As the event draws near, you want to be prepared
You’re about to network—to schmooze, perchance to sell. Or you’re building relationships around a common mission, common goals, common struggles. You’re introducing others to your ministry, inviting them to share in your journey.
That means new brochures, restocking your promotional freebies, making sure your booth setup survived the last event, preparing your pitches and presentations…
But have you thought about your website?
After the event is over (and often during), your website is the primary way all your new contacts will look you up.
It’s how they’ll find out how to contact you again, because your business card is lost or buried.
It’s how they’ll look for more information about your product, your cause, your current initiative, your current promotions, etc.
They want to do their research about your organization.
While great first impressions in person are still essential, “second-first impressions” via websites are foundational for your credibility, authority, and trustworthiness.
Here are 5 ways to make sure your website is ready to handle the results of your formidable networking skills:
- Look good enough. Your website doesn’t have to be the brightest, flashiest, most animated onslaught of bells and whistles. But it DOES have to be:
- Mobile Optimized. Especially at events, or traveling after events, people will be looking you up on their phones. Make sure the template your website is built upon is responsive to a mobile screen. Many web development platforms offer this, but if you haven’t updated your website theme in a few years—even if it still looks good—you’ll want to check. It’s hard to find information when text is tiny and you have to side-scroll to read it all (Check your site at https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly)
- Cleanly designed. Rather than seeking to wow, seek to inform and provide. It’s easy to find fun things to do with your website design, but remember that “form follows function.” Avoid having too many elements on each page, and eliminate nonessential content, or save it for later. You can always add some design flair back later, after you know your content is neatly organized. And remember, white space can be used strategically.
- Up to date. When new visitors come to your website, they expect information to be current. Outdated content is the first sign of a low-priority website, which unfortunately leaves an “out-of-touch” impression. Demonstrate your organization’s relevance and ability to stay on top of things by frequently updating any time-sensitive content, and adding fresh and engaging content regularly.
- Secure. The last thing your website visitors want is a warning that your “site may not be secure.” If your web address still has only “http://” instead of “https://,” (as in no SSL Certificate) the Chrome browser will include a little warning up near your website’s URL that if users mouse over it, they’ll see a security warning. That makes them uncomfortable. Make sure your website has an SSL certificate, and install a reputable security plugin as well.
- Easy to use. Make it easy for a new website visitor to see who you are, what you’re all about, and most importantly, what you can do for that visitor. They’re looking for answers to questions, straightforward information, and they don’t want to get lost in a trail of clicks. And make sure there’s a clear call to action, whether it’s to contact your organization, subscribe to a newsletter, donate, download a PDF, etc.
- Easy to read. Say things in fewer words if you can. Websites are for direct conversational content, rather than poetic, artsy or academic language. Stick to a 5th or 6th grade reading level.
While there’s always more you can do to strengthen your website and web presence, if any of these 5 areas are missed, you risk being unfairly perceived as irrelevant or amateur-ish by the new connections you make at the next event.
But we know you’re in ministry for a reason, so let’s make sure your web presence reflects your conviction to serve and demonstrates your organization’s ability to connect with its audience and fulfill its mission.
Support your in-person impressions with your online presence—the instant go-to for quick research after someone connects with you!
Keep learning exciting things you can do to improve and grow your online presence, an in turn grow your ministry’s influence. Find out more SEO and Webmaster tips, and feel free to share with your friends, co-workers, or constituency.