Through this guide, you will learn how to structure your content to help achieve your website objectives. The guide is divided into the following sections.
- Setting website objectives
- Defining your actions
- Guiding your user's journey
- Designing signposts
- Structuring your sitemap
Setting website objectives
List your audience groups
Think of every group that may come to your website. To tackle this task fully, we recommend you first read our guide to How to Create a Communication Plan. Here we’re using our client Phoenix Futures, a drug and alcohol recovery charity, as an example case study.
|Example groups||Specific details|
|Service users||Men aged 25-40 with experience of drug/alcohol misuse|
|Individual donors||Family members of service users|
|Corporate donors||Pharmaceutical companies|
|Job seekers||Counselling and social work professionals|
|Volunteers||Young people and part time workers|
|Policy makers||Local MP’s and activist networks|
|Commissioners||Local councils and CVS organisations|
List your website objectives
Your website objectives are things that can be measured and attributed primarily to the website.
Throughout this guide, we will give you real world examples using our client, Phoenix Futures. These are their website objectives.
|1||To increase enquiries and bookings for services|
|2||To increase funding from individual donations|
|3||To increase enquiries from people looking to volunteer|
|4||To increase enquiries from local authorities|
Defining your actions
When planning content, the best place to start is at the end. Your website objectives should determine the kinds of end actions that you want people to take. Here are some example actions.
|Call to get help||Simply a phone number on the page. Make it large and obvious and accompanied by a positive image.|
|Donate||One simple field for the user to enter an amount and a streamlined on-site checkout process. Offer more information about how money is spent after the checkout process is complete.|
|Volunteer||A link out to our recruitment portal. Make sure the link opens in a new tab and that the destination is branded properly for reassurance.|
|Commission us||A Profile Photo, Name, Title, Email address and Phone Number of the representative that commissioners can contact.|
Make sure you have the right technology in place to support your actions. This might require integration with other systems. You'll also want to able to measure these actions through a tool like Google Analytics.
Guiding your user's journey
With your objectives agreed and the necessary actions set, you need to focus on how to point people towards those actions. To do this you need to create content that piques their interest and builds a desire to take action. We'll assume people are already on your site but if you need help getting people here in the first place, we have another guide titled Learn how to master SEO for charities with lots of practical tips.
Attention spans online are notoriously short. You need to offer bite-size snippets of content that hook people in to pique their interest. Landing pages (such as your homepage or a news article) need to encourage users to continue their journey rather than bounce.
Phoenix Futures have four main homepage components that contribute to building interest and they are placed in priority order.
|Banner||A positive and inspiring image of people with an accompanying message showing that recovery is possible.|
|Reach||A brief summary of the extent of our reach across the UK with a link to find out more about our services.|
|News||A curated view of the latest and most interesting news stories.|
|Opportunities||Selected volunteering opportunities.|
Other pages such as About Us or Support Us are also important for building interest. These examples show how to plan content for key pages.
|About us||A short summary of the organisation’s story and impact with illustrations and images, leading on to an overview of services.|
|Our services map||Instant view of services all over the country, minimal text, continue the journey through to local services.|
|Case studies||Headlines and featured images of a handful of impactful case studies and testimonials from beneficiaries and volunteers.|
|Work with us||Demonstration of our skill and experience and the results that have been achieved. Lead to the different ways to work with us.|
Moving from interest to desire is a crucial step in achieving your objectives. People will only take action if they actually want to, so your job is to help make them want to. Think about what it is that your key audience groups want. Here are some examples for Phoenix Futures.
|Service users||Want to get help, talk to a person, remain anonymous, reconnect with their family and fix relationships.|
|Individual donors||Want to be asked for their help, know their money is being well used, make a difference, be thanked or even celebrated.|
|Volunteers||Want to make a difference, be part of a community, feel needed, give time rather than money, make friends.|
|Commissioners||Want reassurance that you’re professional, experienced and reliable, to deliver successful stats to their superiors, to manage risk carefully.|
Signposts are designed to guide the user to the next step in the journey you want them to take. Ideally, you will know what a user might want to do next from any given point. You can then strategically place a signpost in just the right spot. Here are some examples of good signpost tactics.
|Need help?||Our friendly team can speak with you in full confidentiality.||Speak to someone now|
|Can you help us?||We need donations to start new local drug addiction recovery services.||Donate now|
|Looking to volunteer?||Read testimonials from our great volunteer team that you can be a part of.||Read testimonials|
|Need services in your area?||See how we run our services and establish a fully managed program in just 2 months.||Services overview|
Structuring your sitemap
Thoughtfully crafted user journeys should always be backed up by a well-designed sitemap.
The site map is a logical, hierarchical structure of all the pages on your website. Users will be able to navigate through all your pages in whatever order they choose using the menus. Keep your sitemap logical and rely on signposts to make connections between different sections.
The actions you want people to take will indicate what the most important pages are. This means you can structure your sitemap around them. Here’s an example sitemap for Phoenix Futures.
|Individual services will have application form embedded|
Case studies overview
Stories from service users and volunteers will be combined
Signposts will lead to our services
|News and views||A block will appear on each news story to subscribe to the newsletter|
About us overview
|Signposts will lead out to volunteering and commissioning|
Work with us overview
Don't forget the template
We've created a free template to accompany this guide. It's back at the beginning of this guide.