While there are many crucial components to create an effective website (imagery, messaging, calls to action, etc.), there are two things that you need to make sure you focus on before worrying about anything else.
1. Make sure the very first statement on your site's homepage says what you do clearly
Some organizations' names are tied to their mission, i.e., Charity Water, Feed the Children, or Rescue Mission. You know even before you land on the home page what type of organization it is.
But a large number of nonprofits have names that are not a descriptor of what they do. And when that happens, having a clear definition of what you do right on the very top of your site is extremely important.
Take our agency, for example, The A Group. Our logo says "The A Group; Marketing and Technology." By the time you land on our site, you know we are a marketing and technology agency. But before you can scroll, we let you know our specific focus:
"We solve problems and create tools to help nonprofits and churches grow."
While there are several ways we accomplish that mission, we want you to know right away that you have landed in the right place if you are a nonprofit leader looking for help.
This information, brand promise as we call it, is even more critical if you are a church.
2. Another critical feature every site should have is a clear call to action.
Whether you use a pop-up, a button, or a slider, your call to action should be one of the very first things someone encounters on your site. Ideally, you should either have a few of them on your home page or one that follows the users along as they scroll.
Most of the time, a compelling offer, a free resource, or discount coupon can be the difference between someone bouncing off your site unknown or giving you their name and email in exchange for something of value.
On agroup.com, we offer every new visitor a free Guide, ebook, or tool in exchange for a name and email (you can see the pop-up in the image above). That allows us to immediately offer value, qualify our audience, and start a meaningful conversation with those who can help.
No matter what your nonprofit's mission is, you can offer something of value to your site's visitors in exchange for their information.
Take Away: Make sure it's very clear what you do on the very top of your homepage, and don't forget to create a call to action that gives someone landing on your site something of value in exchange for their name and email address.
If your organization is in need of some strategic website help, we're here for you. And if you're not sure if your website needs a facelift and strategic overhaul, just reach out and we can talk through it together.