Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday may be behind us, but the holiday shopping season is far from over. As a shopper, I’m always looking to support businesses with missions that align with my values. I want to buy products or services from people who pay their employees a fair wage, source their materials locally, practice environmental sustainability and social responsibility, and invest in their communities.
For me, buying from a B Corp is a no-brainer! (My favorite for unique gifts is Uncommon Goods.) But even if a business isn’t a certified B Corp, I search their website for evidence of their mission and values before I make a purchase. Whether or not your nonprofit or small business offers a product or service that can be gifted, holiday shopping habits are a good reminder that your website should reflect your mission.
Today, we’re visiting the ghosts of websites past, present, and future to share ways you can update your website to reflect your mission.
Ghost of Website Past
Earlier this year, a few members of our team hosted an internal Website Smackdown. Basically, we roasted our own website.
We update our website periodically (our recommendation is at least once every 5-7 years), so we wanted to revisit our old sites to see what we liked and what could’ve been better.
If you’re reading this and your website has never been updated, we’d love to chat!
WordPress vs. Squarespace
Today, we build custom WordPress websites, but did you know we started on Squarespace? Our founder built a simple Squarespace website in one weekend to launch her new small business. We’ve since migrated to WordPress, and here’s why: it aligns with our mission.
“I love WordPress because it’s open-source, it’s collaborative. It has a lot of the same mission and values as Unity. With believing in the power of people.”Alisa Herr, Founder & CEO, Unity Web Agency
Is the platform you’re using the best option for your business? Does it align with your mission?
Copywriting for Clarity
When someone visits your website for the first time, they should be able to clearly identify what you do. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with our first site. The first words a visitor saw were: “Together, we can do so much.”
In rereading, it wasn’t obvious to us what we meant. When we updated our website, we revised the language at the top of our homepage so that users wouldn’t have to scroll or click around to decipher what we do.
What are the first words someone reads when they visit your website? Do those words clearly explain what your organization does, and why?
Ghost of Website Present
While our current website better reflects our mission than our previous sites, there’s always room for improvement.
Photography and Design
The style of our website has evolved. For example, we’ve updated our typography to better match our brand personality. And you’ll notice the graphics on our homepage reflect our mission of developing accessible, inclusive, and sustainable websites.
But one thing we liked about our past website that we’d like to incorporate more of is photography. That’s something on our list to consider as we build pages and publish blog posts.
Do your graphics and photos reflect your mission?
Accessibility and Inclusivity
Accessibility and inclusivity are at the heart of our mission. We believe anyone should use our website (and yours!) regardless of ability or identity. That’s why we pay attention to changes in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and routinely review our site to ensure it’s in compliance.
If you’re not sure whether or not your website is WCAG compliant, we’d love to help!
Ghost of Website Future
Some website updates can be time-intensive and require a bit of planning before diving in. We keep a running list of ideas we have for future iterations of our website so that, when we’re ready, we know where to focus our attention.
For example, we value our partnerships with other small businesses and B Corps, and we’d love to feature those partnerships in a more prominent way on our website. Our partners are making positive impacts in their communities, and highlighting that would reflect our mission.
Additionally, we’d love to develop landing pages for different segments of our client base. Our mission is to support nonprofits and impact-driven businesses, and one way we can make our website more reflective of our mission is to create content specifically geared toward our clients’ unique needs.
Does your organization have a website wish list? Use the resources below to develop one!
Ready to host your own website smackdown? Gather your team and talk through the questions below. Don’t hold back!
- What’s your initial reaction to the homepage?
- Which words jump out at you?
- Which photos or images catch your eye?
- Is that where you want your visitors’ attention to go?
- Is it obvious who you’re trying to reach? Why or why not?
- Does your message come across loud and clear?
- What is your message? Is it the one you want to be sending?
- Are there any conflicting messages?
- Does your website accomplish what it’s supposed to?
- What’s the overall goal of your website?
- Is the information available in your navigation bar useful, or confusing? Do the links take people to the content they need the most?
- Do you make it easy for people to get in touch with you?
Take some time with your team every so often to peruse this list and make notes about what can be improved during your next website update to ensure your website reflects your mission.
- Which platform is your website built on? Does it currently align with your organization’s mission, or is there a better option available?
- What are the first words a user reads when they visit your website? Do those words clearly communicate what your organization does, for who, and why?
- What tone does your organization take in its writing? Is that tone appropriate for your brand personality? Will it resonate with your target audience?
- Photography and Other Imagery
- Do the photos and graphics on your website reflect your mission? Will your target audience see themselves in the photos, or will there be a disconnect?
- Does your website comply with WCAG standards?