Your website is the hub for online member engagement. It’s how you attract and engage prospects and keep your existing members coming back.
But what MAKES an engaging website? How can you appeal to both prospects, and perhaps more importantly, your members? Here’s a little checklist:
On the public-facing side…
- An interactive design - Your website must, must, MUST be responsive. With more than 50% of search queries globally coming from mobile devices, this one’s non-negotiable - if you want your site to be engaging. (Still not convinced you need a mobile-friendly website? Here are five reasons to reconsider.)
- Fresh content - The thing that’s going to attract prospects to your website the most (and keep them coming back)? Fresh content. This means new, informative blog posts, videos, white papers, etc. The more you can showcase your association’s value on the front-end, the more prospects will look to you as a resource, and ultimately, want to join.
- Social media links - You can only update your website content so much. But the place where content is constantly changing (or should be constantly changing)? Social media! Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram posts, etc. - these are the things that are going to keep prospects scrolling. Now you definitely want to have links to your social media accounts on your association’s website, but you may also want to consider having built-in widgets as well (your tweets displaying in real-time on your association’s home page, for example).
- Built-in forms and share buttons - Engagement is really built around someone taking some kind of action: reading something, “liking” something, sharing something, etc. That said, if you want people to engage with you, you have to make those types of actions easy. Consider placing forms throughout your association’s website (to get in touch, download a white paper, register for a webinar, etc.), as well as share buttons with your content (to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Easy action means more action!
On the members-only side…
- Personalization - The most impactful way to stir online member engagement? To make. Things. PERSONAL. This means when a member logs in, showcasing their name, member type, membership expiration date, and involvement (whether or not they’re on the board, on a committee, etc.). Not only is this a warm welcome for your members, but the more the content directly applies to them, the more likely they are to actually pay attention to it. (Note: This type of personalization is SUPER easy to do with something like an association management system in place.)
- Community access - You want your members to engage with other people, so easy community access is a must. This means having links to social circles, online forums, peer-to-peer messages, and more ON the member landing page (the page your members see upon first logging into your site). Don’t make them go looking. (Chances are, they won’t.)
- Upcoming events - Events are a HUGE tactic for engagement, but the first step is getting the word out there about your events. To ensure your members know what’s going on (and boost the chances of them actually attending), make sure your events are displayed clearly on your association’s website, ideally, on the member landing page. And make sure those events are up-to-date as well! (Pro tip: With an AMS, you can actually set it up to where your events will automatically update (appear/disappear) as they come and go. Once less thing for you to have to worry about!)
- News and announcements - News and announcements are obviously important (and something you want your members to see), so make sure they’re displayed clearly (or at least linked to) on your member landing page. Once again, your members won’t go searching for this information. So if you want them to know the latest news or take action in response to a particular announcement, put this info front and center.
Want more tips for making sure your association’s website is top-notch (aesthetically pleasing AND engaging)? Check out our free guide, Membership Websites: The Mothership of Online Member Engagement, below!