These days, a person’s first exposure with your organization will most likely be through finding your website. It is important to put your best foot forward. Not only should it look nice; but as society becomes increasingly web literate, making sure your website includes some standard items will show the viewer that you take your site seriously. Here are five of those must-haves.
- About Page
This might seem like a no-brainer, but having an about section of your site is vitally important. About Pages have become standard practice when building a site. Visitors have become accustomed to looking for them and having one will make it easy for them to learn about your organization.
Not only do you want to include the basics such as your mission statement and where you are located, but use this space to show a little personality. Perhaps add a few milestones your agency might have reached or share a few fun facts related to your mission.
While contact information can be included on a separate page, I am a big advocate of including an email address or phone number on every page, but especially on the About Page. Including it here eliminates the visitor having to search for it somewhere else on the site.
- Donate Now Button
Nonprofits wouldn’t be much if it weren’t for donations. Why not give people an easy way to donate on your website? We are living in an age where people are looking to give small amounts of money to back projects in which they believe. Just look at Kickstarter and Kiva. Both sites have become popular because they allow people to contribute small amounts of money.
Adding a Donate Now Button is one of the easiest ways to ask for a donation without trying. You can design a custom button and link it to a money collection service of your choice. Paypal is a great option as many people are already comfortable with using their services in other places on the web. Paypal has an easy-to-use Donate Now Button that can be linked to your account and set up on your site in a matter of minutes. Also, Network for Good provides a donation form that can be customized to your site and donors receive tax forms upon donation.
No matter how you choose to do it, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a Donate Now Button on your site. Make sure it appears on every page. Also, a Donate Now button can be added to email signatures and email newsletters giving people even more ways to donate.
- Social Media Links
Again, this might seem like website building 101, but I’m always surprised how many sites do not have their Facebook or Twitter accounts linked to their own websites. While having visitors come to your site is great, you want to always be on their mind so that they may one day donate or volunteer for your organization.
The best way to do this is to be active on social media sites and give website visitors a way to add you to their news feed. Having your social media sites listed in either a sidebar, header or footer is the best way to ensure that happens.
In addition, you want to give people the option to share content on your site via various social media networks. This can be done using a service such as Share This, which adds social media buttons to each blog post or page created on your site. People have become accustomed to sharing or “liking” something and then telling their friends about it. Make it easy for visitors to your site by adding these social media buttons.
- Google Analytics
This is one that will not be obvious to your site visitors, but Google Analytics is a tool that can be very useful to shaping your site. Depending on your technical knowledge, set up can be a bit tricky as it involves adding a small bit of code to your site, but once you get it up and running Google Analytics will become your best friend.
You will be able to see how people get to your site. Is it through a link from another site or are you the number one Google result for a certain search term? What posts are the most popular? What days of the week attract the most visitors? What geographic location visits your site the most?
The answers to these questions can be very surprising and useful as you make changes to your site in the future.
- Copyright Statement
Before writing anything on this subject, let me state that I am not a lawyer. With that out of the way, adding a copyright statement might be overlooked by many, but can be one of the most vital items to include on your site. Everything you create on your site is owned by the site’s owner, but by not including a copyright statement on your page you make it easy for people to repost at will without citing their sources. If a person reposts your content with citation, it is another valuable link back to your website, which helps people find out more about you.
Additionally, adding a copyright statement might help in your SEO or search engine optimization, which is what search engines use to figure out if your site is relevant to a search. An up-to-date copyright also signals that your site is fresh and that you pay attention to it. An out-of-date copyright statement is a real turn off.
Adding a copyright statement is as easy as adding “©2012 All rights reserved” to the footer of your site. I would recommend adding the name of your organization in there as well.
It doesn’t matter if you are just in the planning stages of your organization’s site or if it has had one up for a while, including these five things will only help bring more visitors to your site.