Yes, it’s possible to launch a new website with the power to grow your marketing and mission in less than two months. It’s a tight website timeline, especially for a nonprofit marketer working on the project solo, but it is more than doable with the right approach.
Building a new website does not have to be expensive or complex. It doesn’t have to drag on for a year. And it doesn’t have to take up all of your team’s time. If your organization doesn’t have complex needs to justify the time and price tag that a custom-built website requires, like a membership system or complicated resource library, there are other options to accomplish your digital marketing goals through a new website.
A two-month timeline is not reasonable for a custom-built website — a site designed and built from scratch, likely with the help of a web design agency. Enter: the nonprofit website platform.
The Nonprofit Website Platform Approach
Nonprofit website platforms typically include nonprofit-specific tools or features that can be easily added to your site, like online donations, a volunteer management system or an event system. Through the website building process, you’ll select a design from a list of website themes and then customize your new website with your branding colors, logo and content.
With the design and tools pre-built, your organization is able to save time and money by jumping straight into content for the site.
Heading into the Project Prepared
To help a tight website timeline go as planned, preparation is key. Get ready for an upcoming project ahead of time by getting your technical accounts in order and identifying the content you’ll need to have ready by the time you launch. These resources should come in handy for the content side of things:
- Common Website Structures for Nonprofits
- The Beginner’s Guide to Nonprofit Website Content
- Essential Web Page Content for Nonprofits
With your technical accounts and content prepped, you may even be able to shave a few weeks off of a two-month website timeline. I’ve seen a nonprofit launch in just four weeks!
Two-Month Website Timeline
The following 8-week website timeline works for organizations building a simple website with a nonprofit website platform that helps with pieces of the initial set-up.
The timeline outlines what your team should accomplish each week, along with what a website partner might help you out with in order to launch your site less than two months from beginning your project. I’ve used our website platform at Wired Impact and the support that we provide during the initial build-out process as a baseline, but aspects of the timeline can still work no matter which website partner you choose.
At the start of your project, you’ll decide on a website theme and the nonprofit features you’d like to use on the new website. Send along your logo and branding so that your partner can customize your new site for you.
At this point, you’ll likely need to provide access to any technical account information needed to set-up your website and integrate it with the tools that your organization uses — things like a domain name, analytics account, email service or donor management system.
You’ll end the week with a test (or staging) website with your chosen design and features that you can begin to build out. If your website partner offers a free website trial, you may have already made some headway on the test site going into the project and gained some extra time to think through and build out the content.
Your website partner may use this week to set up your website’s integrations if you’ve gathered and sent along all of the necessary technical account details.
You’ll dive into finalizing the website structure (the pages of your site and how they’re organized) that you’ll need. Remember to focus on the essentials to start. A simple structure can grow with you over time and will prevent your team from getting overwhelmed, keeping the launch schedule on track.
If your partner provides support with finalizing your structure, you may have a call to discuss it. With our process, our team helps set-up the necessary pages in their recommended placement on the test site. Or, you can create and organize these pages yourself.
At this point, the site is yours to start entering and formatting your content. This is also a great opportunity to request any website content or information from others, offering clear due dates for when you’ll need it to stay on track.
These weeks should be dedicated to writing, entering and formatting your nonprofit’s website content. Lean on your website platform’s support content and send along questions to your partner as you go to ensure you get the look and feel that you’d like on your new site.
To save time, you can repurpose content you already have either on your current site or elsewhere as a starting point. Remember that the content on your website doesn’t need to be 100% perfect in order to launch. Get it in good shape and make ongoing improvements as you see the need — both before and after launch.
Focus on the features of your website this week. If you’ll have volunteer opportunities, build them out in your volunteer system. If you’ll promote events at launch, set up your upcoming events in the event system. Carrying over blog posts from your current site? You’ll need to set those up this week, too.
If you’ll need to build any custom forms on the site, like a contact form or program application form, you can tackle those this week. If not, use this time to wrap up any lingering items from building out your website content.
Some website plans may also include formatting help. This is a great time to send along that list of pages that could use an expert’s touch to get them polished and ready for prime time.
This week should be spent reviewing and revising, making any of the changes needed to prepare for launch. You’ll test your donation form and any other forms or features on your site to make sure that they work as you’d expect.
Give your partner the green light for launch! They’ll (hopefully) set up redirects and get your new website live.
Now the time comes for your team to rock your happy dance and begin using your new site to promote your mission and reach your marketing goals.
While we weren’t able to include every conversation, consideration and task that may or may not go into building a new website for your specific organization, this website timeline should give you a good idea of what’s possible with a nonprofit website platform.
Download the Launch Checklist
Download our timeline in the form of a launch checklist to help your organization stay on track for an eight-week website launch.
Staying on schedule often comes down to your team’s motivation and capacity, so do your best to go in prepared and have a plan for accomplishing all you need to within each week. And if you get stuck at any point, consider these ways to speed up your project.
Has your organization launched a website quickly? Any tips or additions to our two-month website timeline? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.