Is Your Website So 2018? Here are 8 Ways to Update It

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Posted on February 18, 2019 by Firespring in Nonprofit Startup.
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I completely understand. We’re all busy spinning a lot of plates, managing people, volunteers, projects, campaigns, events, partnerships—when all of the sudden we’re in the new year with last year’s website.

No worries, it’s still early 2019. Now is the perfect time to take a quick audit and really look at your site through the eyes of a new donor, prospect or website visitor. Did you know that, according to, 90% of people who get direct mail from a nonprofit will visit their website before contacting them? Nine out of ten—that’s a significant reason to keep your website as current, fresh and updated as possible, even if your marketing efforts are primarily offline.

If you have a website with a user-friendly CMS (content management system) with point-and-click simplicity, updating your website is a piece of cake. So, that’s the first order of business: If you’re not yet using an easy CMS, think seriously about switching to a platform that has one in 2019. Technology has advanced enough now that you should be able to manage your own website without having to consult an engineer for every little change.

That said, here are eight updates you can make without a lot of hassle that will bring your website into 2019 and help you engage better with your online visitors.

  1. Evaluate all your content. Are you still talking about a campaign that ended last year? Do you have landing pages that need to be deleted? Or results of a fundraising initiative that need to be updated? Do an audit of all your website content (and by that, I mean headlines, subheads and body text) and make sure you’re speaking to the present and the future of your organization.

    Pro tip: When you talk about your cause and your mission, kill the buzzwords and industry jargon. Speak plain English, please. You’ll come across as more honest and transparent, plus donors will get what you’re about at a glance. If people don’t understand what you do and what your mission is without having to consult a dictionary, you’re likely missing out on potential supporters.

  2. Make your website mobile-friendly. In 2018, over 52% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50% in the previous year. That number will continue to rise, which means if your website is not easy to read and navigate on a smartphone, it will likely get left behind, and soon. This is an easy problem to solve for: Get a responsive website design. It will adjust to look great on any size screen, plus it’ll boost your SEO with Google since their search algorithm favors mobile-friendly websites.
  3. Post a new video. People love them, and they’re easy to make. You don’t need professional equipment; a smartphone camera will do. You could do a video story about a long-term volunteer, introduce a new staff member, feature someone you’ve helped in the community recently or do a quick recap of your latest event or fundraiser. You could also put something together explaining your latest initiative and what your fundraising goals are. Highlight people and use an emotional hook to captivate and engage your viewers.
  4. Add a new section. If you don’t have a blog, that’s one of the best additions to make to your website this year. A blog gives you a platform from which to speak about your cause and the issues you’re passionate about. It helps position you as a thought leader in your space and gives you a place to address your organization’s position on current or community events. And it’s an easy spot to update content on a regular basis. Don’t like to write? Assemble a team of contributors (could be volunteers, board members or others associated with your organization) and use guest bloggers as well. You don’t have to do it alone.
  5. Be sure your subscription button is clear and prominent. Email marketing remains one of the most effective tools for engaging constituents and driving donations, but your email efforts are only as good as your list. If you’re not growing it, your email marketing will lose its effectiveness over the years. Put your subscription button in a clear place on your homepage and include it on other pages where it makes sense.
  6. Make sure all your links work. Nothing says unprofessional or “let me blow the dust off my stagnant website” more than broken links, but it’s not something that most of us even think to test or check very often. Take a little time this month to check all your links and make sure they’re working properly, then fix the ones that aren’t.
  7. Promote your recurring giving program. Did you know that the average monthly online donation is $52 ($624 per year) compared to the average one-time gift of $128? According to Network for Good’s donation data, the average recurring donor will give 42% more in one year than those who give one-time gifts. Millennials are particularly more likely to give smaller monthly gifts than a large one-time donation. Over the long haul, that equates to more money for your mission. If your recurring donation program is not prominent on your website, change it so it is. Link to your recurring donation from your homepage, from your email signature, in social media posts—and then be sure that webpage explains succinctly and clearly how easy it is to support your organization with an automated monthly gift. It’s a win-win for both you and the donor.
  8. Evaluate your donation forms. One, how many form fields do you have? Typically, the more fields that donors need to fill out, the fewer the conversions. A long form can appear tedious and cumbersome, so keep your forms simple and only ask for the information you really need. Do you include suggested donation amounts? Especially for first-time donors, this may boost conversions. Also, many people look for a sign of security on a website before they input their credit card information—an SSL certificate, for example (HTTPS with a small green padlock icon in the address bar vs. HTTP). Include on your form a statement about security and how you keep your donors’ information safe. These may seem like minor details, but they all influence conversion rates significantly.

Get started with one or two of these suggestions, and you’ll be on your way to updating your website for the new year and beyond. Of course, if it all seems overwhelming or you want to learn more about how to maximize your website for better results, Firespring can offer you help in another way. Make plans to attend one of our most popular free webinars, Get Killer Results: An Inside Look at the Firespring Nonprofit Website Builder, Register at

You’ll learn more about how to master your online presence by leveraging the power of your website, and you’ll see firsthand what the Firespring Nonprofit Website Builder can offer you and your organization. At Firespring, we consider the nonprofit space our home, and our mission is to help you accomplish yours with the right online tools and a website that engages your constituents.

Headshot of CEO of Firespring Jay Wilkinson

Jay Wilkinson is the founder and CEO of Firespring—a Nebraska-based Certified B Corporation. In 2016, Firespring was featured as one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 50 Places to Work in America and has been listed on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies 7 of the last 9 years. Jay has founded and sold five companies and has contributed as an angel investor in dozens more. As a philanthropist, he has raised millions of dollars for nonprofits. After decades, Jay remains passionate about crafting his own company’s culture, and spends the majority of his time helping nonprofits and businesses find their why and deepen their impact.

Jay is among the highest-ranking speakers at conferences all over the United States and has informed and educated thousands of nonprofit professionals and businesses with his empowering messages over the last 20 years. His TEDx talk on company culture has more than 1 million views. A graduate of MIT’s Entrepreneurial Masters Program, Jay has appeared on CNN and other national news outlets discussing the important role nonprofits and impact organizations play in the U.S. economy.

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