How to Host a Nonprofit’s Website on WordPress
Nonprofit websites are an essential part of any organization’s digital strategy because they can drive online traffic, raise awareness, and collect donations. However, creating a website for a nonprofit isn’t quite as easy as it sounds because it requires a little bit of work. Here’s what you need to know.
Choosing The Right Platform
The first and most essential step is to choose the right platform. You don’t want to pick a blogging platform like WordPress because it’s very flexible and can be used to create just about any type of website you can think of. You also don’t want to use a CMS (content management system) like Joomla because they are designed to make things easy for website owners but can be difficult to use for novices. For those looking to dive into web design or development, they can be a little tricky to learn.
Choosing a CMS is something you need to avoid like the plague. The team at WP Engine created a definitive guide that covers all the ins and outs of web design with CMSes, which you can access for free here. CMSes like Joomla and WordPress are extremely popular amongst bloggers because they make content creation and management easy, but that’s not always the case. If you’re looking for a blogging platform, consider using a static website generator like Ghost or Jekyll because they are extremely popular with beginners and don’t require you to learn a new platform to use them. They also provide you with all the functionality you need without the need for extensive customization. You can find out more about Ghost here and Jekyll here.
Plan Out The Content
Even though you have chosen the right platform, the next step is to plan out the content itself. Your nonprofit website will function as the digital hub of your organization so you want to make sure that it’s easy to navigate and contains all the necessary information. Before you start making any content, take a few minutes to plot out what you will include in the site. You can also use the content you have for social media posts to help drive traffic to your site. Once you have the content planned, start researching information to include in the site. You can start with some quick internet searches to see what’s available online or visit your local library to see what books might be useful to include in your research. You can find a lot of information on your chosen topic but, rather than memorizing everything, make it a point to look for sources of information that can help you make inferences and draw conclusions. This will help you develop your own knowledge instead of just using what you’ve read.
Set Up The Navigation
Once you have all the content planned and researched, it’s time to set up the navigation. You want to create a smooth and easy-to-use user experience so that your visitors can easily find what they are looking for. The best way to do this is to use one of the many WP navigation tools available, such as NaviKit or WooCommerce’s Shop Navigation. These tools will create a fully functioning online store with all the products you’ve selected organized in an eye-catching and informative manner. You can choose from a variety of styles available and can organize the items into different groups (e.g., clothing, bags, etc.) for enhanced usability.
Pick A Design
The next step is to find a designer who can help you create a custom, branded look for your website. You’ll want to pick an experienced designer who is familiar with non-profits and can create a look that is both subtle and effective while not being too distracting. When it comes to the aesthetics of your website, you want to choose something that is simple, clean, and easy to navigate. If you’ve been following along so far, you already know the importance of picking a design that’s both easy to use and pretty.
Curate The Content For International Readers
Depending on the platform you’ve chosen, you might also have to consider whether or not you will allow for international readers. If your target audience is largely within the United States, you can probably omit this step because you’ll have little to no issues with rendering the content in English. However, if you anticipate having a significant amount of international readers, you might want to consider making some small adjustments to create an experience that’s more accessible to these users. You can use a tool like Google Translate to provide instant translations but, for the most accurate results, you should consider paying for a translation service.
Make Sure Your Website Is Up-To-Date
Since you’re busy establishing trust with your visitors, maintaining a well-designed and up-to-date website is essential for continuing to gain trust. One of the simplest ways to ensure that your site is always kept up-to-date is to use a WordPress plugin like Yoast’s SEO (search engine optimization) for quick and easy content updates. The plugin will scan your site for any outdated information and, depending on how long it’s been since your last update, it will suggest a list of things you should probably review.
Build A Following
Nonprofit websites aren’t just about information. You also want to make sure that you’re following the right social media channels to attract the right audience and encourage them to engage with your content. If you’ve been following along, you’ve already started establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry by writing high-quality articles for publication. You can also create a YouTube channel where you can post videos explaining the latest trends in your industry or how you’re using a specific product to boost your productivity. In addition to the above, you should consider creating a blog to steadily build your personal brand’s online presence. Remember, to establish credibility and trust, you must be consistent.