Top 3 Tips for Creating an Awesome Website


What can you do to make your website standout, grab your readers’ attention, and share your message in a compelling way? There are lots of great suggestions out there for designing a great website.  In the first chapter of her book, Social Media for Social Good, for example, Heather Mansfield describes 11 “website design best practices for nonprofits.”  She describes the importance of creating a website that is visually powerful with a consistent design and easily readable text; she emphasizes simplicity with tips such as never having more than two columns in a page; and she discusses the importance of including and integrating social media into your site.  All Great Tips. But, ultimately, great websites are about what you like to see when a site pops up.  What makes you feel comfortable? What intrigues you? What makes you click away right away?


The following 3 tips for creating a great website are based on what grabs me most when I visit a website.

3. Include Interactive Elements: Websites with interactive content grab my attention in ways that static sites do not. every last drop
For example, the website for Every Last Drop which is part of an awareness campaign about not wasting water, grabbed my attention right away with the interactive animated content.  The reader’s scrolling controls the animated content.  And, always a plus, it’s clean and simple and streamlined – not too much to follow in the  animation.

Interactive elements may be especially important to engage youth in health related sites.  I believe the CDC has done a great job using interactive elements in their website BAM! which is immune-platoona comprehensive Body And Mind site covering topics from disease to safety to mental health.  Their site includes games and great eye-popping images.  They clearly have a pulse on what kids like right now as evidenced by their superhero theme (my 4 yr old is completely obsessed with superheroes right now).


2. Use Well Placed Pictures with Real People: Images of real people can convey the message of the website much more Oneeffectively than words for me.  For example, the website for One, which promotes an organization whose mission is to end preventable diseases and poverty, expertly uses images to draw the reader in and help the reader understand what the organization is doing.



1. Tell a Story: Nothing draws me in like a good story.  The website for Next Generation Men, which is an Atlanta based organization providing positive exposure and opportunities for African-American young men, utilizes story telling well by having a video strategically placed on their home page with a large, all-caps, “WATCH VIDEO” button. The video tells the story of the organization beautifully.  By the end of the 2 minute video, I was ready to do whatever I could to help the organization.



4 thoughts on “Top 3 Tips for Creating an Awesome Website

  1. The layout of your post is visually interesting. The placement of the images, screenshots, and videos are well placed to break up the text. The tip about telling a story is really important. Even the way you write your post is story-like in that you walk through your process and what struck a chord with you as being important. The Next Generation Men video was inspiring. I’m constantly impressed with what you and others share. There are so many organizations that I’m just learning exist through these posts. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Liana, a very enjoyable post. Love the CDC reference, I think they’ve made a real commitment to using social media to engage and further their public health campaigns. The point about speaking to your audience (e.g. kids) is so important, and a really nice call out, as is the importance of storytelling. Thanks for a great post!

  3. Hi, Liana. Thanks for sharing your top 3 tips for website design. They really add to the materials we explored. My top tip would be to make your site easy to use. I suppose its implicit in the Mansfield chapter, but making it explicit helps the designer to focus on things like accessibility. For instance, a site that’s too busy with animations (or they’re very fast) could actually trigger migraine or seizures in some people. Small point size, cursive fonts and serifs can make the text really difficult to read for people with visual impairment. Low contrast is also a problem, as Lucy pointed out in her post: Ideally, every website would have accessibility options, including text size, reducing extraneous imagery, increasing contrast; avoiding colour combination that are problematic for people with colour blindness; close captioning option for audio content, etc.:

  4. I like your emphasis on using “real” people (as opposed to stock photo actors) in a website’s images. Having people who have actually been impacted by an organization’s work on the group’s website is much more authentic, and it helps build trust between the potential donor and the organization.

    I like your use of reverse ordering on your numbered list. It builds anticipation. And you have that anticipation pay off with the final video which is incredibly powerful.

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