Thinking of pulling the plug on your current association website? There’s a lot to consider before making the dive. Here are three tips to help chart your course.
1. Define why you need a new website.
Often, association professionals lament that their organization’s website is “outdated,” or, in even more vague terms, “horrible.” However, “outdated” and “horrible” do little to set the tone for what you hope to accomplish with a new site.
Be as specific as possible when determining why you want to redesign your website. For example, instead of saying “outdated,” note that your site lacks mobile compatibility. Instead of saying that your site is “horrible,” look at the things that frustrate you, whether it’s difficult navigation, a homepage that doesn’t give the flexibility needed to promote the organization’s top priorities, a back-end that makes updates harder than they should be, or having too many sub-pages.
By defining the problems with the current site in concrete terms, you can ensure that your new website will not repeat the same mistakes.
2. Determine what is most important to your end users, and prioritize these items.
Many associations struggle with too many programs and competing priorities. When it comes to launching a website, these struggles have to be faced head-on. Do your research to determine what it is that your users are looking for most frequently on your site. Google Analytics is an excellent (free) tool to give insight on which pages are most popular.
This data can show you exactly which pages should receive top priority on your new site. Don’t make users spend too much time looking for what they need; by placing it front and center, you can be sure they have a better user experience and spend more time on your site.
Of course, there will still be other pages that are necessary, but may not draw as much attention as the ones above. It’s okay to keep these pages on your site, but leave the most valuable real estate to the high-priority pages.
3. Make a plan to keep content fresh after launch.
Once your new site is ready, how will you keep users coming back? How do you ensure that the site doesn’t become “outdated” again quickly?
Begin planning now for how you want to handle updates after the site launches. This could include a periodic review of all content on the site to remove information that is no longer needed (for example, events that have already wrapped up), a plan for how often homepage images will be updated, and checks-and-balances to ensure that the content that is on the site is still current.
By utilizing these three tips, you will be ready to launch a website that will better serve your organization and its members.
P.S. Notice something new at www.raybourn.com?