Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't Redesign Your Website Yet



I spend so much time talking about how nonprofits need to improve the usability, design and performance of their websites, that you'd think I'd be a huge advocate for website redesigns.  And, I am but...

I just read The 7 Deadly Sins of Website Redesign by Shabbir Safdar of Safdar Analytics and it gave me pause. 

According to Safdar, there are seven grave errors (sins) that many nonprofits and their consultants commit when engaging in expensive and time consuming redesigns. 

For example, in Sin #1, Safdar asserts that if you aren't careful, you may break all the links to your website when you launch your new site.  This is a NO-NO as it can seriously damage your Search Engine Ranking.  When people can't find your site it damages your traffic and credibility.  All the "link-juice" you've built up over time is gone to waste.

In Sin #4, Safdar explains that a redesign, while it may improve the aesthetics of your site, can actually make it HARDER for prospective donors, volunteers and clients do what they come to your site to do!  The answer:  Be sure to do some basic usability testing BEFORE you launch.  IMHO the best and most accessible book about usability testing for novices is Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug.

Your website is your home base on the Net.  It is still a critical tool for helping you to achieve your organizational goals.  As such, you should continually refine and improve its' performance. 

However, read Safdar's new FREE e-book BEFORE you engage in a full-fledged redesign.  (Heck, share the e-book with your designer!)  It will save you lots of heartache.


Cheers!
Jocelyn

1 comment:

Association Manager said...

Jocely,

I have also read ' Dont make me think' and after reading that our own company website is based on the those principles. Organizations need to present their material in such a way that it grabs the users attention with just 15 seconds.
My 2 cents.

Syd Irfan

Association Manager™

Managing your members the way it should be.
http://www.associationmanagement-software.com/