The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

7 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Association Website

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Tue, Apr 21, 2015



Spring is in the air! It’s time to open the windows, dust every inch of our homes, clean the drapes, exhaust the stale winter indoors drudgery and usher in a fresh, clean spring experience.

With all this cleaning going on, we asked our team for some suggestions on how to freshen up the spaces where we spend all our time — association websites.  Here are their top tips... 

Swap out stock photography for your own images

Get rid the tired, old stock photos on your association’s website that can be seen on websites everywhere else on the internet. Commission new photos or take them yourself: even a smartphone camera used with care can take perfectly good images. Look for images from your most recent events or meetings. Update staff photos with new images. Be inspired by recent industry news and create new photography.  It won’t be a complete overhaul, but your website will look better immediately with the great new images.

 - Mark Havelka, Web Designer/Front End Developer

Unpublish or delete old content in your CMS back-end

The front-end of your website is what your members will always see, but what about your content editors? What is their experience? The longer your website is live to the world, the more likely it is that it has accumulated pages that might no longer be relevant or needed.

Spend some time cleaning up the backend of your website in your CMS. If you have pages that are no longer relevant, unpublish or delete them. You could even create a "Recycled Pages" section and simply drop your old pages there for further review if deleting is not an option. This will make the backend experience easier to navigate, and your content editors will be able to locate content more efficiently. 

 - Marco Roman, Content Specialist 

Declutter and create focus on your homepage

Your website's homepage is the front porch of your website and your chance to make a great impression with your most important message. But too many homepages are cluttered with “important” content including conferences, news, publications, things to buy and special pet-project-programs.

Take a fresh look at your homepage, figure out what isn’t necessary for that first impression and remove it. What’s the most important thing for your members to know? What is just taking up space and can be removed? Your website will sparkle with a fresh first impression.

- Ray van Hilst, Client Strategist

Old news is no news

Go through your site and remove or unpublish events that have already passed. Also look at your association announcements and unpublish or remove announcements about those events (e.g. early bird registration, last chance to register, etc.). Nothing lets your members and website users know content is not regularly updated like a promo annoucnement for an event that took place last week. Keep all events and news current and topical.

 - Peter Hernandez, Project Manager

Tidy up behind the scenes

The face of your website is what most users see. But you can do some simple work on the “engine under the hood” to keep your CMS backend manageable. Review your list of backend users and disable logins belonging to former employees and adjust permissions for staff whose roles have changed. If your CMS has workflow, confirm that the right staff are being notified. 

Look around for backend Roles that may no longer be used to secure pages, and consider whether any Members Only content should be made open to the public to show off the value of your association's content. Finally, check for unpublished pages, content, or documents. Cleaning them up is cathartic and saves your team a few steps as they publish this year's new content.

 - Denise Pace, Project Manager

Update and refresh your content taxonomy

Many websites have taxonomies to organize and segment content in the CMS.  Take some time to revisit your taxonomy and make sure your categories are both still relevant, up-to-date and being properly used.

Are there new terms or subject areas that your association covers? Are there new keywords or buzzwords you can tag your content to increase its visibility and make your site more authoritative? Look to add or remove categories.

Also take a look at your content and document libraries to make sure everything has the appropriate and relevant categories and tags applied (people get lazy and stop adding categories). What content can you repurpose from your “vault” that’s still relevant to your audiences?

Lastly, don’t forget to document your changes and distribute your updated taxonomy to your content creators. Get them on the same page and using your updated website taxonomy.

 - Pramila Devadas, Content Specialist 

Collect contact info for potential members with a newsletter sign-up form

Almost every association has a newsletter to share industry and organization news. This is not only a great member benefit but also a great way for potential members to engage in your content on a regular basis. So make it easy for them to sign-up!

Add a newsletter sign-up form to capture their email address on your homepage and top landing pages and then add them to your mailing list. Soon they’ll be seeing your association’s name in their inboxes, become engaged, and start on their path to becoming valued members!

 - Cindy Petsche, Sales Director


What are your favorite tips? Leave a comment and share your best spring cleaning tips for your association website.

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