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These 7 Questions Will Keep Your Nonprofit Website Redesign Project from Failing Miserably


That's the percentage of your website visitors that read your website word-by-word according to Neilsen. The rest skim.

If you’re thinking about a website redesign or second-guessing the one you just completed, you’re reading this at the perfect time. It’s time to hit delete on all those paragraphs that nobody reads about how great your cause is and how many programs you offer.

Building a website isn't about what you and your directors want to see, it's actually quite the opposite. What matters is the website experiences your audience wants have and the path they'll take from visitor on your website to contact in your database.

It's time to build your website with your audience and conversions in mind. To do this, you need to start by defining your goals and then working backwards to the starting page.

Question 1: What’s the best possible outcome when someone visits your website?

Answer: Your answer is probably: a completed online donation, an event registration, a membership registration, or a volunteer sign up.

Explanation: The finish line on your website is a thank you page that acknowledges your visitor for signing up, donating, registering, or subscribing. Build a 'thank you page' for every successful form completed. NP Tech For Good has a few great ideas for thank you pages, but here's an additional one:

Add a matching gift widget to your 'thank you page,' so that your new donor can find their employer's matching gift information and submit it for your organization! It's an easy way to 2x your donation without much extra effort.

Question 2: How will someone convert from a visitor to a contact in your database?

Answer: By completing a donation, event, membership, or subscription form on a landing page.

Explanation: Arguably, the most important page on your website is the landing page. If you build your website with conversions in mind, then you'll put a lot of effort into making your donation, event registration, or sign up forms conversion optimized.

MarketingProfs.com advises that each part of a landing page has one job.

  • Headline: Keep arriving visitors on the page
  • Subhead: Move visitors to the body copy
  • Body Copy: Directly support the page goal (state your case for requesting a donation)
  • Social Proof: Turn naysayers into believers (quotes reflecting your mission's success)
  • Form: Get filled out (don't ask for too much information)
  • Form Button: Get clicked

On your landing pages, take away distracting header and footer navigation and focus solely on getting your web visitor to complete the form. For a breakdown of what makes a good and bad landing page, check out this unbiased assessment presidential candidate online donation pages.

Question 3: How will someone get to that landing page/form?

Answer: A Call to Action!

Explanation: Your sign up, donation, or registration pages should be no more than one click away at all times. A call to action is linked text, linked button, or linked image that takes a visitor from one page on your website to your landing pages where you can collect their information on a form. For instance: imagine a website visitor is reading about your services or programs and they’re compelled to contribute, volunteer, or sign up for help. On that service program page, you should have a bold call to action that relates to the content on that page.

Here are 2 Good Examples of website interior pages with CTAs linking to sign-up or donate pages:


Here is an example of an interior website page that misses the mark completely. Not only is there a missing image, but there is no CTA. The CTA should be a bold button or compelling image that says "Become a Corporate Ally"...

Question 4: How will you prove that you’re worthy of support?

Answer: Case study video, story, program/service pages.

Explanation: There are a number of ways to prove that your nonprofit is worthy of support. Case studies or testimonial pages of lives you've impacted should contain videos, pictures, and quotes that clearly demonstrate the difference your agency is making.

Interior web pages that explain and detail your programs and services are also necessary, especially if you provide a variety of services. However, if your cause is very singular and straightforward, you may be able to explain what you do on the home page why you deserve support on your home page. 

Question 5: What will be your visitors' first impression when they land on your website?

Answer: Probably your Home page, right?

Explanation: Use your home page to make an immediate impact and clearly communicate your impact and legitimacy through images, text, video, and design. Text-heavy details about your mission, your people, your programs, your history will make your visitors' eyes glaze over and they'll leave your page before you have the chance to convince and convert them! 

Here's a before/after example of a website that the DonorPro WebSolutions team is working on right now >>



Question 6: How will you attract people for an introduction?

Answer: Company Blog (From Search, Social, Referral Links, Direct Visits).

Explanation: To get people to your website home page for an introduction or to landing pages where you convert them, you need to find and attract them. That’s what search engine optimization, social media publishing, inbound links and your company blog are for. You get found through search engine searches, you broadcast information to your social media followers with links to your website, other websites link to information your website, or people who heard about your cause offline came directly to your site. The best way to increase the amount of people coming to your site is by publishing articles, videos, photos, and stories on your blog on a regular basis.

Here are a few blog tips for adding new donors.

Question 7: What devices will our visitors be using?

Answer: ALL OF THEM!

Explanation: There are more devices with different screen sizes being manufactured every day and it’s only going to get more complicated. That’s why your design needs to be simple and responsive so that on any device, your visitor will enjoy his or her experience on your website. More importantly, your site must be responsive so that you can convert visitors to contacts on every device, not just desktop computers! Don't know what it means to have a responsive website...click here >>.

Measuring your visitor's website experience

Now that you know how to convert visitors online, how will you be able to measure success?

I recommend two main tools. One is free, the other is cheap.

Google Analytics - You can watch YouTube videos for days about how to set up a Google Analytics account to measure web traffic, visitor flow, and referral sources. The feature I want you to set up for measuring landing page or donation page conversions is called "goal tracking." Here is an article/video that explains goal tracking that in great detail. 

HotJar - For $29/month, you can literally record and watch your web visitors browse your website. HotJar tracking code records the clicks, scrolls, mouse movements, page views, and other actions that your visitors take. These insights are invaluable for analyzing user experience, discovering weak drop off points on your site, and finding out what content is actually being consumed and what is being ignored. $29/month couldn't be spent any better than on HotJar.

Topics: Marketing