Avoid website gimmicks

Under growing pressure to find new donors and partners, many nonprofits are quick to  grab the latest trends in web design, often with the advice of web design and marketing firms that are only too willing to peddle flash over substance.

But in the rush to be first on the block with the newest website design or phone app, or simply to mimic what their competitors are doing, nonprofits often forget that what truly matters is their message, not the medium they use to deliver it.

Smitten by designers who pitch such website features as flash pages, moving marquee text, photo carousel and autoplay videos, nonprofits can forget what visitors to their sites actually need and want.

Visitors want to know who you are, who you serve, what you do and the difference you make.

So your home page should tell your story clearly and concisely, and your navigation bar should make it easy for visitors to understand what the website contains, find the information they want, and get involved.

If you don’t know much about web design, don’t let design consultants seduce you with their cool and trendy gimmicks.

A website should not be designed to give the design firm another hip sample of its work for the portfolio it uses to market its business.

The form of a website should follow its function. So figure out who you want to reach, the information you want your audience to have, and the actions you want visitors to take.

Then make sure your website is designed to do all that, and hire a designer who understands and will deliver what you want, not what the designer is selling.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or toddcohen49@gmail.com.

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