Is Your Website Getting Stale? 5 Content Refresh Ideas
As a nonprofit marketing professional, you know that your organization’s website is one of your most effective tools for engaging supporters online. But you also know that no one’s going to be impressed with your website if your blog posts look too cookie-cutter or your content doesn’t appeal to supporters’ current interests and motivations.
Your supporters like to see that your organization is on the cutting edge, whether it’s regarding your fundraising events, social media presence, or your website. That’s why your website must be fresh, engaging, and optimized for a positive user experience.
If you feel like your nonprofit’s website is getting stale, it’s important to take a strategic, incremental approach to refreshing and updating your content. This allows you to make impactful, long-lasting changes that increase your engagement rates over time. Here are five content refresh ideas to get you started:
- Create a blog posting strategy.
- Update old content.
- Reevaluate your user pathways.
- Incorporate user-generated content strategically.
- Explore new forms of media.
The top nonprofit websites aren’t set in stone. They take a continuous improvement approach to consistently update their websites and delight, surprise, and ultimately convert casual visitors into true supporters. These tips will allow you to adopt this mindset and use it to offer your audience a better digital experience.
1. Create a blog posting strategy.
Your website’s blog is your most useful tool for keeping your supporters updated and engaged on an ongoing basis. Think of it as your organization’s reporting hub, delivering updates to supporters as a news website would.
And just like a news website, your blog should also adhere to certain style and quality standards. Without style and content guidelines in place, you run the risk of having an inconsistent blog presence, creating a confusing or unprofessional experience for visitors.
To avoid this outcome, create a dedicated blog posting strategy that your entire marketing team can reference. Getting Attention’s nonprofit blogging guide recommends incorporating the following elements to increase engagement:
- Multimedia: Don’t fall into the routine of creating the same style of blog posts over and over. Mix up your blog content with multimedia elements such as photo slideshows, videos, interactive polls and quizzes, and other fun content.
- Mobile-friendly and shareable content: Your blog posts should be mobile-responsive so smartphone and desktop users have an equally positive experience. Consider simplifying the mobile versions of each post and ensuring all text is large enough to be read on smaller screens. Plus, include social media and email widgets so supporters can easily share their favorite posts with their friends and family members.
- SEO best practices: Optimizing your blog for SEO performance increases the chances that your posts will appear higher in Google search results. Plus, SEO-optimized content also offers a better user experience for visitors. SEO best practices include optimizing your blog posts to perform well for relevant keywords, focusing on a unique topic for each blog post, and including relevant internal and external links.
These strategies ensure that your blog doesn’t become a dumping ground for random pieces of content, and instead offers supporters a valuable informational resource for staying up to date on your organization’s activities.
2. Update old content.
If your nonprofit’s website has been around for a while, you might have pages and pages of old blog content. You may be tempted to batch-delete these posts to make way for new content, but take a closer look before doing so.
Some of your old content might be well-written and valuable for SEO and just in need of a few quick touch-ups, such as cleaning it up, updating the branding, and making it relevant to your current strategy. It can be helpful to conduct a thorough content audit to identify which pages to refresh and which to delete.
As you comb through your old content, be on the lookout for:
- Outdated information pages: Let’s say you have a web page that includes event details for your annual fundraising half-marathon run. You edit the page each year, changing the date and time for the event, but it’s been a few years since you’ve updated the images on the page. Take this opportunity to find pages like this that can be made more relevant with a few quick changes.
- Oldie-but-goodie blog posts: Just because some of your blog posts are older doesn’t mean you should send them to the trash. Identify any blog posts that rank highly on Google or receive a lot of engagement when you share them on social media. Refresh these posts to give them new life and increase their longevity.
- Old testimonials: Testimonials from community members can be a great way to showcase your organization’s work, but only if they’re up-to-date. Ensure any featured testimonials only discuss active programs and projects. Consider reaching out to interviewees again to gather an updated quote or image as needed.
Once you’ve reviewed your blog content, certainly feel free to eliminate any old content that’s not worth refreshing and is clogging up your site. This process will leave you with only SEO-optimized, well-written, appealing content that gives your blog a more up-to-date look.
3. Reevaluate your user pathways.
Your user pathways include all the ways different types of visitors interact with your website to find what they’re looking for. Your site should present clear steps for each of your major visitor groups. This creates a simplified browsing experience, allowing audience members to navigate your site quickly.
