As you consider a new website for your association this year, keep the following 5 things in mind. They are in our experience the components that make a new website viable, meaningful, sticky, scalable, member-focused, modern and relevant in 2010.
If you're using DreamWeaver or another computer-based web page updating system, stop. Your new site should be managed by a web-based system so that you can access and update your site from anywhere at any time.
2. Social networking
Sure there is a lot of hype around Web 2.0. But the reality is that these tools complement exactly what associations have been doing in the analog world for years. It's time to go digital and create engagement for your members online.
Don't compromise on the search feature of your website. If your site is over 50 pages, it's a vital piece of the equation. Thanks to Google, many of your site visitors prefer to simply hit the search box over trying to navigate your site. If your search functionality isn't up to snuff - one thing it should do is search the text within documents like PDFs, Excel and Word - then you risk losing potential members along the way.
We're not the first people to say mobile is the future for associations. You need to at least be "mobile-ready," which means first time visitors to your site see a nicely formatted, mobile-friendly website (go to ISES.com on your mobile to see what I mean).
In 2010 it's not as hard as it once was to connect all your third-party systems. SSO (single sign-on) across all platforms should be your goal. Have your members log in once and be able to seamlessly navigate across all of your web destinations, including your job board, event site, AMS profile and advocacy site to name a few.
So, what do you think? Do these sound reasonable? Anything on this list a surprise to you?