Six Keys to Designing a Successful Website
Your Website Matters — Make It Work for You
By Ben Keating
Digital Project Manager, BBS & Associates
“Back in the day,” we focused on carrier teasers and envelope art with laser precision. It didn’t matter what was inside the direct mail piece if it never got opened, right?
In the same way, your website is the “carrier” to the rest of your organization. And its elements — the “teasers,” if you will — matter.
If you want your donors and potential donors to “open” the envelope to your organization online, give, and come back for more, your website must take top priority!
So, where do you start? How do you build a fantastic, inviting website … or overhaul a mediocre one and relaunch?
Here’s the top six elements of design to consider, according to the expert digital team at BBS & Associates:
Attractive, but Simple
Clean photos, paired-down graphics, a-less-copy-is-more mentality. Approach your design with simplicity in mind.
- White space is good
- Use colors sparingly — choose a color scheme that fits your branding strategy and stick with it throughout
- Don’t use hard-to-read fonts — and sans serif is best
Establish Visual Hierarchy
Arrange and organize your website elements so that visitors naturally gravitate toward the most important elements first, using color, position, and size variations.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile Viewing
Did you know that more than 80% of internet users use mobile devices to surf the web? (techjury.com)
This overwhelming statistic cannot be ignored! Today’s website must be mobile-friendly. There are design options, plug-ins, and widgets galore to help optimize mobile viewing. Be sure to make this a first priority in design — not an afterthought.
Make your CTA Clear and Obvious
Call-to-action (CTA) buttons or links drive your donors to take action: give, share, read more, download, etc. It’s extremely important they know what you are asking them to do and making it easy for them to do it.
Plus, repeat your CTA on all your pages. Use buttons and links in your copy to make it entirely easy for the reader to click through. Great success is coming from using a pop-up CTA as the user leaves your page … talk to your website designer about adding this automated element.
CTAs are no place to be overly creative. Keep them simple. Make them stand out with color or bold type. Don’t leave anything up to your donor’s imagination. Be clear, and you’ll see stronger results.
There are some things users have come to expect from websites across the board.
- A clear, easy-to-click navigation bar or menu of options across the top of the page. Best results come from positioning this bar consistently across every page on your site.
- Another simple-to-use sidebar of clickable elements.
- Links in copy to make moving around, visiting the last screen, or finding help easy.
- Clickable branding across all pages to make navigation back and forth accessible.
Don’t let your desire to be creative and “different” move you away from these expectations. Keep your navigation easy and simple to follow.
Search Engine Optimization
Our last-on-the-list might just be the most important! There are millions of websites vying for the attention of users, searchers, and donors. Make yours stand out by employing search-engine best practices. Your goal: high-ranking placement on search engine results pages!
- Pick your keywords carefully and use them often! Place your keyword or phrase in the page title, the body text, and the URL for the page.
- And since we are talking about the URL … make it short and readable. Include the keyword (this is important enough to state twice).
- Pay attention to your meta description, your headlines, your tag use. Again, optimize for search engines. Use that keyword again and again.
Want to know more? Ready to build a website that works? Let our expert team help! Contact Ben Keating via firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-665-5227.