When it comes to your nonprofit’s website, your home page is likely a highly sought-after piece of real estate. Every internal player wants their content to be featured on the home page, which can result in a jumbled mess. So, what is the right approach to writing a nonprofit website home page?
My advice: don’t fight over your nonprofit’s home page, but don’t compromise either. You can’t accommodate everyone (this isn’t the place to do so, anyway) and you must prioritize. Plan your organization’s home page content carefully, making smart, strategic decisions based on keeping your message and your copy simple.
It’s not going to be easy to protect a clean and clear approach to home page copywriting, so I’m arming you with 12 tips from a range of great sources, with a little extra commentary from me. Tuck this advice under your arm to use as backup when it’s time to talk about your nonprofit’s home page copy:
1. “Focus on your audience’s needs”: Any writing you do should follow significant time spent thinking about your audience. If you need help with developing audience personas, check out these worksheets from Kivi Leroux-Miller and Vanessa Chase.
2. “Use the right language”: In my view, this is clear, conversational and accessible language, written with your clearly-defined audience in mind.
…tips from Techsoup Canada’s article The Top 10 Elements Of An Effective Nonprofit Website
3. “Include a clear, simple headline”: If your organization has a strong, clear, tagline, use it here.
4. “Include a brief, descriptive sub-headline that shows value”: Use this copy to introduce or further explain the specific difference your organization is making, the impact it is having.
…tips from Hubspot Blog’s 12 Critical Elements Every Homepage Must Have [Infographic]
5. “Quickly communicate who you are and what you do”: Get to the point!
6. “Focus on what is important and remove the rest. Too much clutter is confusing and can be a deterrent”: Always, always, when it comes to writing for the web, use what you need, but only what you need. Let visitors delve deeper into your message and content by using the navigation to delve deeper into the rest of your site.
…tips from Network for Good’s How to Fix Your Nonprofit Home Page
7. “Include testimonials and social proof”: Boost your credibility with ‘belief builders’ such as testimonials, endorsements and awards. Pick one or two from among your best, most powerful and moving options.
…tip from Savvy Panda’s The 5 Essential Components of a Nonprofit Homepage
8. “Make sure your content is easy to scan quickly”: Format this copy for scanning by readers with concise headings, sentences and paragraphs.
…tip from The Secrets Behind Successful Nonprofit Home Pages on the Chronicle of Philanthropy blog
9. “Use overarching benefit statements”: As mentioned above, for a nonprofit organization, the ‘benefits’ are reflected in the difference you’re making. What are the results you are achieving through your work?
10. “Use general, overarching keywords/keyphrases”: Think about the words and phrases people are typing into search engines when researching your cause or issue. Focus on using the most general keywords on your home page. Incorporate additional keywords and phrases naturally throughout the rest of your site rather than trying to stuff them in here.
…tips from Success Works’ 5 sure-fire ways to create a killer home page
11. “Drop the jargon”: Avoid alienating first-time visitors with insider-speak. Jargon can stop them from wanting to get to know you better.
…tip from Wired Impact’s 8 Tips For Writing Great Nonprofit Website Content
12. “Your mission statement and the word “welcome” should not be on your home page”: I’m just glad someone else said this, so I don’t have to say it. Again.
…tip from Network for Good’s Nonprofit Home Page Tips
What do you think of this list? Do you have any other tips for writing a nonprofit website home page?
NOTE: This month, I’ve been offering a 20-day Nonprofit Web Copy Resolution challenge for keen communicators who are putting content first. Today (Day 8), we’re talking home page copy. Today, Wednesday, January 21, 2015 is also the LAST day to join the challenge and catch up, so register now to spruce up your nonprofit’s website copy: http://moflow.ca/web-copy-resolution
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