Web 1.0 has come a long way since the internet first began. Nowadays, every organization, business, and cause has at least a static website, and most go on to create social and mobile web applications as well. If you’re starting from the ground up with your nonprofit, you probably want to get out your website as soon as possible, and don’t have a lot of time, money, or knowledge to do so. Here are some tips and examples to help you get started quick!
1. Use a free website design tool. In Social Media for Social Good, Heather Mansfield makes it clear that you should not be afraid to invest time and money into getting your website looking professional and running smoothly and efficiently. However, you also want to get your message out as quickly as possible. There are many free and easy web design tools you can use to set up your website, with pre designed templates and themes and easy-to-use interfaces. Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress are just a few examples, but I personally prefer Wix. They have concise, informative introduction video tutorials to get help you navigate their tools, without long-winded cumbersome explanations. Below is an example of a mock website prototype I put together using Wix:
Feedback is more than welcome!
2. Pick a color scheme and stick to it. While you want to get your website live as soon as possible, you want to make sure your message stand out and be memorable — and that means keeping things consistent. Choose a color scheme that best represents the tone you’re trying to convey, and keep it uniform throughout your website and other media platforms. Kaiser Permanente and Planned Parenthood are some good examples.
If you happen to have a main image you’d like to use as a central point for your webpage, Degrave is a great tool for choosing a color palette specific to a certain image.
3. Use free stock photos. Until you have a good collection of personal images for your nonprofit, use free stock photos to add personality to your website. StockSnap is a personal favorite of mine. The featured image for this post was from their site!
4. Keep it simple: include only the essentials. With the rapid growth of social and mobile media, there are now various platforms through which you can reach a wide audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are the big 3 social media sites you’ll want to have, and you can use these different pages to share different messages in a variety of formats. Therefore, it is best to keep your static website simple. Include the following the information to start:
-Mission statement: what is the ultimate goal of your nonprofit?
-About the organization: summarize and highlight key information on what you do and how you do it
-Action needed: include a page where you outline how others can get involved and help, including a link to a page.
-Contact information: let people know where to find you!
Of course, once you have more time, you can always go back and add more information, such as testimonials, blogs, links to social media sites, etc. Social Driver posts an annual “top nonprofit websites of the year” summary, and getting featured on this blog for your well-designed website will only help spread your message. Check out this year’s winner, EveryLastDrop. Their website is sleek, interactive, and most importantly, simple!