Modern nonprofits and associations understand the power of digital marketing. Compared to traditional methods, organizations using an online outreach strategy have the potential to reach a wider audience more quickly, often with a lower investment cost. When launching your digital marketing strategy, it’s important to leverage all the key marketing tools at your disposal, including your website.
The best nonprofit websites have a user-friendly design and compel visitors to take action in support of the organization’s mission. With the right approach, you can strengthen your digital presence, attract new supporters, and engage current donors.
In this guide, we’ll explore five best practices to optimize your website for online marketing:
- Connect Your Website and Social Media Accounts
- Create a Strong Brand Identity
- Follow SEO Best Practices
- Practice Regular Maintenance
- Establish KPIs
For further assistance with improving your website or even completing a full website rehaul, leverage an intuitive content management system (CMS) made for nonprofits. A well-designed CMS will provide your nonprofit with everything your website needs to succeed—from integration with your constitution relationship management (CRM) system to secure donation pages.
1. Connect Your Website and Social Media Accounts
Social media’s global reach allows you to connect with a broad range of potential supporters all over the world. On these platforms, you can not only post content that provides essential information about your organization but also build relationships with followers through one-on-one conversations and community-building.
Remember to add your website link to your social media bio and posts, so prospective supporters can click through and discover more about how they can contribute to your mission. Your website should link to your social media accounts as well. This provides an additional engagement opportunity to your website visitors, encouraging them to share your content with their networks and drive more revenue through social fundraising.
Center for Transforming Lives, for instance, features social media sharing buttons directly on its website navigation bar to invite further engagement from visitors.
2. Create a Strong Brand Identity
Your brand identity is key to establishing lasting relationships with supporters. Many of them need to interact with your organization multiple times before making a donation or signing up as a volunteer. A strong brand identity helps to establish your organization’s credibility and build trust with your audience, allowing you to connect with prospective donors.
Kwala’s nonprofit branding guide recommends infusing the following brand elements into your website design:
- Color Palette. When incorporating your brand colors on your website, make sure backgrounds and text have sufficient color contrast to keep your content readable. You should also use colors strategically to highlight key elements of your website. For example, a nonprofit with blue and orange brand colors may use blue and neutral colors for the bulk of their website and contrast this with bright orange donation buttons.
- Font. Effective, consistent fonts can subtly showcase your organization’s image. Consider your text colors, size, and whether you use serif or sans serif fonts. Serif fonts tend to come across as more formal and traditional, while sans serif fonts look more modern and are more legible. With this in mind, take the time to evaluate whether the font on your website aligns with the brand identity you’re trying to convey.
- Logo. Your organization’s logo brings together the other visual elements of your brand identity, including color palette and font choice. Supporters should automatically think of your organization when they see your logo, so be sure to make it emblematic of your organization’s mission and values. Then, place it front and center or in the top left or right corner of every page on your website.
Make sure all of your other digital marketing efforts, including social media posts and emails, follow these same branding principles. Create a branding guide to streamline this process and promote consistency.
3. Follow SEO Best Practices
Organic traffic from online searches is critical for increasing your organization’s online visibility. Following search engine optimization (SEO) best practices ensures that supporters can easily find your website and contribute toward your cause.
Apply the following SEO strategies to enhance your reach:
- Improve user experience. A high-quality website user experience (UX) can boost engagement and direct more traffic to your most important pages. To provide an enjoyable and memorable experience to your website visitors, aim to have clear navigation and quick load times. Additionally, your website should be mobile-responsive, so supporters can access it at their convenience.
- Make your website accessible. Accessibility practices, such as embedding an accessibility widget or adding alternative text to images, can contribute to your website’s overall search engine ranking. They make it possible for all visitors to use your website, increasing your potential audience and providing more opportunities to showcase your content.
- Create a blog. Search engines favor websites that demonstrate a steady stream of new content, since they’re more likely to represent active organizations. By maintaining a blog, your organization can indicate to both search engines and supporters that your website is active.
- Target viable keywords. Some keywords are far more competitive to target in your website pages or blog content than others. Let’s say you’re a nonprofit that protects rivers. Rather than competing with nearly unbeatable websites like Wikipedia for generic keywords such as “rivers” and “pollution,” choose more specific ones like the names of the rivers you’re leading clean-up efforts on to better fit the search intent of potential supporters.
Make use of your website builder’s SEO tools to ensure that your website is optimized for SEO. According to Morweb’s rundown of the best nonprofit website builders, if you’re in the process of creating a new website or revamping your existing one, it’s essential to find a CMS tailored to all of your nonprofit’s specific needs. In this case, prioritize a platform with SEO support, such as a sitemap, SEO plugin integrations, and other analytics tools to track your website’s visibility.
4. Practice Regular Maintenance
Keep your organization’s website running smoothly by practicing routine maintenance. By doing so, you’ll minimize the risk of technical breakdowns, long loading times, and content that negatively impacts user experience.
Fortunately, maintaining your website is often a relatively straightforward process. During your maintenance checks, examine your website for these common data errors:
- Duplicated images
- Oversized images
- Broken links
- Long redirect chains
- Non-standardized data
Furthermore, be sure to check essential aspects of your website, such as your registration forms. Practice filling out your forms to confirm that data is flowing smoothly into your database, allowing you to continue gathering important details from your supporters.
5. Establish KPIs
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) upfront to track the effectiveness of your website improvements. Make sure they’re relevant to your website’s growth goals and use the necessary analytics tools to monitor them. This way, you’ll be able to measure your progress and identify further improvements to enhance your online marketing and fundraising strategies down the line.
When evaluating your performance, you might make use of:
- Google Analytics. Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytics tools. This free resource enables your organization to monitor important KPIs such as bounce rate, pages visited, and popular landing pages.
- Form data. Website forms for key actions such as donating, signing up for events, and subscribing to your newsletter are vital to your organization’s overall success. Track conversion rates so you can detect how many people land on your forms versus how many people complete and submit these forms.
Different KPIs will be more relevant to your website at different times. For example, if you’re experimenting with marketing tactics, you’ll likely be most interested in referral traffic and click-through rates. Use these KPIs to note areas where you can enhance your performance moving forward. To strengthen your web strategies and reduce your workload, consider looking into website templates that are tailor-made for your organization’s specific purpose and goals.
With a strong brand identity and social media presence, your organization can attract significant attention to its website. At the end of the day, the key to engaging website visitors is a high-quality user experience and content that keeps them invested in your work. Remember to emphasize your organization’s impact on your website, from statistics on your donation page to impact stories on a dedicated impact page.
By assessing your digital marketing efforts regularly and building out your website strategy, you’ll get in front of more supporters and reinforce the relationships you’ve built over time.