Let’s face it: you have to have a sharp, regularly updated website in this day and age to be relevant. Association pros are experts at a lot of things, but website development is rarely one of their skills, so they often outsource their association’s website development.
But that comes with a lot of questions. Here are five things you need to consider when shopping for a website developer before you begin the initial search!
1) What does your website really need to have?
Take a look at your current website, or even if you’re starting from scratch, imagine how your website looks in your wildest dreams. Another good idea is to find another association website you like and admire. Note the functionality and perhaps you’ll even see the trademark of the developer on it. If it’s the format you like, be sure to write that down, as well as key menu items that you see translating well to your association’s website. If there’s something missing, note that as well. A conversation with a website developer should be a back-and-forth, discussing capabilities and desires, as well as cost. Remember with websites the sky’s the limit, but you often have to pay big money for the highly customized ones! Keep in mind, though, that there are many website templates out there that can meet your needs and be adjusted to reflect your association without breaking the bank.
2) Integration with your AMS and payment processing
Usually the first request out of an association pro’s mouth is “I need my members to register for events and pay dues on my website.” If your website doesn’t allow that capability, it’s probably not worth the investment. Another big consideration is your AMS. Integrating your AMS with your website will not only help with updates but also encourage members to participate in the online communities!
3) A smooth, clean look and feel
Have you ever been to a website that’s just too busy and you just can’t stand to spend much time on it? Your website has a lot of information to share, but it doesn’t have to all be on the home page, and it doesn’t have to all be in your face. Clean, tidy menus and links are a great way to go and make an organized website that’s easy to use.
4) Easy to update
It would be nice if you could just carry your website developer in your pocket with you, but unfortunately that can’t happen. When you invest in an association website you need to be able to update it and fully understand the back end yourself, even if you’re only adding blog entries or pictures. Websites aren’t things you can create once and then forget about for several years; they need to be dynamic!
5) Money, honey
The amount of money you’re willing to spend really will make a difference between a highly customized website that takes a little longer to put together and a website that is still highly effective, but in an already-made template. Talk with your board first. Find out how much money you can allocate to this cause, and then start the conversations.
All of these things are important to the purpose of your website, but another huge consideration, especially when creating a website from scratch, is content. What are you going to put on your website to attract new members, encourage donations, and increase involvement and member engagement? Having a good amount of content ready is a great start and will help the design process move along much smoother.
Did you know that MemberClicks offers web design services as well as our awesome Association Management Software? Click here to see our offerings in web design!