Is Your Website Really Up-to-Date?

Psst! Your website isn’t “done” when it goes live.

That’s because your organization is ever-evolving, changing. And your website should reflect that change…a fluid story rather than as a static picture.

Your donor’s behavior is also constantly changing. In the age of the “self-directed consumer,” it’s critical to ensure your web presence is intuitive, easy to navigate and is actionable.

A fresh website suggests authority, engagement, vitality and care. Would you feel good about donating to an organization that has posted events that happened a year ago or kept a planned giving page with broken links or outdated information up?

Work & Web Habits That Help Keep Your Website Up-to-Date:

Keep it simple. Do what works for you and your staff.

Good life advice and also about web updating. Be realistic and honest about what you and your staff can and can’t do. No staff—or willpower—to keep up with a blog? Then don’t. It’s better to not have one than to have one that you last posted in 2014. More likely to tweet or post to Facebook? Then focus on integrating social media feeds into your homepage—and stick with that as you begin your pledge to stay current.  What we’re saying here is play to your team’s strengths. Start small and decide what you can do, and more important, stick to it.

Get that editorial calendar up and running. And stick to it. (See a theme here?)

Think of your editorial calendar like you would a family calendar with color-coded instructions. Everyone gets a bird’s-eye view of who’s doing what, when and why. Without it, you’re all running around like a chicken, clucking last-minute orders.

Start simple, and if you don’t already have a calendar, here are some ideas:

  • Set up an internal one using Google Docs or an Excel spreadsheet (like we use for Stelter Insights) and share it with everyone involved. Several companies, like HubSpot, offer calendar templates online, but you may have to fill out a form—and get on their email list—to get to them.
  • Plan out calendar topics/deadlines/authors annually, or at least 6 months out, around curated topics that tie back to your organization and your website’s mission and goals.
  • You can also schedule when you want things to go up and come down, and some pages let you automatically set published dates. Others you have to do it manually.

Your planned giving pages are the workhorses. Take care of them. 

Yes, a homepage is your calling card. (In fact, once a page loads, users quickly form an opinion about your group and your site and will leave in about 10 seconds if it doesn’t clearly assert value, according to the NN Group.) But it’s those interior planned giving pages that contain key information about your nonprofit, like mission and how to give, that really complete your story and get users to take action. These planned giving pages also tend to show up on search engine results more because of the unique content. Put your focus here if time is limited to ensure key dates and event happenings are current.

Audit, audit, audit.

Okay, we prefer “review.” This isn’t the IRS, after all. You might think your website meets your criteria—and looks pretty darn good to boot. But you just might be too close to it.

Invite everyone in your organization to do an internal web audit periodically. If you don’t think they’ll follow through with an overall online review, assign one to three pages or one section. Collect all feedback into one document divided up according to your website sections.

After the internal audience review and feedback changes (that you’ve approved) have been incorporated into your site, gather a group of trusted external audience members: board of directors, vendors, even friends or family, and have them do an informal review. Sometimes an outside perspective helps.

What tips or approaches have you found to be helpful in keeping your website current and fresh?  We’re always searching for new solutions and better ways to work, so feel free to share yours.

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