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5 Ways Your Website Could Be Disappointing Members - 5/14/2014 -

Are you maximizing your association websiteóor letting some things slide?

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Outdated content and technology. The negative impact that outdated content technology can have on your organization is alarming.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 search box.

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 member directory.

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.


 

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