12 tips for creating a new website for charities
Creating KCF’s new website has been something of a labour of love. It was a time consuming but enjoyable project filled with valuable business lessons.
Now that the site is live, here are a few key lessons I learned along the way which can hopefully help if you’re thinking about tackling your website:
- First and foremost - ask yourself the right questions! Why do you need a new website? Who is the user? What do you need it to do?
- DIY or find the right developers for you. We used Kayo to create our snazzy new website. Put the project out for tender, get reviews/case studies from their other clients. Make sure you get everything you agreed in writing to refer back to later (price, what this covers etc.) If you do not have the budget for a developer then there are some great free website builders including; Wordpress.co.uk, GoDaddy UK, Wix, Weebly etc. Check out this comparison website for more information.
- Create a site map – this can be done however it works for you. I created mine using an A3 side and lots of small pieces of paper. I labelled each piece with a page I wanted featured on the new website, making it clear which page linked to which. I used blue tack to stick them to the sheet - this meant that they could be moved about easily
- Don't be scared of the content! So the task doesn’t look as daunting – get different members of the team to both write and proof read content. You will become close to the project so as many eyes as possible will spot any mistakes
- Save all your best photos in one place – your website is you window and deserves high resolution, sharp and colourful images
- Use an image optimisation tool that plugs into your website. We are a fast paced society – we don’t like to be kept waiting! Using an optimisation tool like Kraken will help speed up your loading time. This costs $5 per month for 500MB - we initially started off with a slightly more expensive option as I was uploading a lot of images, this was easy to reduce to the basic option
- Want to add a search function? Use a free search tool – like Algolia. Not-for-profit organisations can apply to use Algolia for open source for free
- Learn on the job! Get involved in creating pages – what better way to learn a new CMS than to create your own pages – the developers are always there to help you out!
- Test, test, test – before launch make sure you go through each page and test all the links go to where they should
- Ensure your website is secure! Especially if you ask for people’s details or take payments online. Get a SSL certificate - small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation's details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser
- Go live but keep developing! The website may not have been perfect when we went live but perfection can delay launch. We launched knowing that we had areas that still needed work. The good thing about going live is that I can continue to get more real-time feedback to keep making it better
- Timing – think about your time frame and then double it! It's like buying a house - things always take longer than you think
Find out more about the launch of our new website here.
Hannah Lawrence – Communications Executive, Kent Community Foundation