Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

How I created an authentic website that reflected my goals

Web Design
06.26.17
How I created an authentic website that reflected my goals

I’m so excited that I feel like shouting from the rooftops, “I have a new website!!”

After being in business for 1 year I knew that my website had to reflect the goals I wanted to achieve. It was time to update my website to really show how design can improve the impactful work you do.

Your website should reflect your goals
If you don’t remember my site before, it was a simple one-pager and it wasn’t really doing anything to help you or me. I needed something more robust and I didn’t want to do it completely on my own, so I hired a writer. I’m pretty confident in my writing ability, but honestly, I was going to design and program it and I just didn’t want to do everything. Besides, sometimes an outside voice — who is an expert in their field — can make a big difference.

The truth about most designer’s websites
Most designer/agency sites are really about the portfolio—with good reason. But they also mainly focus on showing how “cool” they are. I wanted a site that spoke directly to you. I wanted you to see yourself and your organization reflected in the language and visuals and to give you some inspiration on how design should multiply your hard work, not distract from it.

Websites need to change regularly
I believe all websites should be living things that are constantly changing. I still have a few things to add to my site. Primarily examples of recent projects, like the killer brochures I recently did for the Human Rights Foundation.

So head over to Studio Civico and check it out. I’d love to hear your feedback.

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6 ways to increase online donations

Web Design
11.15.16
6 ways to increase online donations

Is your donation landing page working as well as it could? Here are 6 ways you can increase your results:

  1. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile
  2. Donation amounts should be prominent
  3. Payment options should be easy to understand
  4. Call to action should be engaging and action oriented
  5. Tell them how the money will be spent
  6. Make sure the donate button is visible on every page

Lastly…
Don’t forget to say thank you. The thank you page is often overlooked and not given its due. It’s another way to engage with your donors, so don’t skimp on this experience. Think about how you can make it better. It could be fun, heartfelt, or interactive. Maybe it’s video from one of the clients that the money will support, or from the executive director. Really the goal to try something new, and treat the donor interaction as something special.

I personally love the idea of tagging donations to actions. If, for example, someone donates $50 to buy school books. Once those books have been bought, let the donor know. Send them a text or email about it.

Have you updated your donation page with any of these ideas? What were the results?

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How to DIY your website to meet your short-term goals

Web Design
07.12.16

The last couple of weeks I’ve written how design is a necessity, but what if your budget is practically nonexistent. What do you do?

Hands down, for your long-term success your site needs to be invested in, but if you just need a short-term site there are free, or inexpensive platforms and templates you can use.
Regardless of how much money you spend, your sites success rate will depend on your figuring these things out:

  • what are your objectives for the site
  • make your content user focused — what do they need & want to know
  • write in small chunks not long paragraphs
  • use headlines, subheads and callouts for people to skim
  • make sure its mobile responsive

You can choose from a variety of inexpensive platforms: WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify. Which you chose should depend on the kind of site you want to build and the content you have. Look at the templates offered and check out other sites that have used them to help you make the best choice.

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You only have 15 seconds to convince your audience

Branding | Marketing | Web Design
07.05.16

You’re passionate and knowledgeable about the work you do, but sometimes that gets in the way of convincing others how important it is. More than half of the visitors to your website will spend about 15 seconds on your homepage or any other page for that matter. Holy crap! I think many sites will fail this test.

What’s the key to breaking this? Show more, tell less. Show what your mission/product is. Show your impact. Show the reader what action they need to take. The rest is icing.

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How to turn a website template into an effective marketing tool

Marketing | Web Design
05.03.16
How to turn a website template into an effective marketing tool

Launching your new website can be stressful

I get it, you’re strapped for time and money. So you found a cool looking template (or theme) that comes with everything you need for your new site. It looked really good on the preview site, and you thought, “awesome,” but now you’ve added all you own content and images and it’s not working. Something isn’t right and you can’t put your finger on it.

Templates are always awkward without some tweaking
You’ve asked for feedback from a few trusted colleagues and everyone confirms your suspicions. There’s too much happening, they’re not sure where to click first, they don’t understand what you’re trying to say. So, what now?

Make your site authentic by putting your audience first
It’s time to take a step back and really think about what your audience needs, what you want them to know, and what you want them to do. Yes, this means that you’ll be making some programming and design changes to the template you bought, but honestly, that’s a good thing. Very few organizations can take a cookie cutter site and make it work for their content. Yes, it makes things a bit more complicated, but it’s better this way. You want a site that people are going to understand what it is you do, how it helps them, and what actions they need to take. If it takes them longer than 5 minutes to figure this out you’ve probably lost them. Why? That’s all the time they can spare.

For a superior website think clear, short and engaging content
People will usually skim a page first to get the overall gist of what you’re offering. So write as clear and concise as possible — think buckets with subheads, and use bulleted lists when possible. Remember not to overwhelm your audience with too much information, or choices.

Your home page should say:

  • what you do
  • what they will gain, or what the benefits are
  • and what action they need to take

How you do this is where the beauty comes in. Crafting sentences that engage, visuals that inspire, and calls to action that excite, takes practice. The beauty of the internet is that you can easily keep tweaking and make adjustments, even to a live site.

So take a step back, reassess your site, adjust as needed, and launch that sucker already. Don’t wait for perfection, he’s an elusive boyfriend.

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