What to Expect When Redesigning Your Nonprofit Website

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | February 2021

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Congratulations! You’ve just signed on the dotted line. It’s official.

Your nonprofit is finally getting a new website!

Now what?!

Like anything in life, fear of the unknown increases stress and anxiety.

If you’ve recently committed to a website redesign project or if you’re considering a project, you’re in the right place.

This blog post covers the website redesign process, what you can expect, and your role as a client.

We hope this sheds some light on the redesign process. 

Client Expectations and Responsibilities

 

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A Time Commitment

We’re not going to sugar coat it. Depending on the size and scale of your project, a website redesign project can be time-consuming. It’s best to go into a project with realistic expectations. At ArcStone, we know you probably have too much to do already. We bake milestones into our process to save you time and create efficiencies.


Homework

During the website redesign process, you’ll get homework. Don't worry we're not talking chemistry or calculus. It is crucial, however, to make time for it. We recommend blocking off time for team check-ins and tasks like compiling and curating assets, reviewing content, copywriting, and more. 


Decisions!

Have you ever been part of a home remodeling project? If so, you know how many decisions you need to make. It's intense and draining. Between finishes, paint colors, fixtures...there are endless decisions you need to make.

While you probably won’t encounter that magnitude of decisions during your redesign project, thank goodness, you will still need to make lots of decisions that will have longterm consequences. 

Keep in mind, that an experienced digital agency like ArcStone is a great resource for your questions. 


Grok Your Audience

It isn’t enough to 'kind of' know your audience. You need to fully grok your audience! This means understanding their challenges, what inspires them, who they trust, their digital habits, and more. We talk a lot about audience engagement because it guides the website design process and it's paramount.

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Know Your Goals

When we’re meeting with new clients we usually ask what success looks like. How can it be measured? If you have a goal like, raising awareness, try to frame it in a way that can be measured. So, instead of having a goal about raising awareness, your goal might be, increase new users to the website by 20%.


Understand the Ecosystem

It’s important to know how your website fits into your broader ecosystem. After all, it’s likely the hub of all your marketing efforts. Consider your MarTech and ask the important questions like how will your website support your development goals? And how can disparate platforms work efficiently and seamlessly?


Compile Vital Metrics and Stories

Finally, think about the stories and metrics that will bring your website to life. Stories have the emotional pull you need and metrics back your impact stores with data. While it’s possible to use one without the other, combining stories with metrics offers a synergistic effect.

Now that you grasp what you can expect during a website redesign project, it’s helpful to have an understanding of a website redesign process from an agency perspective.

The Agency Process

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Depending on the complexity of the project, there are many disciplines involved. From strategy, planning, user experience, integrations, accessibility, and content, to design, development, SEO, analytics, QA, hosting, and more, there's a lot to think about. 

At ArcStone, our team is comprised of digital experts who will work with you to not only execute your project on-time and on-budget but exceed your expectations. This close-knit team will collaborate and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Here’s our process for creating beautiful and functional WordPress websites for nonprofit organizations.


Discovery & Planning aka the Blueprint Phase

An effective website with advanced functionality requires planning. During this phase, we’ll learn about your organization’s goals, audiences, and the unknowns associated with your project. We’ll also document any required 3rd party integrations and advanced functionality. Blueprints give us the information we need to give our clients an accurate timeline and budget. They are a vital piece to the ArcStone process. 

Once we understand your goals, we’re ready to create a sitemap and wireframes.

Sitemaps & Wireframes

A sitemap is a diagram of your website’s hierarchy and shows how pages relate to each other. It’s crucial to keep your project goals top of mind as we create the sitemap.

Think of sitemaps as a representation of your website as a whole.

Wireframes show how a single page (or group of pages) will function. It’s important to remember that wireframes are not designs. Wireframes simply “get all of the furniture in the room” so we don’t miss any essential elements.

As we learn the details about your project, we’ll adjust the timeline and budget. 

We wrap this phase up by compiling a Blueprint that we’ll reference as we execute your project.

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Content Strategy & SEO

From our experience, delays on content can result in delays on a project. For this reason, we get started on content right away. Depending on the project, we provide a range of content offerings - from full service copywriting and SEO services to content strategy, content editing, SEO (search engine optimization), and content entry.

Your website’s content needs to not only compel your audience to take action, it needs to be optimized so that your website shows up in the SERPs (search engine results pages). We use SEO best practices when we construct your website.


Design

During the design phase, we’ll bring your wireframes to life by adding your color palette, unique fonts, logos, photography, and imagery. We’ll create mobile and desktop versions. Your website’s design should reflect your organization’s overall aesthetic and offer a thoughtful experience for your audience.


Accessibility

ArcStone uses accessibility best practices to make sure that your website is an inclusive experience for all.


Development

The development phase takes your designs and converts them into code. Using WordPress, we’ll tackle the functionality, 3rd-party integrations, and plugins you need to build a responsive, speedy website that allows you to achieve your mission.


Content Entry

At this point of your project, we’re heads-down adding content to your pages.

If we need to migrate huge areas of content from your existing website, we’ll automate the process to save time.


Quality Assurance

Prior to launch, we’ll review your site and test for anything that may have been missed in development. We’ll make sure your site looks good and functions on a variety of browsers and devices.


Launch

Once QA is complete, your site is ready to launch. Our tech team will work with you so your site’s launch is seamless and drama-free.

As you can see, there’s a lot involved in a website redesign project. Going into your project with a thorough understanding will help ensure your redesign is a success.

If you’re interested in learning more about ArcStone’s website redesign services for nonprofits, let’s chat!

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Topics: Nonprofit Help

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