Association Website Design – What’s Important

Lynne Newbury - Project Manager
For Associations and NFPs a website is one of the most important investments you will make. Associations are either overspending or underspending on their website and many are not sure on what they need or what they are getting. Hopefully with these tips and guidelines it will give you a deeper understanding on what’s important to create a good solid backbone to your online presence. 
association website design
First Impressions 
Your website is your online business, more people will potentially see your website than your physical location. A well designed website will add credibility to your business and encourage members and web users to interact with your site. As web users continue to become more tech savvy it’s important your website does the same. There is no better way then showing them how you can help them and why they need your services than having a clean and visually appealing website. 

The navigation of a website is possibly the most important aspect. A website’s navigation can either make or break a site depending on how many pages you have. Typically website navigation comprises of a navigation bar or menu with a list of labels that differentiate the pages of the website. Good navigation should be easy to find and allows users to effortlessly travel throughout the website. Be careful your designer doesn’t get carried away with fancy typefaces and instead keeps it simple and intuitive.    
If your association is looking at rebranding any aspect now is the time to do it while you are redesigning the website. If you want to update your logo, slogan or any other branding make it tie in with your new website. If you are getting a new website and your logo design is outdated it may not look as good as it could. 

Reading Patterns & SEO
Different positions on a website generate more eye traffic than others, just like a book people read it the same way from top to bottom, left to right. Web designers also take this into account when designing a website, and place the important content towards the top and upper left hand column. Placing important content on the homepage and throughout the website is also good for search engine optimization. Placing keywords in the Alt text (image description) and meta tags (page description) allows search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo to crawl your website more easily increasing placements. 
Content & Calls to Action
Content on your site is really important as you want enough information to get the message across as well as being warm, welcoming and to the point. You don’t want too much text on the page as it becomes visually cluttered making it difficult to read, break content up with headings and images. Calls to actions are important for increased member engagement especially targeted at web users who don’t have access to member only content, encouraging them to sign up to receive all benefits. It’s also important to upload new and fresh news stories, articles and events to keep the members and web friends coming back and interacting with the site. 
Today it’s important to look at your demographic and determine if you need to down the path of a responsive website. If your demographic is constantly on the go and wants access to content where ever they are responsive is the way to go. A lot more design planning is needed to make sure your site it build to appear correctly on mobiles and tablets. Mobile apps are being more important with associations with annual conferences. 
CRM Integration
For an association it's just about the front website but also the back end CRM and reporting capabilities. Our ME solution integrate the website, CRM and member portal. This reduces duplicates of data, saves staff time via a more efficient system. 
Member Evolution has also been producing some great association website designs to check them out view our Portfolio