The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

Does Your Association Website Need a Remodel Or a Redesign?

Posted by Chris Bonney on Fri, Jul 08, 2016


We fielded a survey a few months ago to find out how often associations redesign their website and how they manage their sites.  One of the most amazing things we found was this:

Nearly 40% of associations have not updated their website design within the past three years!

True, there is no exact rule of how frequently a site needs to be redesigned, but we believe three years is pushing the envelope. 

For some perspective from the for-profit world, a survey by HubSpot found that 68% of marketers has rebuilt their site in the past 12 months!

Remodel or Rebuild?

There is a reason fashion trends and car models change so frequently – humans appreciate when things look good. And it's true for the web: an outdated website will makes your association look outdated. 

If you have an easy to use CMS like Sitefinity, it is relatively easy to freshen up the site. If you don’t have a good CMS, or if your site navigation frustrates your visitors and members, then its time to consider a complete redesign and rebuild.

We recommend that this is something that should happen at least every three years to look your best.

Make Time for Regular Make-Overs

Are you at least keeping your content fresh? You should be. Another tidbit from our survey:

Nearly 90% of respondents are updating their site content at least monthly – and many more on a daily basis.

Good for you! Even if you’re working with an outdated website, you can at least be giving your visitors solid, updated content. 

Keep in mind - especially those of you who fall in the 10% category - that a best practice is to take a look at the most frequently viewed pages on your site and see when they were last updated. Make sure it was within at least the last two weeks to a month so you are staying current with your content. 

We recommend that your web content should be substantially changed every two to three months because a visitor to your site will only come back and stay if they have access to new information. 

Also keep in mind that since search engines rank websites based on the content and how fresh it is.  This makes content updates even more important.

Your Look Is Outdated, and Your Members Know It

When did you get your last computer?  Did it come with a new monitor?  How big is it? Most people invest every 2-3 years; this often includes a new screen. 

Make certain that you are aware of whether your site is maximized for newer screen resolutions, and browsers. Many sites are currently built for a resolution of 800 pixels wide.  However, most computer screens currently being manufactured are ranging anywhere from 1400 to 3,000 pixels wide.

Even if you haven’t invested in a new computer, chances are your visitors have and they want a site that works with their viewing environment.

Keep your Association Website Fresh and Evolving

Truth is, association website design is not a project you undertake and consider “done.” They are fluid and ever changing, so be sure to keep yours evolving with your membership.  Consider performing an annual evaluation of your association’s most important asset, comparing it to competitors and seeking feedback from members and other visitors. 

And when its time to update your site, be sure to invest in a CMS that easily integrates with your AMS; one that can be updated as easily as choosing a new shade of paint or redecorating.

Editor's note: Thanks to Ray van Hilst for writing this post originally

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Topics: association website design, best practices, content management system, content strategy

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