Is Non-Profit Website Design important to Google Ad Grants?
This is part 4 of a 6 part series on how Non-Profits of any size can grow online donations, volunteers, programs, and create more social impact than ever thought possible with Google Grants.
Yes! Your nonprofit’s website design is the most critical factor in achieving success with the Google grant. Your story will need a “marketing twist” added to it and will need to be shared with your growing community following proven strategies (More on this in a future post). Even if you aren’t driving 5,000 new website visitors a month to your site with Google Ad Grants, those who do stumble across your site will leave just as quickly as they got there if they don’t quickly and easily find the relevant information they’re looking for.
Why Non Profit Website Design Will Determine The Success of Your Google Grant
I see it all the time, where the director or head decision maker for an organization thinks it’s best to jam every page on the site full of information and pictures or videos while neglecting the purpose and benefits of utilizing a Blog. The blog is meant for expanded content like articles, videos, case studies and all valuable information that needs more real estate on a sites page. When your story is created and transformed into content, then shared following the right strategies online combined with consistently and over time, the results will lead to tremendous amounts of engagement. Engagement leads to relationships and relationships grow your Non Profits Community.
The truth is that today’s modern internet user hates having to sort through loads of information. They want info summarized and grouped together in an easy to digest and intuitive way. There are entire books published on this subject such as “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steven Kurig. The title of his book summarizes his main point clearly, and that is internet users have way more success on websites that are constructed in simple ways that don’t overload the mind and make a person think too much. A common sense approach makes for a tremendously user friendly website experience.
Key components to a successful Non Profit website
Must display great on all size screens
Your website must be mobile friendly in the information age. This means every page on your website must display properly on all devices that connect to the internet. This includes mobile phones, tablets and desktops. This is such a must that Google will no longer list websites that are not mobile friendly.(refrence link to google here).
INSERT PIC OF GREAT MOBILE SITE HERE & LINK TO IT
The Two Most Important Pages on a Non Profit Website
The two most important pages on most Non Profit websites are the homepage and the donation page. Let’s briefly go over best practices and common mistakes to avoid on these pages. Doing so will improve the results of your $10,000 monthly Grant in online donations, volunteers, program inquires and much more.
Make sure its mobile friendly.
Next you’ll want the design of your homepage to be able to intuitively answer these four questions. When a new website visitor lands on the home page they should be able to intuitively and quickly answer these questions?
- What is this?Each Avatar should be able to understand what this is when they hit your site. Can a user tell exactly what it is that your Non Profit does within seconds of landing on your homepage? Remember your Avatars and how they form the foundation to your entire marketing strategy and all of your strategic decisions? If you’ve haven’t already created your Avatar(link to avater post or page) template be sure to do so to ensure your getting the best results. Doing so will also help with implementation tremendously.
- What do they have here? If your sites visitors can answer this question upon landing on your home page, your in great shape. Determining what to highlight and what is secondary in importance doesn’t come as easy as you may think. Once again we reference the Avatar, because when your entire team understands your marketing Avatars this questions becomes much easier to answer.
- What can I do here? Over the past 4 years I’ve built a ton of Word Press sites for my Non Profit clients and here are the most common pages that are designed to answer this key question. Ways to learn more, get involved, subscribe, and donate are page names used frequently. Featuring events is also a big focus area for my clients.
- Why should I be here and not somewhere else? The easiest way to help your Avatars understand this is awesome and here’s why. If you’ve filled out your Non Profit Marketing Canvas you’ve already answered this key strategic question. You’ll recall the section centered on your Non Profits unique advantage. What do you do better, different or more sincere than any other organization or community out there? Answer this question and you’ll be able to show your Avatars why they should engage with your cause over any others.
There are a ton of different ways to design and build your donation page, let’s focus on the core elements every donation page should follow.
Make sure its mobile friendly. I hope by the amount of times you’ve seen this topic repeated throughout the series you see its importance.
