Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Secrets to an attractive, readable website

Secrets to an attractive, readable website

The first two parts of this help sheet (available by clicking Here and Here) looked at the benefits your community group could derive from having a website, as well as some of the tools and tricks you can use to attract people to it.

Because of the type of "pull marketing" a website provides, people who come to your website are usually actively seeking you out, or looking to access information that your website contains. That means they are at least a little interested in what you are doing, what you have to say or what you have to offer.

Once you have attracted your audience to the site, the next step is to "hook" them through your website's content and appearance.

There are a couple of key tools your group or organisation can use to make sure that your site is attractive, informative and, most importantly, readable.


Design and layout

While your group might want a cool, 'out-there' site with all the bells and whistles, you need to remember your site is an extension of your organisation and therefore needs to fit with the look and identity of your brand.

The logo, colours, fonts, and headings on your group's website should match those on your other communication tools – your letterhead, newsletters, promotional materials, etc.

Give thought to the pictures you use and choose ones that best represent your organisation and your function.  If possible, try not to use generic or clichéd clip art images.

Make the site easy to navigate. Do some testing of the site with people who haven't been involved in the design process and see how they move around the site.

Do some research on other sites with features you like and, where possible, adapt some of the features or the set-up for use in your site.

Keep the design simple and avoid using too many fonts. Use solid colours rather than textures and keep the contrast high in the areas you particularly want people to focus on. Keep the look consistent across all your pages.

Importantly, look at the guidelines for web page accessibility for people with disabilities and follow them if possible.


Content

Ensure your style doesn't fall into the "all style and no substance" category – where it is all bells and whistles but has little useful or informative content.

There are some basic things your website should display:
  • A catchy slogan, or your group's motto.
  • Your mission statement, aims and goals.
  • Your organisation's story – commonly put under an "About Us" heading – which talks about your group's history, what it does now, and what it will be doing in the future.
  • A section for your press releases, news updates and handouts.
  • A regularly updated "What's New" section featuring new information, news or activities.
  • Good quality photos that show your group in action.
  • Contact details – usually listed under a "Contact Us" heading. Also include details of an easy way (email, phone) for interested people to get more information on joining, giving, helping or supporting.
  • A way that people can sign up for your newsletter or to be sent more information or a brochure.
  • Details about membership fees, the structure of your group, key personnel, board make-up, committees, volunteer groups, etc.
  • A donations facility (perhaps through a link to Our Community's free service at www.ourcommunity.com.au/giving)



Then what?

A website should be viewed as an on-going marketing investment for your group, and that means time and possibly money need to be spent to keep the site updated, monitored and fine-tuned.

Some ways this can be done include:
  • Ensure one person, or one small group of people, is in charge of keeping the site up-to-date.
    • Don't let old news or stale information remain on your site – it will turn off visitors to the site, including possible members, volunteers, donors and supporters. Keep your site fresh, relevant and interesting.
  • Check how many hits you have and to which pages.
    • Use this information to fine-tune or discard the pages that people aren't using.
    • Alternately, use the information to take note of what pages are popular and use features from those pages throughout your site.
  • Follow up all inquiries promptly.
  • Ask for feedback about the site from friends, members, donors and site visitors.
    • Think about including a "Comments" section to invite feedback.

The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.