Just like your health, your website needs periodic check-ups. And like high cholesterol or blood pressure, there are a few clear indicators that your nonprofit's website requires remedial action. We want to lend you a helping hand with a checklist of 7 areas that need your attention. With this quick review, you're just steps away from a fully functioning website!
EXPIRED CALLS TO ACTION
During the end-of-year fundraising push we help our nonprofit partners upload a ton of additional information to their sites. Between November and early January, images for nonprofit campaigns run the gamut from event photos to impact statistics. Post-campaign, organizations sometimes forget to replace those images even though the related initiatives have ended. Do a quick search to make sure you are not still asking people to attend a cocktail event on December 15th anywhere on your site.
EMPTY EVENTS CALENDAR
Calendars are an underutilized resource, and one that volunteers, participants, and staff alike appreciate. Make sure that your calendar stays up to date with changes to events, cancellations, and last-minute additions. If your organization struggles to keep the public calendar current, you are not alone. However, since most organizations have accurate staff calendars, we recommend sharing this calendar with your designated website specialist, and requesting that it be a regular responsibility of theirs to sync your organization's internal calendar to the website calendar.
SLOW SITE SPEED
Site speed is both your best friend and worst enemy. When fast, it makes donors, volunteers and staff happy, but when slow, all bets are off. To check site speed performance, measure your site’s current load time. It should clock in under 2-3 seconds. Also check the load time on a smartphone and a tablet to be sure the website versions for those devices are functioning properly too.
If your site is loading slowly, one easy fix is an image check. First check that your homepage images are properly compressed. Sometimes image files are just too big for your site and are making it load slowly. For a more detailed list of site speed fixes, check out this guest post.
When is the last time you updated your homepage? We aren’t just talking about outdated event information or expired giving campaigns, but the images in general. Does your homepage visually represent your nonprofit's current activities? Do photos look current, or are they clearly from previous years' events? Do the graphics give visitors confidence that this is an active and responsive organization where they should invest their time and effort, or is the design oh-so-2009? While a design upgrade is a more involved project, updating images is a great low cost (or no cost) way of sprucing up your site and inspiring trust from your site visitors. Just don't forget to properly compress images and to name them with descriptive alt text to help your website's SEO ranking and accessibility compliance.
The New Year is the perfect time to peruse your existing nonprofit web content to see if you need to make any updates. At a minimum, look for outdated information and broken links. You may also want to take the opportunity to improve existing content by revising text and adding links to newer content within the older content. This latter step is one of the oftentimes overlooked, but crucial, tasks for improving your website's visibility in search results. Finally, if your organization has been wanting to try out a new medium, such as video, it's a great time to add this to your task list.
MISSING SITE BACKUP
Like other digital information, your site also needs to be backed up to ensure that in case of an emergency, all of your information is stored somewhere. In order to do this, you need to get in contact with your hosting provider. They will be able to answer any backup questions and facilitate the process for you.
Your site is a living and breathing thing and, like your smartphone, sometimes it needs a software update. Whether it’s Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla, updates can generally be tackled quickly by a seasoned developer. It is important to entrust this task to a professional, as your website's security and compliance with privacy, accessibility, and other regulations depends on these updates. Nothing would ruin the new year like being hacked!
If you have questions or need help doing the above mentioned tasks, reach out . We love hearing from you!