Websites are a sticking point for many charities. They’re typically housed in one department or another, requiring a lot of collaboration to make updates or changes. As a result, those updates are often few and far between – which means a lot of charity websites are missing out on gifts and driving donors away.
Here are the 5 things you need to be checking regularly to keep your website in good shape:
1. Are you search optimized?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps search engines like Google to understand what your site is about, and then serve it up when people make related searches. But if you don’t give Google some good hints, you’ll just be overlooked. The algorithms that search engines use is forever being updated and adjusted. If you don’t keep up, making tweaks to reflect today’s SEO guidelines, your website won’t be highly-ranked, making it much harder to find. Here is a great list of tools you can put to use.
2. Is your homepage up to date?
Look at your homepage. Is the News section months old? Is there anything there about your latest direct mail appeal or email ask? It’s important to keep content updated, especially on the homepage of your site. Donors and prospects are likely to look there first – especially when they’ve received an email or mailing earlier, have put some thought into it, and are ready to give. If they don’t see something that rings a bell right away, they’re going to lose interest. Fast.
3. Is it easy to give?
While you’re on your home page – that place where donors are likely to end up first when they search for you – make a donation. Was it easy to do? Did you have places where you got stuck, got confused, or had to wait a long time for a page to load? Every single obstacle you hit is a place where people are going to drop off, damaging your conversion rate and losing you money. Map them out and start working to fix them wherever you can.
4. It is easy to use on a mobile device?
Over half of visits to your webpage are now coming from mobile devices, and this isn’t going to decrease. The reality is that people are on their smartphones and tablets more – especially during leisure time, when they’re most likely to be making donations. You need to make sure your site is mobile-responsive – meaning that they scale proportionately depending on the screen size and can be used comfortably from any device. Depending on the current build of your site, this might be a big investment or a small one – but it’s one that’s necessary if you want to be playing online.
5. Are you testing something?
The only way to improve is to try new things. Keeping your overall strategic goals in mind, start running some tests. Try a lightbox to collect email addresses or a a pop-up to implement a user experience survey. A/B test your landing pages. Watch your user behaviour in Google Analytics to see how people are using the site, where they bounce and exit, and optimize.
The most important thing about these tips is that you can’t do them one time. You have be updating content, optimizing your site, and testing your processes on a regular basis to stay current.
In other words, your website is a pet, not a painting! Take good care of it, and it will serve you well.