What Does Your #Association Website Say About You? – Part 3

website-searchA performing website will yield benefits for your membership recruitment and retention efforts, as well as help drive your sponsorship and exhibitor sales. A poorly functioning website can do just the opposite. It can be a warning sign screaming “This association doesn’t have what you need.” How can you tell which situation you are in? Our first post offered 3 warning signs, shortened versions as follows:

  • You Are Living With Someone Else’s Idea: If your website has not been reviewed and revised in the last 12-18 months, it is your first warning sign.
  • Proper Branding: Consistent branding is key; and if there is a disconnect, it is another indication that a re-design or facelift is required.
  • Are You Searchable?  SEO rules and functionality can have changed overnight, and it is important that your organizations stays on top of these changes to ensure that you stay competitive online.

Subsequently, our second post outlined three more warning signs:

  • How Is Your Content?  Answer questions like: Have you read your website content lately?  Is it easy to understand?  Does it teach anything?
  • Calling All Websites!  Websites that have yet to be optimized stand out like a sore thumb, and make it difficult to navigate the information.
  • Are You In Fashion?  Being unique is one thing, but just like you would raise eyebrows if you are now wore bell-bottomed pants and wide, psychedelic-coloured ties, ensuring your website is visually in-tune with the times is just as important.

Our final post outlines our final three warning signs:

  1. Traffic Stagnation:  One of the most important signs that your website is in need of some major help is traffic stagnation.  Decreasing traffic should NOT be your first warning sign; receiving consistent results below what you had expected is a clear indicator.  Traffic performing the same and never improving could potentially be as much of a problem as the decrease.
  2. You’re Not Social:  If your website doesn’t have “share” buttons on most of its pages, it may be time for an update.  Visitors should be able to click action-oriented buttons to share your membership information, advisories or any other important information in Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social network you have found they like to interact.
  3. Navigating The Labyrinth: Adding content is easy, but too many organizations are not considering where it is located on their website.  Association staff may be able to find the information easily, but can your members and other stakeholders, not to mention prospects?  The UE (User Experience) is often not accounted for when laying everything out.  Ideally, your content should be found easily, within one or two clicks.  If a visitor cannot find the content within that timeframe he/she will leave to find the information elsewhere.

With the pace of change on the internet, updating a website is an important step your association must undertake regularly.  Failure to do so is akin to not replacing the neon bulbs in a storefront sign: you risk not being found or being overlooked because others are better at maintaining their presence.