5 Questions to Ask to Improve Every Page of Your Nonprofit’s Website

Questions to Improve Nonprofit Website

There’s a common misconception out there that the vast majority of traffic to your website will land on your homepage.  If your nonprofit has a site with more than a few pages about a variety of topics, this likely isn’t the case.  If you have a large website or a blog, this is almost definitely not the case.

In fact, many people are shocked by the number of visitors landing on a page other than their homepage.  But when you think about the way people come to your website, it actually makes a lot of sense.  Search engines often send web surfers to specific subpages that closely match what they searched for.  And many websites that link to your site will link to targeted subpages, thus sending referral traffic to those subpages.

Most homepages are very broad, trying to reach the general audience that may see it.  Subpages are usually much more targeted and often better match the needs of people in search of specific pieces of information.

Many nonprofits try to optimize their homepages to drive visitors to take action.  But it’s important to consider those visitors that are landing on some other page of your site.  Asking yourself the following questions will help prompt a visitor to act regardless of which page they land on.

1. Is it immediately clear what your nonprofit does?

We often see nonprofits using their mission statements on their homepage.  But what if a visitor lands on your blog?  Will they know what you do?

Make sure they know what you do no matter where they enter your website.  Maybe you add a condensed mission statement in the sidebar.  Or perhaps a descriptive, inspirational tagline in the header.

Whatever you decide is right for your nonprofit, make sure a visitor will know what you’re all about regardless of the page they’re on.

2. Is it clear you’re a nonprofit?

The last thing you want is to lose a potential donor because they weren’t 100% certain your nonprofit is a registered 501(c)3 organization.  Don’t make a potential donor hunt for this kind of information.

At the very least, put this information prominently on your donation page.  Even better, put it on your About page and in your footer.  By including it in your footer, you can remove any shadow of a doubt about your legal status no matter where a visitor is on your site.

3. Is related information easy to find?

If a visitor is interested in who you are and what you’re doing, you need to ensure additional information is easy for them to find.  Prioritize related info you think they’ll find interesting.

It’s amazing how far a few website navigation best practices can carry you on this front.  A thoughtful website navigation will help your visitors find the information they’re looking for regardless of how they enter your site.

4. Is it easy for visitors to take action?

Hopefully you’ve identified clear website goals.  Since you never know when a visitor will decide they’re ready to take action in support of your nonprofit, make sure it’s easy for them to do so from any page.

I’m not just talking about your donate button here.  Yes, that’s important.  But think about what other actions a visitor on a given page would likely be interested in.  If it’s a blog post all about volunteering, make it easy for them to sign up to volunteer or add their name to your email list for volunteer opportunities.  If it’s an emotional story about a member of your community, send your visitor to a page about the various ways they can make a difference.

Don’t simply bank on everyone clicking your donate button in the header.  Give them other ways to get involved that are tailored to the page they’re on.

5. What’s the goal of this page?

Relatedly, think about the ideal outcome for each page of your website.  For some pages, it’ll be an actual conversion (such as a visitor making a donation on your Donation page or signing up to volunteer on your Volunteer Events page).

For other pages though, a conversion won’t be the immediate goal.  If a website visitor is on a blog post about the ways in which you’re helping the community, they (likely) can’t make a donation directly from that page.  But perhaps you want them to click a link to a page dedicated to ways they can help.  You’ll want to include this link a few times and make clicking it attractive with a clear call to action.

Pick your goal for a page and focus on driving visitors towards successfully completing it.  I’m not advocating popups or flashing banners.  Just make important information easier to find.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, thoughtfully answering these five questions will help you in your efforts to connect with visitors and drive them to act.

Do you take the time to think through the purpose of each page on your website?  Have you seen a nonprofit that’s clearly thoughtful about each page of their website?  I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Related Reads

4 Pages Your Nonprofit Website Should Include

Leveraging Your Mission Statement On Your Website

6 Website Navigation Best Practices

One Question That Leads to Happier Website Visitors

3 Tips for a Better Donate Button on Your Website

Image courtesy of Matthew Hutchinson, Flickr

David Hartstein is one of the co-founders at Wired Impact and spends most of his time helping nonprofits tell their story in a way that'll inspire action. He used to teach elementary school and often walks around barefoot. You can catch up with David on Twitter at @davharts.

2 Comments on “5 Questions to Ask to Improve Every Page of Your Nonprofit’s Website

  1. 1 Crispin Read March 7, 2013

    Nice post David, the first point is a real bugbear of mine.

    There are page elements like the header and footer that are on every page so why not use them? If I have come to a site via a link from a blog post or a social platform, I really need to know the position of what I am reading to make proper sense of it – that can so easily be achieved just by adding a mission statement or slogan in the header. Then I am able to understand the context of the page or post in relation to the main messaging of the organisation.

    Without that context and positioning it is going to be a real leap for me to have the confidence to act on any call to action that might be in the post or elsewhere on the page – sign a petition / make a donation / share the post on Twitter…

    1. 2 David Hartstein March 7, 2013

      Thanks a lot Crispin. I definitely agree with you about the importance of clarity around a nonprofit’s mission. If I don’t know what they’re all about, the likelihood of me taking action to support them drops significantly.

      Thanks for your comment.

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