An Executive Director's point of view


August 09, 2017: Who's on the Board?

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
Always list your organization's Board members on your web site, even if you don't link to each of them.

And place that information on a public page that everyone can view.

People should always know the identify of the leaders of the organization and be able to make judgments about the group based on the composition of the Board.

If you leave out that info, it suggests you are hiding something.

May 24, 2017: Brand your error page

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
Here's a great way to hold onto wandering web visitors.

April 03, 2017: Redesigning web sites

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
It's more than just adding or deleting copy.

It's changing your entire appearance.

Consider these things before you begin:

1. Will a fresh, new look be more appealing to newer groups of people?

2. Are you worried about existing members or viewers thinking items they've liked will be gone or that they'll have to spend too much time searching a newly designed site to find them?

3. Do you think your old look is stale and a new one will invigorate current and past users?

4. Do you want people to revisit the entire site, hoping they'll find something new they like that they haven't used before?

Don't redesign your web site because you are bored with it. Your current users may not feel the same way. In fact, they may favor the familiar look.

Do redesign it because you think doing so will benefit your organization.

Whatever you decide, obtain feedback from newer and older users and from outsiders who don't have a stake in what you do but can offer useful suggestions.

And don't be hasty. Think through all the possible changes and implement those you think will help.

The fate of your organization is probably not dependent on the look of your web site. And an immediate redesign is not likely to have an immediate impact.

October 21, 2016: Accessible web sites

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
There is a growing effort to include web sites in the definition of "places of accommodation" as defined by the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA).

It would we wise to see if your organization's web site is accessible to people with disabilities.

Thanks to Joan Eisenstadt for pointing to this.

June 21, 2016: Web site timeliness

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
Always keep your web site up-to-date.

Think of it as the front door to your association. Visitors need to be assured the information you've posted is accurate, current, and complete, so they'll trust it and visit regularly.

And they should be able to tell that you are vigilant about keeping it up-to-date.

Here are a few suggestions to make that possible:

1. Remove information about "upcoming" events as soon as those events have taken place. If you want to keep copy posted for future reference, add wording that makes it clear you know the meeting has passed and that you are retaining the info to help people who may need to refer back to it.

2. Replace all other information, as necessary (immediately). That includes such things as Board membership, committee chairs, committees, programs, dues amounts, membership categories, employees, key public officials, membership directories, status of legislation, submission procedures, contact info, and absolutely everything else your association does.

3. Promote future events even if you don't yet know all the details. Provide dates and whatever other information you have and state when more complete info will be posted.

4. Clarify or reword copy if viewers claim it is not clear (even if you think it is).

5. If your site houses a member forum or listserv, routinely check it to make sure it is working properly.

6. Click posted links on a regular basis and correct, replace, or delete those that are no longer accurate.

7. Be sure the names, titles, and professional credentials of Board members and other leaders are correctly displayed.

8. Reread the site on a regular basis to identify and correct typos that you may have missed the last time you read it.

May 26, 2014: No privacy

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
Web site privacy policies are generally written by lawyers to protect company rights to deny you privacy.

This tells more about that.

March 29, 2014: Web priorities

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
Design your web site from users' perspectives, not from the association's perspective.

Make it easy to navigate to information that users want, not information that the association wants users to want.

And don't hide important marketing information on member-only pages.

Non-members should be able to view the list of Board and staff (and contact them individually), association policy positions, and details about upcoming meetings and conferences. That info may induce people to become, members, attendees, or customers.

December 16, 2013: Clutter

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
"Not every single program of the association can be in the top spot of the web site," says Spark Consulting.

Get more tips about web site design and view the slide show from HubSpot.

June 09, 2013: Web writing tips

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
Most people don't want to read. So be concise and cut to the chase.

Here are some web writing tips.

May 27, 2013: Web site mistakes

Category: Web sites
Posted by: David M Patt
Here are some no-nos for websites.
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