding of the site and its individual pages' healthiness and domain authority, as well as the total traffic generated from them.

Are you looking to assess your website's SEO and ensure it is up-to-date? Here are several areas that need inspecting:

  • Does the site employ a breadcrumb structure?
  • Are navigation options logical and straightforward for users to find essential information conveniently?
  • Is content tailored towards an appropriate audience, as well as featuring significant keywords?
  • Have title tags been included in every page's metadata correctly?
  • Furthermore, investigate if server errors exist.

Remember - taking stock of these details can go a long way when optimizing your search rankings.

Although these may appear to be straightforward and unimportant jobs, they are essential measures in promoting your site's organic visibility. Completing this task can ultimately guarantee that you reach the desired traffic amount and make any needed changes to the website design.

2. Strategy

After you have finished your discovery process, it is time to craft a strategy for how the content of your website- including copy, visuals, videos, and other assets - will be presented. Working with your team to create this plan allows you to get creative and make sure that all elements are in sync so that they can help convey the message of the site clearly.  

Identifying the content structure and how it will fit within the redesign is a critical part of this process. For instance, determining which type of website architecture works best for your organization can be helpful in making sure users can find what they are looking for quickly. Furthermore, when aiming to showcase your nonprofit's mission or goals, ensure that you are using language that resonates with your various audiences.

Content Strategy

Once you have a handle on who your audiences are, and how you'd like them to engage with your information, you can dive into your content strategy — or the way you'll organize and develop content for visitors to engage with on your site. This might include revising your site map (otherwise known as a list of pages in a hierarchical order for your website), and navigation so content that's relevant to a particular audience is grouped together, and in a way that will make it easy for them to find the right piece of content at the right point of their journey.

During your content strategy exploration, considering all stages of an audience's user journey is critical. How are people new to your site engaging, and how can you make life easier for return visitors?

As a nonprofit, you'll want to share different pieces of your story with new versus existing supporters — for instance, with new visitors, you can share background on your nonprofit, and with existing supporters, you can show them the impact and results of your nonprofit so they can see how their contributions matter.

Information Architecture

As you lay the groundwork for your content strategy, also consider how each page will play a role in that story. Think of what are the most important messages to communicate and bring them to the top while leaving less essential information further down on the page; this allows users and designers to create an experiential tale out of it all.

Once you have this strategy in place, use it to redesign the website by making any necessary changes to visuals, writing, and layout. Assure that all design choices are consistent across the site as well, so that users experience a natural flow of information. Additionally, supplement your redesign with calls-to-actions (CTAs) and other interactive elements that help to engage users and drive them down a path of discovery.

3. UX and Design

As you transition into the user experience (UX) and design phase, it is essential to keep your audiences in mind if you want to bring all of your strategy and research to fruition. Doing so will ensure that their needs are met in the best way.

After the conceptualization phase, UX design takes center stage in the form of wireframes and prototypes meant to provide a visual structure. As an extra step towards providing direction for copywriting efforts later on, notional texts are frequently added alongside these visuals. For example, 'Headline about our giving program goes here.' These brief phrases can be highly useful when it comes to creating website content!

It's time to get creative! Designers have the power to suggest a totally unique visual approach for your brand elements, colors, fonts and so much more. When this is given the green light it will be infused into page designs and layouts in order to create something truly spectacular. With each step of the process comes an increase in excitement as you watch your website come alive with new visuals that are sure to make an impact on visitors.

4. Implementation

During your implementation phase, you may observe that the development processes differ slightly depending on the platform. As you and your team progress through executing your project, certain decisions will be made which could affect how straightforward it is to take care of your site in the future.

Creating a website involves the combination of designs, requirements, specifications and copy with development efforts. Nowadays there are plenty of great choices to choose from; platforms such as Squarespace or Wix make it so easy for anyone to create an entire site without requiring any coding skills! Plus you don't need developers for maintenance costs due to their pre-built functions. However, these no-code solutions do come at a cost - they may be limited in terms of technical integration capabilities and customization options compared to those that require more advanced knowledge.

Gordon Web Designs offers a comprehensive redesign service for nonprofits, charities, and other organizations using Webflow. We understand the need to create an online presence that reflects your goals and mission, and we strive to deliver exceptional user experiences with our web redesign solutions. Webflow is a no-code solution that allows for ease of use and countless integration possibilities.

WordPress is a powerful platform that requires more investment of time and money in the development process, as well as continued maintenance expenses like plugins and hosting.

5. Quality Assurance Testing

After the content is successfully migrated to your new website, and blog posts along with SEO considerations have been accomplished, Quality Assurance Testing can begin. QA testing can make sure that your website presents well on all devices, meets accessibility standards, loads quickly due to optimization methods used and works according to expectations.

6. Accessibility

Designing a website that is not only efficient and organized but also inclusive to all, has become the norm. For non-profit entities, this benchmark holds even more significance as it is paramount to ensure access for those you serve.

Don't forget that accessibility includes all types of disabilities, not only those that are visible. Over 13% of the U.S. population is visually impaired and making small changes to your site can have a big impact! Utilizing proper color palette choices, H1/H2 tags for screen readers, plus descriptive alt text on images and graphics will ensure everyone has an optimal experience when browsing your website or blog. Simply checking off these boxes can make the world (or at least your website) more accessible to many people who need it!

After your QA testing, accessibility checks, and modifications have been completed, the site is ready for its final approval before releasing it to the public. Regardless of which platform you are using, there are some important details that must not be neglected during this process.

Avoiding Common Nonprofit Website Mistakes

1. Tracking and Conversions

Before you launch your new website, don't forget to implement and configure the necessary tracking tools—at a minimum, Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. Doing so will ensure that all data is collected accurately when visitors arrive at your page.

Any time a website is rebuilt, it's likely that several elements and forms have been altered. Buttons may now be in different colors or new pages might've been added - whatever the case may be, you must ensure that all custom event or conversion tracking from your old website is re-established for the new one so as to not miss out on any of the tracking data.

2. SEO

It is paramount for every company, including nonprofits, to build a powerful marketing strategy. Remarkably though, many nonprofits usually disregard the lucrative advantages of investing in search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation. How do you anticipate your volunteers, supporters, or advocates to locate you if you don't put resources into SEO? As much as 53% of people display research behavior before buying something so that they make only the best choice - and this applies, even more, when it comes to nonprofit organizations. Investing smartly in SEO will help ensure maximum visibility on online platforms!

3. Accessibility

To help everyone have an optimal experience on your website, consider making a few small changes - the most important being:

  • Prioritize accessibility for people with visual impairments, like color blindness, by ensuring your text and background colors are distinct from one another.
  • Whenever possible, craft unique descriptions for alt texts on visuals and graphics that accurately portray what another person would see.
  • For those using screen readers, adding audio descriptions to their online experience helps provide context and dimension beyond what is visible.
  • Taking the time to tab your way through your website can bring any inaccessible aspects of your content into clear focus, allowing you to make improvements that could benefit those who are unable to rely on a mouse.
  • As a final check, comparing the mobile and desktop versions of your website can help ensure that all accessibility needs are met.

An update to your nonprofit website is not a simple task, but it's worth the effort and can be incredibly rewarding. Having an effective online presence is essential for any organization, yet especially important when you are aiming to attract new supporters and maximize impact. When done right, a website redesign will help propel your nonprofit forward in ways you never expected!

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