Wednesday, June 02, 2010

5 Web Design Tips for Not-For-Profits

Last time I discussed the mistakes churches usually make when doing web design. Now I want to offer some quick tips to achieve a better outcome whether you are a church or any not-for-profit organization.
  1. Start with yourself. What are your vision, goals, aspirations, and values. If you have to develop them, they aren't really yours. State where you stand now, not craft something you think other people will like.

  2. Understand your value to your audience. If you didn't exist, what would be missed, and who would miss it? Or better yet, who would care?

  3. From the previous tip, develop a profile of your audience. Since you probably believe your audience is everybody, try to describe the type of people who are least likely or don't want to be reached by you. That should help you narrow your focus to those with whom you will have the most influence. For instance, people who live — or who are visiting — nearby are more likely to be attracted to your message than someone far away. Additionally, people who are looking for an organization like yours make excellent candidates. If you want to attract people who don't know you, a website isn't enough. That's a different strategy in the marketing cycle. At this point use your website to speak very specifically to your ideal audience.

  4. Develop your tone and style from your audience profile and self-evaluation. A tone is the mood you express yourself with. Are you formal or casual; familiar or austere; humorous or serious? Based on who you are, and the type of people you are taking to, think about how you want to sound to them. This tone needs to be consistent throughout your communications, and this will influence how you develop your content. Along with this, develop a consistent writing and grammatical style. (It's a good idea to hire a web copywriter to do this.)

  5. Develop a design approach. After you establish your tone and style, and you develop the content, you have a good basis to begin the visual design process. The design will be consistent with your style, tone, and content. A good designer understands this. It's a good idea to invest, at least the upfront design, to a web design professional.
Remember, good design comes from good solid planning and good content. Don't skimp on either, or your site will miss the mark.

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