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Interview your Website

by | Jan 8, 2013 | Industry News & Trends


Is your website as professional as you are?

Ever entered an organization to be met by a receptionist who’s on a personal call, speaking much louder than is required, chomping on gum and looking at you like you’re an interruption? Unless that organization is essential to you, your first impression my be your last. Who wants to be an inconvenience to someone? You’ll most likely go elsewhere.

We know your front office staff is amazing and they would never be rude like that but is your website doing the same thing? Potential members (customers or donors) are learning more about you on their schedule. This is why it’s extremely important to have a professional website with well-crafted materials that your audience will be interested in. Chances are their first impression of you will not involve a member of your staff. Your website is now your receptionist (or your public information officer), front and center and representing you and your organization 24/7.  

What is your viewer’s first impression of your organization based on your website? Do they see an unprofessional, gum-chewing, loud-talking, no time for you gatekeeper when they come to your site or are you represented in a professional manner with language they can understand, content they’ve been looking for and a call to action that is inspiring? If your association has been waiting to re-vamp your website and content you may want to ask yourself how many prospective members are passing you by because your content doesn’t resonate with them or the tone/look of the site gives them a very different impression of who you are? Just as you would interview a receptionist or office manager who would represent your organization, you’ll want to interview your website periodically and make sure it’s still doing its job. Ask yourself the following three questions about your website:

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. If your website does not tell a visitor who you are and what you do, it’s failing. It needs to answer these questions quickly and succinctly, in language your audience can understand. (This will vary greatly depending on your target member.) The tone of the content should mirror your group’s personality. Your website should deliver on a promise of what it’s like to be a member. If your website content doesn’t reflect your association’s personality, it’s time to get out the proverbial red pen and do some rewrites.

2. What has been your greatest challenge thus far? Your content should speak to your members’ experiences. If you are in a trade association, it should resonate with the industry professionals you represent. Don’t shy away from the difficulties of the profession or the bad press it may have received yesterday. Keep your content relevant and appealing. Embrace the challenges of both the profession/group you represent as well as your own. People identify with humans.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years? A website is not a set it and forget piece of property. It should be evolving with your organizational needs and those of the audience you are trying to target. Don’t add content or create a design and leave it there forever. Have goals. Update content. Rework your design periodically. Stagnation is as real an issue for websites as it is for those you are choosing to represent you.

Your website is most likely the first representation many people will have of your organization and its offerings. This should not be taken lightly. You are entrusting your site to welcome people in; ask them how you can help; and provide information on evenings, weekends and holidays. It’s one of the hardest working members of your staff and the one you have the most control over so ensure it looks professional, up-to-date and has a helpful attitude at all times.


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