Nonprofit websites serve an important purpose: they drive donations and encourage people to get involved with your cause. As such, they need to feature the structure and elements that make people want to engage and give.
With that in mind, here are seven must-haves for every nonprofit website homepage:
1. Clear Navigation
Imagine this: you’re driving someplace new, and you’re trying to find your way around. The trouble is, there are no road signs or maps. What do you do? The answer is simple: you drive up and down the street, becoming progressively more frustrated until you are so exhausted that you go back the way you came!
The same is true for your website. When users can’t find their way around your site, they get exhausted and leave. To prevent this, you need to provide clear navigation.
No matter what you do, be sure you’re not overloading your navigation, as this discourages users. Not sure where your website stands on navigation right now? Check out https://www.usability.gov/ for other tips on how to make your website more navigable for visitors.
2. Mobile-Friendly Design
Right now, more than 80% of top Alexa websites are mobile-adaptive. If you’re not on the mobile-friendly train yet, you’re missing out. In addition to the fact that more than 80% of internet users own a smartphone, users spend 69% of their media time on those smartphones. Make sure you’re taking advantage of this traffic by optimizing your nonprofit website homepage for mobile.
This means adding elements like “hamburger” menus, clear CTAs, larger-than-average text, and plenty of white space.
3. Great Imagery
Did you know that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Images are basic: they create an immediate, gut reaction that people connect with. This is essential for NPOs to take note of, especially on a website (but should be considered in all audience communications).
If you’re looking for a simple way to improve your nonprofit website homepage, one of the first things to do is add images. Not only do these make your site beautiful, but they trigger important behavioral economics actions (think of the identifiable victim effect, etc.) that can make people feel more engaged with your cause.
As is true with any marketing image you choose to use, make sure the ones you put up on your home page are high-quality, professional, and relevant to your cause.
4. Clear and Concise Messaging
Many NPOs are so excited about the incredible work they're doing that they want to put all of their information front and center on the homepage. While this can be tempting, it's important to remember that if your website visitor can't figure out who your nonprofit is and why they should care in a matter of seconds, they're likely going to leave your website never to return.
What do I mean by this? Take a look at the messaging on the website we designed and developed for the Case Foundation. Right away the visitor can understand in a matter of seconds that the Case Foundation "Invests in ideas and people that can change the world." Pretty impactful and to the point right?
They continue down the homepage with short snippets explaining to the visitor who they are, what they do, and how you can join in.
5. A Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
What’s the primary goal of your homepage? Is it to drive people to a different, particular area of your website? Is it to encourage them to download an ebook or white paper?
To make your CTA as compelling and productive as possible, be sure it’s visible, clear, and easy for users to understand.
6. Email Subscription Form
A visitor comes to your homepage, reads about your NPO, and wants to get involved or know more. How do they do it? If there’s no email subscription form for them to drop their address into, they might visit your social profiles or give your offices a call (probably not in this day and age), but they’re just as likely to bounce off your page.
For best results, add a form for them to sign up that is enticing (don't ask them to give too much personal information to you up front, just a name and email address will work) and makes it clear what they can expect from joining. Not sure what I mean? Take a look at the email subscription footer on a website we designed and developed for Friends of The Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
7. Contact Us Information
Every nonprofit website homepage needs consistent and accurate NAP (name, address, and phone number) information. Not only is this what visitors use to reach your NPO, but it’s an important search ranking metric for Google. With this in mind, keep your NAP current, and be sure to update it if and when anything changes.
A Better Nonprofit Website Homepage Starts Here
If you’re looking for ways to improve your NPO’s homepage, these seven tips are a great place to start. In search of professional help?
Need some help to help optimizing your homepage to connect and compel audiences? Contact the team at Creative Science today!