It’s not surprising that an association website is one of the major touchpoints your members have with your organization. Having an online presence with curb appeal can impress your potential members. A smooth user experience and fresh content can keep your veteran members engaged and interested. Like a house, a website needs commitment and maintenance to keep all of the moving pieces in good repair. Knowing when your online home needs a refresh, major remodel or rebuilding from the ground up can be difficult to determine. No one wants to commit to a major remodel when a fresh coat of paint will do! Using the same mentality as a major building project, we put together a list of considerations to help you figure out the best approach to upgrading your online presence.
A website can be straightforward and simple, or it can be a complex ecosystem of intertwined services. Digging into the nitty-gritty details and identifying where the major pain points are with your current website will clarify the decision-making process. We’ve broken down the common complaints we’ve heard over and over from clients over the years. The more categories your organization can relate to, the more likely starting from scratch may be the right approach. Seeing a trend in one category? You may be able to accomplish a significant upgrade with the right “remodel” team.
This is the foundation of your website: your website is a collection of code that lives on a server. Like a real foundation, if the codebase isn’t properly maintained and problems are not addressed in a timely fashion, it can have major repercussions down the road.
- Website coding is out-of-date or can’t be updated
- Security issues needing to be addressed
- Can’t find developer to work on website
- Authentication between website/AMS is broken: data does not flow between, or data appears to be inaccurate
- Website performance is slow
- Unstable codebase: fixing one problem creates another
Whether written copy, images, documents, or videos make up the majority of your website content, keeping all of it accurate and relevant to your audience can quickly grow into a large task. While this should be the easiest area to address, barriers like staff skill set, clunkiness of the admin user interface, and other staff priorities can make addressing content concerns an overwhelming undertaking.
- Content is out of date
- Content can’t be updated without developer assistance
- Information architecture needs reorganization
- Lots of broken internal and external links
While each of these could easily be its own category, this broadly encompasses how a user gets to your site, what kind of information you collect about them, and what you do with the data you collect.
- Search engine ranking results need improvement
- Hard to track data/No website data being collected
- GDPR/CCPA compliance updates needed
- Content needs SEO optimization
Visual Design and User Experience
The visual design of a website goes hand in hand with user experience. There is a strong correlation between a website looking really good and how user-friendly it is. Keeping the visual design of a website consistent over time and consistent with current best practices can be a daunting task.
- Website looks out of date
- Your organization has rebranded, but your website doesn’t follow new brand standards
- Website doesn’t follow accessibility best practices for color contrast, button sizing, etc.
- Visual design is not mobile friendly
- Needs improvements to navigation: lots of unlinked pages, takes many clicks to get to needed information
- Users find completing tasks difficult and confusing
Processes and Features
Having a list of standard operating procedures can help you identify ways to streamline your organization’s processes. On the member side, a list of common tasks and activities that members expect to perform will help you prioritize features that are must-haves.
- Staff are not able to efficiently perform tasks
- Members need staff support to complete many of their needed tasks
- Website does not have needed features, or features are not as robust as desired
- Many software/services are strung together resulting in disjointed experiences for both staff and members
- Identify operating procedures that are currently being performed outside of your website/AMS: this may be an opportunity for streamlining
We hope these short lists of common website issues help your organization articulate the scope of your next website project whether it is a little refresh or a complete overhaul. When you’re ready to start, Nonprofit Resources is here to help you with your organization’s website. We offer full-service website design, staff to keep your website content fresh, and pre-project consulting.