Is Your Association of Thinking of Redesigning Its Web Presence? Here are 5 quick things your team should be thinking about.
Websites are particularly important to associations because:
- Recruiting new members: Potential members get their first impression of the association from the website. Plus, it’s the venue they’ll seek out to find information about the association. An old, out of date and poorly designed website may dissuade these visitors from contacting the membership team.
- Retaining current members: Your website can help you retain members if they see the website as an important portal, one that they visit frequently to read the latest news and to correspond with other members.
- Education and credibility: A well built website that is visible to the search engines provides credibility to your association and provides valuable support to the mission of your association – educating members and potential members and generally being a voice and thought leader.
If your association’s website isn’t meeting these objectives, then it’s time to consider redesigning your website. Based on our experience of helping associations of all sizes re-launch their websites, Wakefly has identified 5 important questions you should ask yourself before you embark on a web redesign project.
- Why am I investing in this project?This question may seem obvious, but we speak with many people who reach out to us to redesign their website and haven’t fully thought out or articulated the specific reasons for redesigning their website.Some of the more popular (and legitimate) reasons for redesigning one’s website are:
- “We want our website to do a better job at helping us recruit new members. We have matured as an association and now offer new services and have a ton of new content to share. The current site simply does not represent who we are today and the image we want to project into the marketplace.”
- “We want to do a better job of engaging our membership and encouraging them to repeatedly visit our association’s website. Version 1 of our website was brochure ware. We’re now ready to take advantage of new web technologies and add functionality to the site.”
- What is the key functionality to make the site a success?Prior to beginning a web redesign project, specific goals need to be articulated; goals that will be judged against actuality once the site goes live to determine if the project was successful. Once the goals are defined, they need to be tied to functionality that will be built on the site.For example, if one goal of the site is to encourage potential members to spend more time on the site, then functionality that employs navigation that minimizes clicks, such as drop downs off the main navigation bar and a robust site search feature, need to be implemented.
- How is the site going to be maintained and by whom?Gone are the days of a simple, static site that, once launched, is ignored. Furthermore, no longer do you need to rely on your IT team or your web agency to maintain your site. A content management system allows you to do it yourself.
- What offers should you provide to encourage visitors to contact you?Take an inventory of your white papers, videos, case studies, report, events and other valuable content, and make sure you have a complete library of offerings.
- How will I know that the website is performing well?Consider marketing automation tools that will, among other things, identify leads that you didn’t even know about. Integrate all forms with your customer relationship management system for closed loop reporting and assurance that all leads are followed up on. Employ a web analytics tool to identify visitor behavior, data that is incredibly helpful for ongoing tweaks and improvements.If you want to learn more tips to successfully launch a new website, read our toolkit on web development and online marketing best practices.