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How to design an effective website – Part 1

By Claire Fuller | Creative Marketing Fundraising | 14 October 2016

Whether you’re reading the news, socialising with friends, looking for a new home, browsing the latest cars, booking a restaurant, doing your shopping or finding out about the work of a charity that’s close to your heart, there’s no doubt we’re living an increasing amount of our daily lives online.

With over 1 billion websites on the internet today (and most of these sites existing without being seen), the challenge is to create a website which will be most effective at reaching your audience and getting your message across.

What makes an effective website?

An effective website provides a clear “window” to your organisation by:

  • Conveying your proposition through text, graphics, sound and video
  • Providing a clear method for supporters or donors to give to you
  • Enabling people to securely purchase products
  • Helping people to find and contact you

When budgeting and designing your website it’s important to consider the “lifetime” you expect from it. To ensure that your website is built to last, you should therefore consider:

  • Does the website contain all the functions and features you need it to (or will you have the ability to add more functions later if necessary)?
  • Will it display properly on all the platforms it’s likely to be viewed on?  Consider how it looks on desktop, tablet and mobile and whether it will work when accessed through different browsers
  • Can you easily update the content of the site if you need to make amendments or add more information to it?

Team Planning Meeting

What are the 4 key elements to consider when building a website?

  1. Purpose – What is the main aim of your website?  This could be selling products, fundraising (collecting donations), awareness raising, sharing news, providing opportunity for people to communicate with you or a combination of any/all of these elements
  2. Content - Ensure that your website contains all the necessary information you need it to and that it’s possible for you to add/delete/amend the content if needed.  It’s also useful to ensure that your website contains up to date contact information for customers and supporters to get in touch and ask you any queries they may have
  3. Structure – Consider the “user journey” people will take as they navigate their way through your site.  The popular “3 clicks rule” suggests that people will leave a site if they’re unable to find the information they’re looking for within 3 clicks or taps, but in fact, the important factor is “ease of navigation” using well labelled links and providing “the scent” of the information they’re looking for
  4. Platform (Closed Source or Open Source CMS) – The type of CMS (Content Management System) that you use to build your website on will affect the development, build cost and the access and ability you have to control and amend/update your website

For assistance with choosing the best CMS for your website please “stay tuned” for our upcoming article on “choosing the best platform for your needs”, or contact us to discuss your specific requirements.


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UX Myths website 

Images courtesy of Istock

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