Setting up a charity website involves several steps, from planning and designing to launching and promoting the site. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set up a successful charity website:
Understand the Sector and the Geography
Though it is quite easy to categorise all charities under one collective name, this is not the right way to setting up your charity website. Each sector has different particularities and complexities. For instance, what works for say an education charity in New York will be very different from what works for, say, a marine ecosystem conservation charity in Greece. Understanding the sector, its characteristics, target audience, communication styles, regional language or dialect and their nuances or structures are some starting points you need to think on.
Define your Objectives:
Before starting the website development process, it is essential to identify your goals and objectives. What do you want your website to achieve as its primary goal and what are its secondary goals? For instance, is the primary goal to raise awareness, attract donations, or recruit volunteers? Mapping these points will help you create a structural flow of where your focus needs to be. This will help guide your design and content decisions. This step will not only define the website structure right now but also in the future. It may seem cliché to create a detailed structural map with descriptions of what and why, but that is what makes a good website.
Choose a Sensible Domain Name
Select a domain name that reflects your charity’s name or mission. Ensure the domain is easy to remember, spell and type, especially if you want to target donors from different regions and languages. A name like ‘KusaidiaWatoto.org’ for a children’s charity in East Africa may make sense but it will not have takers if you choose that name in say, the Czech Republic.
Spend some time thinking of the domain name. If it is not in your control and you are simply designing the website, then spend time with the charity founders and management to choose a relevant domain name. Register the domain with a reliable domain registrar. At ClickBiz, we do this for you for free but if you are not using our charity website templates then try to find a registrar that does not charge a high renewal fee.
Select a Good Web Hosting Service
Again, this is something we do for you at ClickBiz for free, but if you are not using our services, then research and choose a web hosting provider that meets your website’s needs in terms of storage, bandwidth, security and support. Some providers offer discounts or special plans for charitable organisations.
Here is what you need to watch out for. Some hosting businesses offer discounts on the initial sign-up but renewal charges significantly shoot up. It may seem easy to move to a different host but that is not easy. You stand to lose quite a lot, from security and speed to backups and an expert customer care team. These are the hidden costs of changing a host but often get ignored by charities and even businesses when they are signing up.
Decide on a Website Building Platform
Choose a website builder or content management system (CMS) that suits your technical skills and requirements. WordPress is a popular choice for its flexibility, ease of use, and wide range of templates and plugins. But you may need help to fine-tune your theme and get a site that has been optimised to give you a strong stable platform to grow your brand. Again, at ClickBiz, this is something we do for you for free, but most website developers and even template providers do not put much thought into it besides the initial design and development.
There are other platforms out there. You will see their ads everywhere when you start looking for a website. They will talk about how good and easy they are but their ease of use comes at a cost. And the cost is flexibility, scalability, promotional capability, disproportionately increasing costs and more.
To Sum Up
Each of the above steps can be time-consuming to work through. If you don’t have too much of an idea about web design and development or don’t have a technical background or have expertise in an unrelated field, then getting all of these steps sorted out will prove to be a challenge.
We suggest you try ClickBiz’s website template packs for charities that come with premium WordPress themes that have been custom-designed and optimised for charities and come with free domain and hosting, in addition to donation form software that helps you raise donations using only a link from anyone, anywhere in the world. We also offer custom website development where we take care of these specifics for you.
If you need any help in understanding how to go about building your website, give us a buzz. We are always available to help charities do their good work.
Here are some other blog posts you may like: