Your professional association’s website is the centrepiece of your customer communication. First impressions will be based on it. Having one that reflects your brand in a refined and designed way is an absolute must.
Here are six features to implement in order to get the most from your digital dollars.
1. Mobile optimized
In 2015, around 36% of traffic to websites came from mobile devices.
Since then, that number has increased to 46%.
Some other staggering mobile statistics are:
- 80% of users own a smartphone (Smart Insights)
- 61% of people are unlikely to return to your site if you have a bad mobile experience (McKinsey & Co)
- Conversion rates on smartphones are up 64% compared to desktop conversion rates (socPub)
The conclusion is clear – a good mobile experience is no longer optional.
Fortunately, just as the demand for high quality mobile experiences has increased, so too has the technology to provide them.
Companies can now choose from responsive web design for maximum flexibility and minimum fuss, native mobile apps for the best possible experience, or mobile sites for content specific to customers on the go.
2. Clear, simple navigation
Professional association websites are usually chock full of information, so navigation is a key issue. Generally, simple options are better for main menus, with sub-menus where necessary for additional information.
As with navigation for other websites, make button labels consistent with:
- Audience expectations (for example, ‘news’, ‘tools’, ‘events and more’)
- Each other – consistent menus and page layouts confirm audience expectations
- Other websites – users have become accosted to a way that websites work. The more you comply with existing norms, the better your website will be.
It’s also a good idea to include quick links for your most requested web services, either on the home page or available no matter where visitors are on your site.
3. Powerful SEO
There’s no point in having an amazing website if no one can find it.
Simple SEO practices like using target keywords for posts and ensuring you have readable, friendly URLs will help you make yourself easy to find for your target audience. Even if your users are motivated to get to your specific website, most will probably type the organization name into Google to get there.
You need to make sure that you’re at the top of page one.
4. Strong call to action (CTA)
For any website, even professional associations, driving users to specific actions is critical to a great experience.
You need to make it clear what you want users to do and easy for them to do it.
It’s a good idea to include an audience funnel on your homepage as well. This will prevent visitors from getting lost and makes them more likely to stay around.
5. Images and video
Humans are fundamentally visual creatures. We can process information in a picture of video at a phenomenal speed compared to reading. What’s more, video and images are increasingly popular mediums – and ones that you should be considering as part of your core messaging strategy.
6. Use a content management tool (CMS)
We tend to focus on what visitors see when we talk about websites.
The most active professional associations are always releasing new content:
- It reinforces their leadership position within the industry
- Drives organizational value and encourages user sign up
A CMS makes the processes around content production and organization easy. You can create and publish content to your digital properties quickly and efficiency, without needing to contact webmasters every time you write a blog post.
When it comes to web design and functionality, we could go on forever. But we won’t. Use the features above as a starting point for creating an exciting, dynamic web presence that your visitors and association members will love and new prospects can’t wait to check out.