They arrived full of hope
A group of open, smiling faces looked at me as I asked the question, “Has your website passed it’s sell by date?” We were gathered for a workshop sponsored by the Coastal Community Foundation
in Charleston. Attendees were staff of non-profit organizations who were there to learn to plan or update their website
so that it works well for their constituents and is true to the organization’s purpose.
All wanted better websites
Some in the group had crafted sites using free website builders like Wix and Google Sites. Some had outdated, legacy websites, created years ago by former staff or board members —built on platforms which shouted, “I’m from 1994.” Almost all of the sites had essential communications errors such as trying to cram too much onto a home page, or pages which lacked a purpose, or content that had not been updated in years.
Each one of these eager people were anxious to learn how they could take charge of their website so that the organization’s digital front door was welcoming and appealing. Each of them were working with limited budgets.
Planning time saves money
Over the course of our time together, everyone had “ah ha” moments about how they might improve their site. They all realized if they take the time to plan updates to their site, whether they work with website design / development professional or if they chose to go the DIY route, their planning will yield a lower cost, more user focused site that can support their organization’s goals.
As we worked together, I shared a presentation to help them work through some fundamental strategy questions and comprehend potholes, road blocks and missteps in planning, execution and design of a website.
Updating your website or planning a new site is not rocket science. All it requires is your focused time, comprehension of what your site visitors need and how you want to implement the site’s functionality. Your resulting strategy then yields insights that help you choose a template or theme or help a developer design your site. You just need to organize your thoughts and plan how each of your potential website visitors will use the site.
- Your website users
- Figure out what each user needs or seeks that will prompt them to visit your site
- Outline the functionality which will help each user get what they need
And then you plan your website content hierarchy so that every site visitor can navigate to what they need. Critical questions during your page content planning are three questions which address users’ needs:
Where am I?
What can I do here?
Why should I care?
If each page addresses these questions, provides information and content designed to fulfill the specific requirements of that page’s audience and is true to your brand, you’ll have a winning site.
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If you find yourself stuck and not sure what to do to get a good website that works, give us a call