Technology

Lunchtime Links: When to ‘Blow Up’ Your Website

By / Sep 5, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Telltale signs that it’s time for an online redesign. Also: how to draft a compelling value proposition.

A website redesign is serious business. In almost any case, it amounts to a difficult and expensive undertaking. But there are times when it’s also necessary.

How to tell when your association’s online home is in need of a reboot, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Online overhaul: Housed in a stately white building on the outskirts of San Francisco, the Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the internet. Think the Library of Congress, but for web pages. One of its resources—the Wayback Machine—lets users look at archived web pages from as far back as 1996. The Wayback Machine is a great place for nostalgia. But it can also be quite the eye-opener. If your current website resembles one of these online relics, it’s probably time for an overhaul. Writing for The YourMembership.com Blog, Content and Client Marketing Director Christina G. Smith lists “7 reasons to blow up your current website design.” Do you have content areas that receive little to no traffic or that are made up entirely of years-old content? Are visitors routinely confused when they visit your homepage? Is your site incompatible with mobile devices? Have you made big changes to your content strategy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to redesign your website, suggests Smith. For more, see her full list.

Value add: Associations live and die on the strength of their member benefits. But before you can begin offering tools and resources your members will rely on, you need to craft a clear value proposition. “After all, how can you sell a product or service if you can’t articulate its value?” asks Forbes writer Rebecca O. Bagley. What better place to look than Silicon Valley, where serial technology entrepreneurs have perfected the art of the one-page business plan. Bagley offers three essential tips to get you started: identify your customer (or, in your case, member) benefits, link each benefit to a specific means of delivery value, and map the basis for your market advantage—or, note what makes your organization stand out. How do you add value at your organization?

Stand and deliver: Say you’re going after an important grant or pitching your board on a new initiative with the potential to define your organization’s role in the industry. A dynamite presentation could mean the difference between getting the green light and being forced to watch your vision die on the vine. To get there, you’re going to need some help. Writing for Inc.com, veteran entrepreneur Mark Suster reveals his secrets to creating “a killer team presentation.” Rule No. 1: Don’t forget about the people around you. “[I]f somebody on your team is attending the meeting, they need to talk,” writes Suster. If a member of your team stays silent, it makes that person look unnecessary or ineffective—and that reflects poorly on the leader. Other tips include assigning specific slides to different people on your team, paying close attention to body language, and resisting the urge to argue.

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Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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