This week’s highlighted Mandalu Service is website design. Your website is the digital hub of your organization’s information. It answers all of the who, what, when, where, and why’s your audience could ever ask. So you want to be sure to have a site that provides relevant information and that - of course - looks great.
Why have a website?
Creating and maintaining a one-stop hub for your organization is going to help clarify your messaging. It can help you register your organization and trademark. And it can house your community and content independently and away from the changing trends of social media.
Should you use a template/service or work with a developer?
I have mad respect for web developers, but there are great resources for web building now that don't require starting from scratch. I'm a big fan of website building services like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. Why reinvent the wheel?
Think about your organization or service to make this decision. Are you importing and organizing a lot of data from your members? Is integrated video content and interactive design going to sell your message best? Then investing in a web developer you trust really will be worth it in the long run.
However, there's a lot you can do with building services to create a website, especially if your site simply needs to house your content and contact information. Updating your information and adding content later is incredibly easy through one of these services and may cut out the middle man for you.
I am a personal fan of Squarespace - which is how I built this site! - and have used it for my own work and past clients. Responsive design is built into their templates, so you know your site will look great no matter what device someone is using to view it. There are also helpful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools available and great customer support. (I promise, this is in no way sponsored, I just have had great luck with this service and recommend it.)
I have also used Wix and WordPress and believe each hold great advantages. (More on comparing those services in a later post).
What to keep in mind when Building your website:
- Keep it simple. Be thorough, but don't overload your website with information. Think about what is most important for your audience and organize that information in a clear, simple way.
- Consistent branding. Keep your organization's tone in mind when selecting colors, type, and imagery.
- Do your SEO research. The way a website is built can affect how easy it is to find when people search for your service.
- Include your IRL information. Whether that's a store-front, a phone number, or a contact form, make sure there's a way for visitors to connect further with your org.
- Hire a designer. I always keep these points in mind when building webpages. Even if you use a building service like Squarespace, having a designer set everything up for you will save you time and ensure that your site looks great and functions at its best.
For this project, I used Squarespace to create a simple webpage for a fictional community space. The site houses a calendar of events that the public can RSVP, a place to request to reserve space for private events, blog posts about what is new in the community, and a place to share photos.