Association websites are unique. Their primary users are usually association members, and their secondary users are all-important potential members. This means that the website must attract and appeal to both audiences, while often also being a ‘voice of the industry’.
To meet these needs when designing and building an association website, here are some key points that should always be considered.
Nominate an association ambassador
Knowing your target audience is one of the most crucial parts of website design. With an association website, you have the advantage of knowing exactly who makes up a large part of your audience base – your members. So why not make them a part of the design process?
You could nominate an association ambassador who can liaise with other members and provide helpful feedback to those involved in the web design and build. Members will appreciate being asked for their opinions and will feel valued and involved.
Research & Discovery
If you already have an association website, it’s important to understand how members currently use it before you even start thinking about making changes. It’s pointless to build a complex website with numerous pages if this content isn’t helpful to your members.
Research with your association members will help you identify what web page content or site functions they find useful. You can also contact Molokini Marketing for assistance. Our web user experience experts can analyse your website and conduction a user discovery workshop to find these answers and provide inspiring ideas to help identify what your association website needs.
What do members need to be able to do?
Association websites often require a social element, where members require a space to interact. This could be in a public forum on the website or in a member only area.
There are other features common to association sites that you may also need to include for your members. For instance, will they be able to renew their membership online? Do they need an online shop? Or maybe an online booking system is required for your association events?
You may also want to provide a secure area for gated content for members only, such as brochures, guides, best practice documents and meeting presentations.
And what about your potential members?
While existing members are likely to be your most common site users, you need to ensure your new website contains all the information that potential members require to make a decision on joining. That could include written or video testimonials from existing members, and specific pages or downloads with membership information. The site must also have clear calls to action throughout encouraging membership.
If you want to enable new members to join online, you’ll also need to build this functionality into your website, as well as providing the relevant payment options.
Don’t forget about archived content
Building a website can feel like a complex process requiring lots of initial discussions, research and design. However, it’s important not to forget about the good things on your current website before you go ahead and make improvements or create a new website.
When you migrate from the old website to the new, take time to consider valuable content, or archived information, that will need to be transferred to avoid members losing key information, unnecessary navigation issues and, ultimately, user frustration.
Website design agency in Worthing, West Sussex
Molokini works with association website clients to understand your aims and develop solutions and robust plans that will deliver a great user experience.
From our Worthing, West Sussex based design studio we create stylish, contemporary and inspired designs that are usually mobile first, and will engage effectively with your intended audiences.
As well as the ability to provide a totally bespoke solution, we also have various association website templates ready to go depending on the functionality you need. This could make it quicker and easier than you imagined to develop a fantastic new website. Give us a call to discuss your options.