Why should you have a website in addition to social media profiles? One could argue that the same things you post on social media are what you would have on a website anyway, so there is no point. Or, you could say that having a website to look after is another item on an already massive list of to-do’s and you cant justify the time.

Unfortunately, those excuses no longer fly. With all of the distractions online today, it is very difficult to get someone to stick around for longer than 5 seconds (I bet I will lose at least a few of you before you even get to my first point below!) Social media has been great, but it has damaged our ability to focus as well.

So why is having a website so important? Well, having a website allows you to accomplish a few things:

 

A website gets you in front of a wider audience

Think about this, how much time do you spend on the Internet per day? How often do you check it? What do you use it for? People are searching the Internet all day every day for the answers to their questions, problems and entertainment needs.

Remember that a nonprofit solves a problem in a community and, as such, you have knowledge and experience in addressing that issue and have information you can contribute to the online space. That information is what is getting searched for.

When someone clicks on your blog post or article, they are taken to your website where, if you wrote a helpful enough article, means they are more likely to continue poking around, becoming introduced to the organization.

 

A website is a dedicated platform to speak about the issues without having to shout

On social media, the amount of time you spent looking at a post is less than 2 seconds. A user is constantly scrolling through their feed looking for things that catch their eye. That content holds them for a second or two then it’s on to the next piece. That is a REALLY hard place to get dedicated engagement.

What if what you have to say cant be shrunk down into 300 characters? What if the real issue is far deeper than you can explain on social media? A website allows you to direct people from the online space where everyone is trying to shout the loudest to your own portion of the internet where the only voice is yours.

Having a website cuts out the other distractions that the internet provides so you don’t have to compete with cute dog photos and updates about your friends’ new relationship.

For example, take a look at this photo of my social media feed in a group I follow on Facebook.

Cluttered social media feed surrounded by advertisements, notices and other distractions

As you can see, there is a lot going on beyond the link I shared. Invitations to other groups, notices about things going on in other groups I follow, I have two messages waiting to be read, not to mention that Facebook notified me when someone liked my post (thanks Terri!)

Compare that to this page you are on right now. You are reading what I want you to read, you are away from Facebook, and the only distractions are for you to share this post with others (it would be great if you did, by the way) and to sign up for NPO.lib (which would also be great if you did!)

 

A website acts as an online scrapbook of information

Maybe a scrapbook is a bad example because I don’t know anyone who makes them anymore, but it illustrates the point. A website is a place where you can keep old information for visitors to look back on. They are able to see events you have put on, pictures from them, read about your history and see who leads the organization, and they can also look at reporting information like annual reports.

Like we discussed when talking about foundations and the people reading your grant applications, they want to look back and see your track record. Having a website adds color to that basic outline (the application) that they are looking at.

Check out this section on my website. It shows all of my previous blog posts, all in one place!

My most recent blog post in the running a nonprofit category

This information is easily stored and displayed. Not to mention that I have a blog link in my main menu that allows you to go right to my blog, making it super easy to read all of my other great content (hint hint, wink wink!) Compare that to Facebook where, if you want to see an old post, you have to scroll past hundreds of others just to get to it.

 

So what now?

If you are a “do it yourself” kind of person, you should go out and build yourself a website! I offer a great course on building a website in NPO.lib, which most of this post was taken from! It covers everything from planning the layout and content of your website to using cheap and effective tools to design the site yourself, even if you have no experience coding with CSS, HTML or JS. You can sign up for NPO.lib here!

If you aren’t interested in designing your own website, you could hire a developer (like me!) to build one for you. You can check out my growing portfolio of websites I have designed or you can contact me for a free consultation to talk about what building a website for you would entail.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a website that converts visitors into donors and puts your best foot forward!

Build Your Donor List, No Matter Where You Are In The Process

Brandon Reed

Founder at Reed Community Consulting and NPO.lib

Brandon helps people help other people. He has over 10 years experience working with small and medium-sized nonprofits in two countries in many different sectors. He has worked at all levels of organization from entry-level service delivery up to the executive director and board president. This experience affords him insight for whole level management of an organization, which he transfers to his clients. In his free time, he likes to play volleyball and spend time gardening with his wife and dog.

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