It’s that time again - organizations are wrapping up their fiscal year and thinking about producing annual reports. But before you send supporters to your website, you want to make sure you’re putting your best brand forward. We took our own advice and gave weare3i.com a refresh. Here are some tips to help you do the same.
Step 1: Analyze your goals for your website
There are so many things you can do with a website refresh. To narrow it down, you should think about what you really want to get out of it.
Want to increase your SEO? Try updating the language on your site so that when users search for services you offer, your name comes up first. You can do this by adding keywords in places like your about section, homepage titles and subheads, or list of services.
Want to improve user experience? Think about reorganizing your navigation bar or site map, testing your search function, or updating fonts to make them easier to read.
Want to improve the overall visual appeal? Make updates to a color scheme that highlights your brand, switch up outdated images, or try out some new visual elements you’ve seen on other websites you love.
Step 2: Understand your web audience
The same folks who read your newsletter or follow you on social media may not be the same people who come to your website. Think about the audiences you’re already serving or want to bring onto your page and then optimize your site for their needs. Use tools that tell you the demographics of your site visitors: age, geography, occupation. Then do research to find out how best to engage those audiences.
One fun exercise to do with your team is to sketch out the ideal person or people who might come to your site: Give them a name, a backstory, and really get inside their heads to figure out how you can keep them on your website with improvements on the front or back end.
Step 3: Choose a CMS that fits your needs
Different content management systems can provide different options for a website refresh. Some are easy for newbies to use while others might require some training. Some allow for multiple people to post to your site. Others have a plethora of plugins so you can customize the design and function of your site.
Here are some of our top CMS picks to research if they’re right for you:
Step 4: Listen to what your analytics are telling you
Sometimes, our personal design or function preferences aren’t the same as the people who are actually using our website. You may think your timeline is the best thing about your website, but if your analytics tell you that people jump off the page as soon as they reach it, that might not be serving you. Or you may think your donate button is in a place that logically makes sense, but if you’re not seeing any clicks on it, you may want to try out putting it in a different place or giving it a bolder background color. The good news is, you don’t have to play a guessing game. There are many analytics tools -- free and paid -- that can give you the jumping off point you need.
Step 5: New content matters
If you want to keep people coming back for more, new blog posts (ahem!) are a great way to keep things interesting. Think about posting more on your area of expertise. Even if you think you’ve covered it all before, brainstorming new ways to say some of the same things will keep your site from fading into the background. And when it comes to content, don’t forget to employ SEO keywords to make sure people can find what you’re posting when they’re searching the web. One other tried and true lesson about content: keep it short. Attention spans are only getting shorter, so get to the point quickly.
Thinking through all of these steps before you start your website refresh can save you time, money, and headaches. And they’ll help you know what to ask for when you reach out to firms like ours to help you make your website refresh dreams come true.
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