01 Apr 4 Tips on Making Your Website Visitor-Friendly
WHO ARE YOU BUILDING A WEBSITE FOR?
WHEN you’re building a website for your local Baha’i community, it’s important to remember just who you’re building it for in the first place. Generally, there are two groups you should take into consideration: people who regularly attend Baha’i activities in your city, and people that you’d like to invite, otherwise known as a community of interest or as we say in marketing, your target audience. Since you’re only making one website, it needs to appeal to both of them, which can sometimes be a challenge. Many of the elements that appeal to one group, however, also appeal to the other, so it’s not as hard a challenge as it looks from the outset.
So let’s look at a few elements of good design here that will help visitors to your website have an upbeat and accurate idea of what your community is like (and hopefully entice them to visit you in person!)
First, make sure that the information isn’t all clumped together on one or two pages. When you go to the supermarket, you don’t expect the bread, produce, and the pharmacy to be all clumped together in a small corner of the store. You know you there are different sections in the store, and you have no problem looking around for them, as long as they are properly labeled. The same is true for websites. Make sure that the nav bar at the top of the page is simply and logically labeled for different parts of the site, and trust your visitors to figure it out.
Show lots of pictures. When someone is learning about an organization for the first time on a website, what they’re really trying to do is to see if it feels like a good fit for them, and this is nowhere more true than in matters of faith. If you have lots of pictures of the people in your community being excited about serving others and contributing to their community, it will give visitors a good idea of who you are and what they should expect if they visit.
Give practical information. If your site is focused around inviting visitors to Core Activities like a neighborhood devotional gathering, give them the information they need to feel comfortable meeting you. Let them know what should wear, what provision you have for children, and what the devotional itself will be like. Basically, try to think like a visitor and meet their needs before they ask.
Explain why you exist. Why do the members of your community follow Baha’u’llah? How has it changed their personal lives? How does it change the way they feel about building a stronger community in your city (and world)? What actions are the Baha’is in your city taking to follow through on what they believe? A couple of paragraphs about the history of the Faith is fine, but there are plenty of well-written websites that can do that job (and you should feel free to link to them), but visitors primarily want to know about your community and what makes you tick.