In our last blog post, we talked about how to implement the Pareto Principle in your grant writing work.
Today, we’re talking about your nonprofit’s website and how you could really think of this post as a Pareto Principle, Part 2 post.
As a quick recap, the Pareto Principle states that roughly 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. That means that as long as you are doing the right activities that account for that 20%, you can still get out-of-this-world results that look like you’re doing much, much more. I already gave you my Pareto list for grant writing.
Today, I’m going to give you my list of the top 3 activities you should do for your nonprofit’s website this year.
You’re super busy and I get that, but if you only did these 3 things you would still be ahead of the game and your org would be better off than it was last year! So which 3 web development activities made my list? Read on to find out what they are and how to implement them for yourself…
#1: Enable & Simplify Online Donations & Sales
If it isn’t simple, intuitive and fast for website visitors to make a quick donation, buy a ticket, register for a class, or become a member (or whatever earns your org money), then you can bet you are missing out on revenue.
The sad reality is that if your website visitors can’t figure out how to make the donation or buy something or it takes too long to do it, they’ll quit and move on. Don’t lose these opportunities. Instead, make sure that you’ve made the process as easy as possible by…
- Placing a prominent, hard-to-miss donation button on the homepage and other relevant pages of your website
- Making sure all pages of your website, but especially the pages soliciting and processing donations/sales, load lightning fast (under 3 seconds is best)
- Using a donation/payment processing form that is super easy to understand and use and processes payments quickly (hint: try testing or using it yourself to get a feel for what a user’s actual experience will be on the website)
If you don’t already have the ability to accept donations and payments on your website (or you do, but aren’t happy with how it all works), this is one area where it’s well worth a few bucks to have a web developer set it up properly. You should make this money back year after year!
#2: Update & Simplify the Site
Have you ever gone to a website that had so many pages, subpages, and menu items that you had no idea where to find the information you were looking for? I’m certain you have had this experience, because sadly, there are tons of overgrown, needlessly complicated websites out there in internetland.
In 99.9% of cases, it’s necessary to have such a huge website. And large websites have a tendency to confuse and overwhelm visitors, driving them to leave without learning more about your org, making a donation, or engaging in any other way. That’s not what you want so my advice is to take a hard look at your website and simplify as much as possible.
Specifically, do this:
- Combine pages with information and content that is relevant or intertwined into one page
- Look at your individual pages and reduce text if it’s too wordy. Add photos, graphics, and videos where possible to break up text and help you tell your story visually
- Delete outdated, irrelevant, or infrequently visited pages altogether
- Reorganize your navigation menu so that it’s as simple and intuitive as possible
- Make sure menu headings are simple, straightforward, and tell visitors exactly what is on that page
Do that, and then take a look at your newly edited site again. Better yet, have someone else take a look and give you feedback on your new simplified site with an eye towards further simplification and making it even easier to use.
#3: Install a SSL Certificate
In today’s world, people are more concerned than ever with security and privacy. And it’s easy to understand why. Every time you turn around it seems like you’re hearing about another security breach where people’s credit card and banking information was stolen or websites were caught collecting sensitive information for less-than-savory purposes.
Although it’s not a cure-all, you should absolutely have a SSL certificate installed on your website to help combat these issues. A SSL certificate encrypts sensitive data collected on your website such as names, addresses, payment information, and more. This helps protect people from having their information stolen or used in ways that they wouldn’t want. And since it’s really easy to tell if a website has one or not, many users are choosing not to donate or make purchases on websites without a SSL certificate.
By the way, here’s how you tell if a website has one. Below is a screenshot of my website. In the URL bar you can clearly see a tiny lock, which I’ve circled and used an arrow to draw attention to:
No padlock icon = no SSL. You can also tell by the URL prefix. If the URL starts with ‘https’, it has a SSL certificate. If it starts with ‘http’, then there’s no SSL on that website.
If you don’t want to miss out on revenue, then you need to install one like…yesterday. Luckily, they are easy to install and usually cheap. Most good web hosts offer them free along with your hosting account and they can usually be installed with a single click.
There are lots of things that can be done to improve a website, but if you’re a busy nonprofit professional who’s stretched thin then you can focus on just these three things this year and still get great results!
And if you need some help getting it done, remember that you can always give me a call. 🙂