A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about vendor vs. partner relationships in regard to associations and their members. Today I want to expand on that and talk about how a redesign for your association’s website can help support your efforts.
Of course, having a website is important. But having an effective website can mean more members, more engaged members, higher retention, and more non-dues revenue.
Are you considering a new association website? Here are six tips for establishing a website that positions you as a partner with your members and gets results:
1. Commit. If your current association website isn’t getting the job done, the last thing you want to do is end up with a new website that may be “prettier” but isn’t built to get results. A new website will take an investment of your time but can pay off by leaps and bounds if done properly.
2. Set goals. Why do you need a new website? What do you want it to do? Don’t start a website redesign just because you think it’s time for a new website. Do you want to be able to update content more easily? Do you want to provide more online member resources? Do you need to generate non-dues revenue? If you want your website to help facilitate a more partnered relationship with your members, make sure you know what your members want and make sure you deliver.
3. Do your research. Website designers and programmers can be found anywhere. Make sure when you choose the person or company to redo your website, they are making an investment in your association too. You want a website development partner that will take the time to listen, offer advice, and be open and honest. Make sure they aren’t just going to build you a new website, but one that is going to meet your goals. How are they going to help you drive membership? How will they help you achieve more website traffic? Can they help you generate non-dues revenue? What is their experience in the association industry? Do they understand your brand? Make sure you do some of your own research, ask your website designer/programmer some tough questions, and get the answers you need.
4. Know your audiences. A website is a communication method, just like an email or direct mail piece. Hopefully you are segmenting your membership database lists when you send communications to your members and prospects. A website should do the same by providing entry points for each of your audiences. Be sure to think about prospects, new members, various levels of engagement, career stage, specialty, etc.
5. Devote yourself to content. You’ve probably heard that content is king. Content is the best thing you can do for search engine optimization, content is what is going to keep your members and prospects coming back, and content is what’s going to make your members feel connected – much more so than a nice website design. But, content takes work. If you haven’t already, think about incorporating a blog, videos, and RSS feeds. Think about content you may already have that can easily be incorporated. And build a strategy for adding content frequently over time.
6. Track results. When your new website launches, it doesn’t mean you’re done. Take a look at your goals and track them. If you aren’t getting the results you wanted, make adjustments and continue to measure.
Are you considering a new website? Did you recently launch a new website? We'd love to hear from you!