Your Website Health Check: Part 1 | npENGAGE

Your Website Health Check: Part 1

By on Jan 18, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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When was the last time you stood back and tried to evaluate the performance of your organizations website? If you’ve fallen into the trap of letting your website take care of itself, now is the perfect time to take a look at what’s really going on, and to make any necessary changes.

To get started, pull all of the key staff members responsible for the website together for few minutes and consider:

  1. What are they key goals of your organization?
  2. What are the key goals of your website?
  3. Do the goals of your organisation and website align?
  4. Is your website actively helping you to achieve your organisational goals?

If you find yourself answering no or ‘could be better’ to the above questions, then you should consider undertaking a website health check. A website health check overviews every aspect of your website to determine how it is supporting your overall mission.

Some key elements that you should to consider in your website health check are:

Your audience(s)

Do you know who your audience is? Do you have more than one core audience? In order to determine how successful your website is, you first need to work out who your audience(s) are, as well as their needs.

Beyond this, you need to consider the reasons why your website was initially established. What is your website aiming to achieve? Has this changed over time? And does this aim align with the audiences you believe you are catering to?

Finally, are the audiences coming to your website the same as the audiences you believe are coming to the site?

Your content

Once you have determined your aims and your actual audiences, have  a good look at the content on your website. Is it catering to the needs of your audience? Is it reflecting your organisation in the best light?

Your audience will visit your website because they find your content interesting and relevant. If you would like to improve the amount of first time and repeat visits to your website, consider using a content strategy.

Beware falling into the trap of populating your site with the same content as every other website you see. You need to convey relevant and useful information to your audience, but you don’t need to replicate every other website out there. Consider doing things differently. Perhaps you could pull in your social media properties and create a social media newsroom? Or perhaps your site could be enhanced by less text and more online video?

Your website’s tone & copy

Talk to your audience, not at your audience. Ensure that your website encourages conversation where relevant, and doesn’t start every sentence with ‘At x organisation’, or ‘X organisation…’. For more details on your copy, please my last post (does your website make sense?)

Allow your organisation to sound like a person, rather than a brand. Consider what type of person your organisation would be if they were a person. Would they be compassionate? Fun? Serious? Quirky? If you can get a picture in your head of what your organisation would look/sound like as a person, ensure that your copy reflects this personality. Write as they would write.

Your information architecture

Take a look at the structure of your website. Does it make sense to your audience? Have you buried any pages 4 or more layers deep into your menus? Is it easy to find crucial elements such as your home page, relevant opportunities and your online donation processes? Are the links between pages consistent? Is your audience likely to navigate into certain areas of your site and become stuck? Why?

Your website’s traffic

How many people are visiting your website?  How long are they hanging around for? How many return? You should be aiming to have visitors engage with your website for 2 minutes or more so that they can get a real sense of your organisation.

You should also be aiming for a bounce rate of under 30%. Bounce rates above this 30% mark indicate that your content is not engaging a large chunk of users who land on your website.

Information such as this plus much more can be found by using a free Google Analytics account.

How is your website faring so far? Part 2 of the healthcheck will be published next week.

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