As we’ve discussed in recent posts, choosing an agency for your website redesign and branding efforts can help you save time, money and prove great ROI over time. However, not all nonprofit organizations have the budget to hire a professional. In these cases, many opt to go the DIY route. Here’s a few things tips to help you make the most of your DIY website redesign:
Update Your Platform.
There are many different websites builders that make it easy for nonprofit organizations on a budget to create a web presence. Once you’ve made the decision it’s time for a website update, you should also take time to analyze your website’s platform as well. With so many options available, organizations should make sure they’ve chosen a platform that will allow them to update and manage their website with ease. If your website is currently difficult to manage (or impossible), it is likely time to make the switch. We’ve listed a few popular options below.
Website builders are great for organizations who have little-to-no web design knowledge. These builders come with ready-made templates that allow you to drag-and-drop your content throughout the site. Here’s a few industry leaders:
- Squarespace is well-known for its beautifully-designed, modern themes. The website builder makes it easy to update and manage content whenever you need. This popular platform automatically optimizes your website for mobile-devices, offers 24/7 support and includes website hosting. Squarespace is a great option for organizations that are looking for a sleek design and “all inclusive” option. Pricing starts at $16/month.
- Wix is another DIY favorite, allowing organizations to choose from a wide-variety of themes tailored to various industries. For ease of site building and breadth of options, it’s hard to beat Wix. PCmag.com recently named Wix their “Favorite Website Builder of 2017”, calling it “the easiest and fullest-featured website builder around”. It’s Drag 'n Drop editor, unlimited pages, 500 MB storage, secure hosting and mobile site creator make Wix the “go-to” website builder. The platform is free to use, however costs about $10 - $14 a month to connect your domain and get the site up and running.
- Weebly is another option for organizations looking for ease of use. The site is packed with a variety of responsive themes. The responsive designs look great, but do come at the cost of design customizability. For $8 per month, the Starter account adds a custom domain name, no Weebly branding, unlimited storage, and a 10-product store. At $12-per-month Pro account adds site search, password protection for up to 100 site members, and video backgrounds. This is a great option for organizations simply looking to save money and don’t need much.
Wordpress is a powerful open-source CMS that gives users a lot more flexibility. Instead of the drag-and-drop functionality that many website builders allow, Wordpress users can purchase a “theme” and edit it in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface to add and edit content. There are many different premium themes and plugins users can choose from, giving organizations a wide-variety of options in terms of design and functionality. WordPress does require you to find a web host (which is often less than $5/ month). You’ll also have to pay $10 to $20 per year for a domain registration. Wordpress does require a bit more of a learning curve than the previous website builders listed, however allows users to create a much more “custom” site.
Updating Your Content.
Many organizations make the mistake of thinking they have solved their problem by choosing a new platform and launching their new site. This is a very common, bad practice. Unfortunately, choosing a new platform will not fix bad content. Content creation is a critical part of the web design process, as it is meant to effectively communicate your organization’s message. A website is the center-point of your digital marketing efforts and often the first impression a visitor will have on your organization - make sure it counts. Launching a shiny new website with old content will not only hurt your brand, but will also have a negative impact on your SEO.
As content creation is such a critical part of your website redesign, it’s imperative you choose the right person for the job. If your budget doesn’t allow for hiring a professional, make sure to choose someone that can best communicate your organization’s voice and message. As content creation can often be time consuming, be sure to set milestones to keep the ball rolling. While creating content for your website, you should be asking yourself questions like “what is the purpose of our website?” or “how will this website help us achieve our mission?”. These types of questions will help you better establish your goals and requirements as you get started.
Update Your Images.
Images can make or break your web design efforts. Blurry, low-quality images are perceived as unprofessional and untrustworthy. In fact, according to a study by ResearchGate, 94% of people say that websites with good designs are more trustworthy. There are many free sites we’ve discovered over the years that offer images and other media for use, for free (and it’s legal). Just be sure you understand to always take note of the licensing. Some websites will only let you use the image as is, while others require you to display the creator credit. Others, with the Creative Commons Zero license, give unlimited license to modify, re-use, or even sell.
Are you preparing for a website redesign? Download our free checklist, Strategic Website Design Checklist for Success to help you get started.