It’s the last week of January, that means most people have already given up on their new year’s resolutions. Yep, according to research by Strava, January 12 is the day most new year’s resolutions die.
That’s likely because people set unrealistic or overly ambitious goals. When it comes to your nonprofit website, I’m not going to let that happen to you. If you can stick to making just these four improvements to your website, you’re going to thank yourself in 2020.
1. Start tracking analytics
This one is great because you really don’t have to do much manual work here -- you can set up automatic analytics tracking and all you have to do is check-in on the results. Analytics give you invaluable information.
First, you’ll find out who your visitors are. You’ll be able to tell if you’re reaching your target audiences through demographic information like age, gender, and location. Secondly, you’ll know which content is attracting people to your site, how long they stick around to view it, and if they’re jumping around to other pages. This information will help you think through which content you should be promoting to attract new, dedicated visitors. Finally, you’ll be able to measure conversion rates. How many users ended up on your donate page or sign up for your newsletter thanks to that Facebook lead ad? How many of those users who ended up on your page actually follow-through and make a donation? You’ll never know unless you set up tracking.
2. Make it mobile-responsive
In 2017, mobile and tablet traffic accounted for 50 percent of nonprofit website visitors and mobile donations are on the rise. That means you can’t ignore how your website looks on a smaller screen -- especially if you’re trying to cultivate a new crop of younger members to volunteer, donate, or sign a petition through your site.
And did you know that responsiveness rates factor into the search engine ranking Google gives you? In other words, the more smart device-friendly your website is, the more likely you are to show up closer to the top of the search bar.
Plus, responsive sites make for a better user experience, which brings me to my next tip.
3. Conduct usability testing
Usability tests are exactly what they sound like. You may think you know why people are coming to your website, what they’re doing once they get there, and whether they’re able to complete the task they came there for -- but you’re probably wrong. Usability tests help us better answer those questions to make the user experience as pleasant as possible.
Sometimes we forget that users don’t use our websites for the same purposes we do. We end up building our sites around our own ease -- prioritizing things like making it easy to find information on a specific project by name, or digging up specific media hits, when all our user wants to do is find out what the heck our organization’s mission is or how they can volunteer with us.
Here’s a handy guide for conducting usability testing -- it’s something you can do on a smaller scale in-house with volunteers to save money, or you can hire the creative sidekicks.
4. Keep your content fresh
You should think of your website as another tool for advocacy and movement-building, not as a static informational brochure. Depending on your organization, you should be updating its content anywhere from once a week to several times daily. Make your calls to action more urgent by connecting them to current events. Create a news feed so users know they can rely on you for the most up to date information.
Maybe most of your organizing work is focused on face-to-face interactions. That’s fine! Post a photo or video blog to document recent events. Whatever it is that you’re working on in real life, find a way to present it on your website so newcomers know how active you are.
Remember, the worst thing you can do with your website is nothing. Hopefully you can integrate these tips into your workflow and keep these resolutions for longer than twelve days. Godspeed.
Content Manager, Three(i) Creative Communications