Nonprofit Marketing Wake-Up Call — 3 Right-Now Website Revisions

I was shaken by new stats on a crucial shift in online user behavior–only 5 to 15% of your website users are coming in through your home page. Tip of the hat to Gerry McGovern’s take on the decline of the home page for clarifying what works now for nonprofit marketing online .

As a result, your site users:

  • Won’t be “introduced” to your organization (as happens when they enter via the front door, or home page).
  • Aren’t likely to know the breadth and depth of content and tools on your sites.
  • Won’t be asked to give or subscribe to your e-news (usually buttons featured on home page).

What to do about the decline of your nonprofit’s home page:

  1. Feature Donate and Subscribe (to e-news) on every page throughout the site, above the fold (e.g. visible without a user scrolling down).
  2. Label navigation elements (buttons, menu bar) to be broadly accessible and include on every page.
  3. Write/revise content to provide context, so users understand and can act, no matter what page they’ve come from (which may be Amazon, a competitor’s site, weather.com or another page on your org’s site).
  4. Include a site search engine window on every page. It’s the easiest way to reduce user frustration level.

This is just one of several critical shifts in site usage patterns I’ve been meaning to share with you. I’m in the process of reconfiguring my consulting site, Nancy Schwartz & Company, and have reviewed current trends in site usage to make it as effective as possible. I’ll be sharing other tips on site design out with you in posts to come.

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Nancy Schwartz on April 19, 2010 in High-Impact Websites | 2 comments
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  • http://www.steppenwolf.org Thomas Weitz

    Caution–Before calling an emergency meeting, check your site logs or look at your web analytics. If you don’t have them setup or don’t know how to check them, start with that.
    This is certainly a trend to be aware of but you should determine if your site is following that trend before you make any drastic changes – especially ones that may clutter your site.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/nancyeschwartz Nancy E. Schwartz

    Great and calming point, Thomas. Thanks for the reminder.
    And indeed, Thomas tells me that most users of the Steppenwolf Theater’s website do come in via the home page. However, this is not the norm and you cannot count on it.
    Here are two key steps for you to take:
    1) Look at your site’s Google Analytics (or set them up, it’s free) to see how users are entering your site (Content/Top Landing Pages).
    2) Based on that information, and your understanding of the latest usage trends, revise your site as necessary.
    I do advise you to keep shifts in usage like this in mind, even if they are not currently reflected in how your site usage. They are likely to show up in the near future!

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