Are you maximizing your association websiteóor letting some
By DJ Muller
As the face of your organization, your website is undeniably
one of your most important communication tools. It is home to pertinent content
for both prospective and potential members, is available to anyone at any time
and any place, is essential to communicating your associationís personality,
and is the heartbeat of your organization.
Need I go on? And yet, despite these realities, the
consistent maintenance of the organizationís website often ranks low on an
associationís to-do list.
Is your site currently meeting your memberís needs? Are you
effectively maximizing your organizationís member growth and retention? Itís
time to take a step back, revaluate and find out. Here are five ways your
website could be letting your members down, and, more importantly, the
strategies that you need to fix them.
Incorrect and missing content. Quality content is what
positions your association as an expert in the minds of members and in the
industry you serve. Incorrect content, misspellings, page errors, missing media,
or missing links will diminish your credibility and leave your site visitors
feeling frustrated. Make sure to proofread content before publishing it, ask
trustworthy members of your team to meticulously check for spelling errors, and
use automated tools such as BrokenLinkCheck.com
to check for broken links. Additionally, include your logo, a search box, and
page navigation on your error page so that users can easily find the content
that they were initially seeking. Mistakes will happen, but these simple
preventive measures will help ensure that your content is error free.
Outdated content and technology. The negative impact that
outdated content technology can have on your organization is alarming. Failing
to adopt new technological advancements and update your siteís content can not only
inhibit your organizationís ability to stay current, but it also increases the
occurrence of security threats, deteriorates your reputation, and can adversely
affect new member sales and member retention. Create an editorial calendar to
timely manage and update content, update static webpages at least once a year,
utilize social media, and actively partake in blogging. If need be, upgrade you
content management system so that it is easy to update.
Hidden, poor, or no online member directory. Associations
are the original network, and members often join these types of organizations
to heighten their exposure and acquire new business. Accordingly, an online
member directory is a highly valuable tool to your members. If you do not
currently have one, or if your online member directory is disorganized and
difficult to navigate, itís time to make a change. First and foremost, if you
do not have an online directory, you must create one. Keep in mind that your
online member directory should be easily accessible, organized, and include a
Not mobile friendly. With the rise of mobile Internet users,
your associationís website must be optimized for smartphone and tablet users. Reorganize
your site layout for mobile users, and remember that some content, including
Flash-based content, is often unoptimized for mobile sites.
Untracked site referrals. Tracking web referrals is an
integral part of creating value for your members as well as understanding the
extent to which you benefit your members. You should always record your
referrals, including tracking clicks to membersí websites, maps, and website
listings, in addition to phone and walk-in recommendations. ≠Beyond this,
record these referrals in your association management software and provide referral
reports to your members.
Donít make yourself of victim of these common website
mistakes. Instead, position yourself as a true expert in the minds of your
members. Be relevant, stay on the cutting edge, create value, and provide
information for your members by tracking site referrals and optimizing your
DJ Muller is president and founder of WebLink International weblinkinternational.com.
For more on the ways your website could be letting your members down, download
WebLinkís free e-book Overcoming
the 5 Ways Your Website Lets Your Members Down.