In this post, we share our advice on how to start creating a charity website when you don’t have much time, money or experience. A good website needn’t cost the earth and modern platforms make it easy to improve your content over time as your organisation grows. By following this simple process you can build a new charity website from scratch in a matter of days.
If you want an agency or freelancer to help you, you may need to create a brief. Learn how to write a good website design brief and download the free template.
1. Make a plan for your website
Creating a clear strategy takes careful thought but needn’t take a long time. Even if it feels intimidating or unnecessary, but don’t be tempted to skip this step. Having a strategy, even if it’s just one page, will help you stay on track and not get distracted during the next steps.
To help keep your strategy document focussed and simple we recommend using our guide and templates [link] to work from. This guide will force you to focus on your audience and objectives and help you plan out your sitemap and user journeys.
2. Draft your content
The content on your website should help guide people towards taking action. Your strategy will dictate what type of content you should write. All content should lead towards your desired action, so if in doubt it’s best not to include it. You can always add more content in the future.
Pages that describe your services or projects will be important landing pages for your audience and stories can be a powerful way to demonstrating impact. If you have lots of useful long-form content, consider whether you can make it available as online resources that can be indexed by Google.
3. Find good images
It’s always better to use your own images if you can because they are a powerful way to communicate what you do. If you don’t already have good photos that you can use on your website, there are lots of places you can find free images.
4. Plan to fundraise online
Every charity requires funding. It’s a good idea, therefore, to set up your online fundraising tools to work well with your website from the start. In order to fundraising through your website, you'll need to be able to accept donations and, ideally, store donor data in a database so you can build a list of supporters.
5. Choose a content management system
The most popular open source options are Wordpress and Drupal. They have both been around for over 15 years so have a big following but there are also more modern cloud-based platforms that don’t require you to do any coding, patching or manual updating. Every option has its pros and cons.
The only good website is a launched website so don’t let things drag! Remember that launching is only the start of your work to promote the charity and build your audience.
Before making your website visible to the public, proof-read and review of all the new content and check that popular pages from your old site (if you have one) are redirected to their new equivalents. Make sure you have your login details for your domain control panel as you’ll need these to point your custom domain to your new website.