If your user pathways are outdated and not relevant to your major audience segments anymore, you may see an overall decline in visitor engagement.
To revamp your visitors’ journeys, think about how the following groups engage with your website:
- Donors: Design the donor journey so that supporters can easily find your online giving page and fill out your donation form in as few clicks as possible.
- Volunteers: Provide volunteers with access to your user-friendly event calendar and detailed role descriptions.
- Advocates: Give advocates simple ways to promote your mission, from sending a pre-written email to a representative or sharing an infographic on social media.
- The individuals you serve: Ensure those you serve can easily find valuable resources or get in touch with your staff.
- Corporate partners: Spotlight opportunities for corporate partners to get involved, from event sponsorships to in-kind donation opportunities.
If you haven’t gone through the process of creating dedicated user pathways in the past, consider working with a nonprofit website consultant. According to Kanopi’s guide to nonprofit technology consulting, these professionals can assist with all aspects of web design, development, and support. They can help you identify the best ways to appeal to each user group, potentially increasing your website’s engagement metrics.
4. Incorporate user-generated content strategically.
Often, when you’re looking for ways to refresh your website’s content, you don’t have to look any further than your supporters. Your supporters consistently engage with your organization online by sharing photos of themselves volunteering, participating in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, and other activities.
A user-generated content strategy turns these snippets into valuable content for your website. User-generated content is a win-win: supporters can see themselves featured on your website, and you can offer unique, eye-catching content without having to spend time creating all the materials yourself!
Shake up your website strategy with these user-generated content ideas:
- Social media feed: Develop a unique, relevant hashtag for your next fundraising campaign and encourage supporters to share posts with the hashtag. Embed a live social media feed into your website to showcase your supporters’ posts.
- Peer-to-peer fundraising campaign updates: Your peer-to-peer fundraisers work hard to gather donations for your cause, and they deserve recognition. Implement a real-time campaign tracker to highlight supporters’ campaign-related posts and fundraising progress.
- Guest blog posts: Invite long-time or highly engaged volunteers, donors, and advocates to be guest bloggers for the day. Ask them to create posts that describe their history of involvement with your organization and how they support your mission on an ongoing basis. Make sure your guest bloggers have a certain level of writing experience or format the posts in a Q&A style to help guide their writing.
Even though a user-generated content strategy tends to be more hands-off, make sure to still review everything going live on your website for relevance and appropriateness. This will allow you to keep your user-generated content organized and professional.
5. Explore new forms of media.
There are few things more boring than a static, text-heavy website. Multimedia elements give supporters a deeper understanding of what your mission looks like in action, allowing them to see your work for themselves.
To keep your website’s content innovative and fresh, consider using the following multimedia elements:
- Video: Using video is nothing new for many nonprofits, but it may be new to your specific organization. If that’s the case, it’s never too late to get into video! Even quick interview snippets can be much more engaging for visitors than pages upon pages of text. Make sure any videos you include are accessible, with a prominent pause or hide option and captions for sound.
- Animation and creative microinteractions: The microinteractions that occur when users browse your website are small exchanges that can make a big difference in improving their user experience. Consider adding small, tasteful animations and microinteractions to your website, such as an animated infographic showing how your nonprofit uses donations, or a photo gallery that reveals relevant statistics when users hover over each image.
- Interactive elements: Take another page from the world of journalism by adding storytelling elements that give users a full multimedia experience. For instance, you might create blog posts that combine elements such as video, photos, sound, and interactive infographics. Ensure that these unique elements are still mobile-accessible by testing the mobile version of your content before pushing it live.
Consider testing different multimedia elements using a microsite before introducing them to your main website. For instance, perhaps you have a microsite that includes details about your annual Giving Day fundraising challenge. You can implement multimedia elements into this smaller site to judge their effectiveness and then incorporate the most engaging aspects into your main site.
As your most prominent online marketing platform, your website should never look outdated or bland. You want to show that being a part of your organization is an exciting, worthwhile journey to engage greater numbers of volunteers, donors, and other supporters. Following these tips (and working with a web design agency when necessary) can help revamp your website to be an effective engagement tool for years to come.
AUTHOR: ANNE STEFANYK
As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.
Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.