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4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Association's Website

‍A website provides a virtual place for interaction. Not only can your website help retain and engage current members, but it also serves as a means to attract new association members. Get ready to improve your website with these 4 easy tips.

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Today it seems everything (and everyone) is online. With our changing world, companies have begun to rely heavily on their online presence to boost business and associations are no exception. Your association’s website is probably one of the first places people go to find information on your association. Keeping it updated is critical and increasing your site traffic can only benefit membership growth and membership engagement.

A website provides a virtual place for interaction. Not only can your website help retain and engage current members, it also serves as a means to attract new association members. The Internet is a global platform and this allows your association to reach more audiences and demographics than ever. More clicks to your site translates into more people knowing about your association exists. If someone is looking up your association and having a good experience, they’ll recommend your association to others they know in the field. An increase in traffic to your association’s website will help increase this as well. People can research essentially anything with just a few clicks now thanks to Google. 58% of Americans perform online research about any products and services they're considering purchasing.

So, you can be sure potential members will look to your website for more information before committing to a membership. Your website can be thought of as an online brochure. And, to build on the analogy: the more brochures you hand out, the more return you're going to see. So, how do you drive more website traffic and get visitors to stay longer and convert? Check out five tricks you can start implementing today.

1. Give your site a makeover

If your association’s site is outdated, you might want to consider a website remodel. Sites that are visibly outdated tend to be passed over. Not surprisingly, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content and/or layout is unattractive.

There are many ways about going about a makeover or refresh for an association's website. Finding a layout and website management platform that works for your association’s content and goals is key. What is the main goal of the website? To inform? To engage? To serve as a source for member resources? The answers to these types of questions are helpful guides.

At the end of the day, it is best to keep it simple. Including your association's mission, info on how to join, and a "contact us" page are crucial for any site. From there, you can begin to customize to fit your association's personalized needs. It might seem silly, but it's crucial to make sure each page works correctly, too. 39% of people stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. Test each page and functionality regularly and keep an eye out for feedback.

2. Incorporate a news feed

One of the first things a user should see when they click to your website is the most current news about your association or the field your association is involved in. No one wants to see year-old news on a site's homepage.

So, keep it fresh and current. Even if it is just a posting about an upcoming event or a recap of a previous event, keep your members and website visitors updated on what is going on within your association. To make updating your website even easier, link your association’s social media feeds on the homepage. So, when you update your social profiles it will all pull to your website. Make sure to include links to your association's social media in either the header or footer of your website for easy access.

If your site becomes a go-to source for news on trending topics in your association’s field or niche, you will begin to see spikes in traffic. Posting about changes to practices in the workplace or new legislation that will affect your members are excellent examples of relevant information that will keep people coming back to your site.

3. Make contacting you a breeze

Did you know 51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from the majority of company websites? Don't let your association be a part of that group! Your association needs to have a visible and current contact page with phone numbers, email, and your physical address. This way members (and non-members) can get in touch.

Additionally, it would benefit your association to dedicate a page entirely to converting website visitors into members. This page should include member benefits, quotes or testimonials from current members, and information on how to join. Incorporating a simple contact us form right there make it as easy as filling out a few fields and hitting "submit." In fact, just changing the color of the "submit" button has an effect on conversion rate! So, be sure to continually test and optimize to get the best results.

You may want to include a feedback system at the bottom of the contact page, as well. This can be through email or the another form on the site itself, but having a designated place where a site visitor can leave feedback can be helpful to your association.

4. Make your site mobile-friendly

You don’t necessarily need to create a mobile application for your association, but making sure your website is mobile-friendly is a huge plus. In 2016, mobile devices surpassed desktops in website views for the first time, with 51.3% of all website views for the month of October being from mobile devices and only 48.7% being from desktop users. If your association’s website isn't catering to mobile users, it might be time for a website refresh.

There are few options you can take to transform your website into a mobile-friendly one. You can redesign the individual pages to be mobile friendly or creating a completely separate mobile version might be easier. There are little adjustments you can make to make your website a better experience on a mobile device like using standard fonts and changing the widths of page. Do some outside research and then you will be able to determine what's right for your association’s website.

Your association’s website is a great opportunity to control the narrative and market to new potential members. You don’t want to squander that opportunity because your website doesn't clearly lay out your mission or users can't access it on their smartphone. Perform a survey of current members and association staff for quick (and honest) feedback. And, now armed with this new information, take another look at your association’s website with fresh eyes.