Why It Might Be Time for a New Website for Your Nonprofit
Do you ever have a nagging feeling that it’s time to update your nonprofit’s website? You might see bothersome signs, such as:
- You aren’t getting as many visitors to your website as you think you should.
- People aren’t clicking through to the pages you want them to see and taking the actions you want them to take.
- Your website hasn’t been updated in several years, and is starting to look tired and outdated.
- It isn’t easy to make the content updates you need to make.
But how do you know for sure that it’s time to change your nonprofit’s website? And how do you find solid reasons for a website redesign that justify the time and cost involved?
Let’s dive into some answers to these questions.
Identify Business Reasons to Redesign Your Nonprofit’s Website
A website redesign shouldn’t be done just for the sake of having a new website. It needs a business justification. In general, there are two overarching reasons to redesign your website.
1. Your Website Performance Is Flat or Declining
Traffic to your website might have leveled off or dropped. You might also find that site visitors are spending only a few seconds on your website and not clicking through to find out more about your organization and take the actions you want them to take, like registering for an event or donating to your cause.
In short, your website is not as effective as it should be.
2. Your Website No Longer Aligns With Your Nonprofit’s Work
The world is changing, and your organization must evolve to keep up. The demand for your nonprofit’s services might have changed or maybe you’ve retooled your fundraising to include more virtual and hybrid events and campaigns. Perhaps you’ve even adjusted your strategy and rebranded your organization to support a new direction.
No matter what your organization’s changes might be, the design and framework of the website that worked for you a few years ago doesn’t support the way you work today and the direction you’re headed for the future.
If either — or both — of these scenarios sounds familiar, chances are good that it’s time for a website redesign.
Pinpoint Issues With Your Current Website
Once you know the key business reasons for redesigning your nonprofit’s website, it’s time to go deeper. Evaluate your website to uncover what it is about your website that needs attention and what must change to support your organization’s goals.
As you review your website, consider these three aspects of website design that often need attention.
1. Visual design
The way your website looks conveys your organization’s mission and identity. When executed well, it can inspire site visitors to volunteer, donate and take other action to support your organization.
Reasons why your visual design might need some attention include:
- The branding is outdated. Your organization’s branding has been updated, and you need your website to reflect the new logo, colors, and overall look and feel.
- New content needs a place to go. Your organization’s strategy and programs have changed, and you have new content to share. But your new content doesn’t fit well into your current website design.
- The site looks tired. Your website design hasn’t had even a refresh in the past few years. It’s looking old and outdated.
2. User experience
Your website’s user experience can make or break the performance of your website. A poor experience can turn away site visitors who otherwise might have signed up for services, volunteered to help, donated to your cause or supported your organization in other ways.
Reasons why your user experience might need to be improved include:
- It’s hard to find things. You’ve added new pages and content over time, and now important information is buried multiple clicks away. Site visitors can’t easily find the information they’re looking for and that you want to highlight.
- The mobile experience needs help. Your website might function well on laptop and desktop computers but not so well on mobile devices. With mobile traffic accounting for more than half of global website traffic, you need a site design that looks good and works well on mobile devices.
The website template and content editing tool you use can make a big difference in the cost and performance of your website.
Reasons why your technology might need to be changed include:
- The website technology costs too much. Your current website platform and hosting tools have grown too expensive (or maybe your budget has shrunk) and you need a more affordable solution.
- The website isn’t flexible enough. As your nonprofit changes, you need to update website content. You need a website design and editing tool that makes it easier for you and your staff to add and update images and text, as well as change content components on pages. Also, you want to enhance your website with new functionality today and might even need more down the road. You need a site design and website platform that’s flexible enough to grow with you.
- The site is slowing down. As your website becomes older and more complex, the website has slowed down. It’s taking longer for pages to load and for forms to process. You need a platform that’s continually updated and a website design that optimizes page loading time so you don’t lose the attention of site visitors.
Mark founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits.
Mark also serves on the editorial advisory board for NonProfit PRO, where he contributes monthly to his blog, “Nonprofit Tech Matters.”