A few more thoughts on developing a decent website

I’m doing some research which requires me to get basic information about 23 non-profit organizations. There are lots of them that either don’t say or hide the most basic information – what do you do? basic background info? director? other staff? address? phone number? The bigger organizations seem to think that people will already know what it is they do.

I just went to little ole Norris Square Neighborhood Project site www.nsnp.com and they brilliantly described themselves on the first page, and included address, phone number, and email. One click and you get to “staff.”* Wow! I feel like I am probably not the only one that is often looking for this info. I won’t name names on the less than great sites, but a lot of non-profits use very fluffy language to describe themselves (I bet some churches do this too….) and you really have no idea what they mean. For instance, I went to place that describes themselves as “committed to developing a sustainable, bioregionally appropriate way of life that reflects and honors the interconnectedness of all things.” Which is lovely, except that it is sort of hard to figure out what they actually do. You can figure it out with a few clicks, but why not be clear upfront? Clarity, regular language, and intuitive navigation are so key.

*Note that the links to the individual staff members are dead on this particular website, so everything about it is not great, obviously.  Good side note: It is never, ever a good idea to have bad links on your website. I understand the challenges of how many non-profits hire their cousin to do the website, or something along those lines.  It is hard to find funds and time and people for that sort of thing.  Perhaps just take the links down until you can make them work.  Simple is good.  So much better than dead links, confusing layouts, and unclear navigation.  I think this is also a generational thing.  To my dad, a dead link isn’t a big deal. To my generation, the website is very closely linked with the organization – if you can’t keep your website up, how are you going to keep other things going?  I think this reflects how a web presence is considered an integral part of an organization to my generation (and younger, of course). I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but if public perception of your organization matters (sometimes it doesn’t) then it seems like this should be a priority…

Just some thoughts.  So glad it is finally sunny outside.  More soon…

2 Responses to A few more thoughts on developing a decent website

  1. I like that NSNP has their annual report available without too much searching. It is odd that sometimes web sites seem to hide the most basic of all information as if it’s self-evident. I suppose it demonstrates an insular world view.

  2. reedavaz says:

    Hello, this is interesting! I am currently redesigning the NSNP Website right now and it should be live in a couple of days. I would love to hear what you think!

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