By A. Elliot Olson, Lead Web Strategist at Studio Anansi — website designs and digital strategies to empower mission-driven organizations and drive real results.
Your website is your nonprofit’s digital home. It represents you online 24/7, bringing your work to life and motivating supporters.
Ready to improve your nonprofit’s online presence? A Website Wellness Exam will help you boost the health of your website and identify areas for growth.
Here are 5 steps to ensure that your nonprofit website is healthy, engaging, and converting online visitors into dedicated supporters.
1) Update Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Each page on your website should have a job. Some webpages explain your mission. Others collect emails for your newsletter or drive donations. Place CTAs strategically to engage your audience and fulfill each page’s goal.
CTAs may lead visitors to a free download, email signup list, or webinar registration. These CTAs are valuable opportunities to guide visitors through your site. Each one must be functional and aligned with your organizational brand and voice.
Broken links and outdated CTAs are quick ways to erode trust and discourage online visitors. I sometimes review nonprofit websites with links to missing pages and articles that are many years old.
Check that your CTAs are up-to-date and working properly. CTAs should also match your nonprofit branding and tone. Ensure that buttons and links use your organizational colors and fonts, purposefully guiding visitors through your website.
Consistent branding and clear placement bring attention to CTAs on the charity:water website.
2) Boost Site Speed
Your website has only a few seconds to make an impression. Today’s visitors expect webpages to load quickly on all devices. Over 50% of mobile visitors will leave if a webpage doesn’t load in just 3 seconds.
Slow loading times frustrate your visitors and encourage them to abandon your site. In contrast, fast load times lead to better online experiences and build audience trust.
There’s another reason to pay attention to your website loading speed. Google uses page speed to rank search results, and slow loading times can decrease your search result rank.
In general, your site should load in 2 seconds or faster. Yet I routinely encounter nonprofit websites that take 4, 10, or even 20 seconds to load. Oftentimes, these sites are bogged down by large images, unnecessary plugins, and outdated pages that waste resources.
If your site is loading slowly, start by looking at the website content. Remove unused plugins, extra themes, and extraneous page elements.
3) Optimize for Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is increasingly important for website credibility and traffic. Investing time in SEO is well worth the effort, as the benefits of strong SEO can benefit your website for years.
Social media algorithms change overnight. Paid advertising drops off as soon as you stop paying. In contrast, a solid SEO strategy can bring you valuable website traffic for years to come.
Over one billion people use Google’s products and services, and there are over 2 trillion Google searches per year worldwide. When your nonprofit appears in searches, are you sure the results are accurate?
To test your website search results, open an incognito browser window. Search for your nonprofit name. If you have a non-distinct name, search for your name and location. Which pages appear in search results? What content displays alongside the top results?
If you don’t like the results of your search, there are steps you can take to improve your search results. Depending on what type of website you have (such as Squarespace or WordPress), you can update search content directly in the website dashboard.
4) Check Mobile Responsiveness
No Website Wellness Exam is complete without a thorough review via smartphone. Over 50% of all web traffic is on mobile devices. By 2025, over 72% of internet users will access the web solely via smartphones.
To best engage mobile visitors, your site should adapt to different screen sizes via responsive design. Besides improving user experience and website SEO, responsive design makes donations 34% more likely on nonprofit websites.
Test your website for responsive design by visiting webpages on different devices. Do pages automatically resize to fit the screen? Is the navigation clear and natural? Can you easily see the text and images?
The Nature Conservancy website engages mobile visitors by adapting to different screen sizes.
5) Review Security
The final step for your Website Wellness Exam isn’t as public-facing, but it’s just as vital. The nuts and bolts of your website are equally as important as your visible content. If your website isn’t secure, you could be leaving yourself and your supporters open to cyberattacks.
Backups are among the #1 top priorities I recommend to all nonprofit websites. If your content is lost or corrupted, a backup is the single best way to quickly restore your site. Many web owners overlook backups until something goes wrong. In that case, it’s too late — and a costly mistake. Without backups available, restoring a website is oftentimes a lengthy and expensive process.
After creating a backup, check for outdated themes and plugins. Delete unnecessary themes and plugins. Update all remaining themes and plugins to their latest versions.
Now is also a good time to update your passwords. If you haven’t updated your passwords in several months (or if you’re using the dreaded “123456” or “admin” passwords), follow these guidelines to improve your password strength.
Now more than ever, your website is crucial to your nonprofit success. A comprehensive Website Wellness Exam can identify pain points and shed light on growth opportunities.
These five steps are part of a complete Website Wellness Exam. Completing them will help boost your website health. If you’re ready for a full review, enter here for the chance to win a free Website Wellness Exam.
Ready to boost your nonprofit’s digital presence?
Elliot Olson, Lead Web Strategist at Studio Anansi, is passionate about helping mission-driven organizations reach new audiences with websites that drive real results. She specializes in building world-class websites following SEO best practices and UX principles. Get in touch at studioanansi.com and enter here for the chance to win a free Website Wellness Exam.