Transparent, fast and easy donation process
The run down here is simple. That more transparent, fast, and easy to use donation process your Non Profit website design displays the more money you will raise. The more volunteers you will grow and the further your overall mission will reach. There’re really are endless options and combinations of software and service providers to help with online fundraising. I won’t do a deep dive here so that we can continue our journey along The Board Member Guide to Google Grant Series. The Classy.org blog is jammed pack with so much great content and resources about online fundraising, you’ll be sure to want to check it out.
Paypal – It’s quick, trusted, and easy to use across a variety of sites. Paypal gives you a link or easy to place piece of code where the a web team member of your Non Profit can place the Paypal on the appropriate page.
There are some drawbacks to working with Paypal and here’s a terrific piece by the Donor Perfect fundraising blog. The long story short here is that for starters, newbies, or low budgets Paypal will work. Once able to, you’ll want to upgrade to a more user friendly, and cost effective solution.
Stripe – It’s similar to Paypal but comes with more custom features that ultimately make the donation check out process better. A great piece on stripe was writen by Tommy over at Viget.com
Customized solutions & 3rd Party Software – Many middle to high end solutions exist to power your online donations. Here is the most complete review of expanded online donation options put together by the team over at Capterra.com.
Here are some of the most trusted solutions I’ve personally worked with.
- Classy.org – All in one fundraising solution for Non Profits. Crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, event registration & website donations all under one roof.
- Donor Perfect – DonorPerfect ‘s web-based platform scales to meet the needs of any size nonprofit.
WordPress Websites Work Best With Google Grants
Hands down the single most important tool in the online world is your organizations website. It serves as the face of your organization in the digital world, and many if not most new people will learn about your Non Profit through first contact with its website.
Many Mission Boost Academy clients choose to invest in upgrading to WordPress for the following reasons.
WordPress Can Do it All
I’m excited to talk about Word Press as I believe that it is the single greatest all in one website solution for Non Profits of any type or size! That’s a powerful statement. As long as you’re not building highly technical software for a very specific custom development reason, WordPress will be your most affordable and powerful option no matter the size or stage of your Non Profit.
They say over 1 in 4 brand new sites that launch are built with Word Press. That is for a very good reason.Word Press is one of the world’s largest open sources of free software – this means powerful websites have become extremely affordable compared to what they use to cost. Being one of the largest and most popular sources of open software also means that there are literally endless free or affordable solutions for any idea conceived with WordPress.
Want your site to easily integrate with Constant Contact, or your existing email service provider? What about your current online donation system? Want your Facebook feed to display on your site? No problem with Word Press. Maybe you want to use your Google calendar to update events automatically on your events site page?
Properly working websites should be able to handle increased amount of website visitors (guaranteed to happen once Google Grants is launched) without slowing down and becoming too overloaded. A site must collect email address to rapidly build your community database, integrate with Paypal or your online donation software, have a working contact page, as well as have the ability to track user analytics. You will need this to optimize your Google marketing campaigns. WordPress makes all of this as simple as possible all under one roof.
Whatever the desired goal is, Word Press will have an option that has already been developed and free or affordable to use. From having a multi lingual site to being able to have enterprise level security added with just 5 clicks, Word Press can do it all.
WordPress is Easy to Use and Maintain
Word Press is very easy to use, maintain, update, publish new content with through its built in blog features and can all be done with minimal amounts of training for a staff members.
I like to describe the ease of use of Word Press by the following. That is, if you know how to use the basics of Microsoft Word and know how to upload and post a picture to Facebook, then any designated staff member or trusted volunteer is capable of handling about 80% of Word Press out of the box.
Some other cool benefits of Word Press are that newest themes, which are easy to customize templates, have a feature called visual builder. The visual builder allows the appropriate team member to be able to easily edit already built pages or create new ones from the pre populated templates.
Elegant themes is one of my favorite and most recommended destination for Word Press themes if you happen to find yourself in need of a WordPress upgrade.
Interested in having a WordPress website built for your Non Profit?