It’s no secret that nonprofit marketers wear a few too many hats — hats that you probably don’t get to take off to focus all of your attention on a new website. And yet, you jump into a website project when your site starts getting in the way of your nonprofit’s success in other areas, like marketing, fundraising and engaging your community.
We know how important it is for organizations to be able to create and launch a new website quickly so that your team can use it to work toward your goals and move your mission forward.
There are a variety of ways to speed up a website project’s timeline before you start, like selecting the right partner, thinking ahead about tools you’ll need to connect to the website, and getting your technical accounts in order.
But if you’re past the point of preparation, there are still ways to get your nonprofit to launch day faster.
Ways to Launch a New Website Faster
It can be tough to see beyond the website building process, but I promise you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. These tips should help you see it faster.
Let go of perfection
The number one obstacle to launch that we see with our nonprofit clients is this idea that your website has to be perfect before you can launch it. Get out of your own way! As long as you’ve put together a quality site and can easily make updates after it’s live, there’s no need for small tweaks to the content to slow you down.
- Waiting on a few images? You can start with stock photos and add your photos after launch.
- Waffling on call to action (CTA) messaging? Give the CTA your best shot and use website data or an A/B testing tool, like Google Optimize, to make changes after launch.
- Are a couple of team members dragging their feet on reviewing the site? They can do that after launch, too.
We’d never recommend launching a half-baked website with things like blank pages or a confusing structure, but we also do not recommend delaying launch for small or inconsequential reasons that your supporters are unlikely to notice or care about. Don’t let perfect become the enemy of great.
You can always make changes once your website is live. After launch, you can use website data and feedback from your community to make informed changes that will actually help your marketing efforts.
Focus on the essentials
When a dated site is standing in the way of your organization’s goals, simplifying your new website initially is a great way to get to launch faster. A small, simple site can still do wonders for your nonprofit’s marketing and communications efforts, especially if it’s your organization’s first website, or if your current website is in such rough shape that you’re not even sending visitors there for information anymore.
You can then build on that simple version with additions like new pages, forms or tools after your site is live. Focus on giving your supporters, community and clients the need-to-know details first, launching the site, and then building it out with nice-to-have details and features as you have capacity down the road.
For example, we’ve seen nonprofit clients launch with a simple 5-page website and a donation form in a matter of weeks. They were then able to use the new site for their fundraising and community support efforts while they worked on building out additional content and pages to provide visitors the complete picture of all the ways they help and opportunities to get involved.
- Do your services have lots of different pieces, facets or variations? Start with a simple “What We Do” page and build out new pages for all of the different pieces after launch.
- Planning to build out a new program page but waiting on final details? Wait until after launch to publish.
- Want new clients or community members to apply through an online form? Start by listing contact information and build the form after launch.
- Considering starting an email newsletter? Get your new site live before selecting an email service, connecting it to your site to collect email addresses and adding a monthly newsletter to your to-do list.
Building out your nice-to-have forms or features down the road doesn’t mean you necessarily lose out on help from your website partner. Many website partners either include or offer some type of website support to help clients with additions after launch. It’s worth a conversation to see what’s possible with your partner!
When your old site is holding your nonprofit back, starting simple at launch and building your site out over time can help get you closer to your goals in both the short and long term.
Spread the workload around
Delegate, delegate, delegate! Being the point person for the website project is a big responsibility, but it doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. Pull in other members of your team, or even interns or savvy volunteers, to help with things like writing and editing content, tracking down photos or testing forms.
To ensure a consistent look across your website, especially with lots of helpers, consider creating and using a style guide to keep track of design, formatting and content decisions.
If you need even more help or others on your team aren’t able to pitch in on the website project, consider outsourcing certain tasks to freelancers through services like Upwork for things like graphic design, content writing, formatting or any other area where a freelancer might be able to help.
Working with freelancers can help you save time and brain power to allow you to move the project along in other areas. Plus, you’ll be able to pull in experts in areas where you feel less comfortable working yourself.
Create deadlines for each stage of the project
I am personally and professionally very motivated by deadlines. Instead of one big final deadline to launch a new website, consider giving yourself smaller deadlines for various stages of the project to keep things on track along the way.
For example, you may have deadlines for the following:
- Finalizing your website structure
- Writing all of your content
- Building forms and connecting integrations
- Formatting and building out pages
- Working through testing, final checks and reviews
You get the picture. For every big piece of the website project, give yourself a deadline to keep your team on track and motivated toward launch.
And once the plan is in place, check out our tips for nonprofit marketing project management and ways to keep your plan on track.
Communicate goals and the timeline
Goals, deadlines and timelines are only motivating and helpful when all of the people involved in your project know about them. Share your website goals and timeline with your team and website partner, especially if your desired launch date has a special significance for your organization, like being able to promote an upcoming event. This way, you can all be accountable for keeping things moving together.
The process to launch a new website is never as easy as many think it will be, but it also does not need to be as difficult as many nonprofit marketers make it. Use these tips to keep your website project on track and get your new website live and working toward your organization’s goals faster.
Are you in the midst of a website project and looking for opportunities to speed up your launch? Feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done before that day can come? Let’s problem solve together in the comments section below.