The Association Blog: News and Resources for Association Executives

5 Key Ingredients of a Friendly Membership Website

Posted by Carrie Kolar on Jun 30, 2015 6:30:00 AM

5_Key_Ingredients_of_a_Friendly_Membership_WebsiteThere are a lot of mediums that your members can use to interact with your organization. They can email, call, talk face-to-face, interact on social media...the list goes on. However, no matter how many ways your members can reach out to your organization, the fact remains that your website is your primary interface with your members. Because of this, it pays to make sure that your member’s interaction with your website is as seamless and hassle-free as possible. This will go a long way towards keeping your members happy with your organization and their experience. Here, we give you the five key ingredients of a friendly membership website. 

  1. Easy navigation. There are few things more hair-tearingly frustrating than having to hunt through an online maze for information or a page you want. Keep the navigation structure of your website easy and intuitive, and have a navigation bar easily visible on every page. The more you make your members hunt for things, the less happy with your website they will be.

  2. Clean pages. A bad habit that some organizations get into is simply adding more information to their websites without going through and removing outdated or unnecessary items. The more you add without subtracting an equal or reasonably similar amount, the more your website will look like a hoarder’s paradise, and the more difficult it will be for members to find up-to-date, relevant information. Make it an item on your organization’s to-do list to clean house on a regular basis, to keep your website fresh and uncluttered.

  3. Member information. Give your members a way to track their accounts and organization activity on your website. If a member can sign in and see whether they need to renew their membership, if they bought tickets to an organization event, or their most recent activity on a website forum, the member will be more likely to engage with the organization, remember to renew their membership, and attend the event they bought the ticket for. If you make it as easy possible for your members to keep track of their activity, the more activity there is likely to be.

  4. Engagement opportunities. Provide a way for your members to engage with your organization and each other through your website. Provide a contact form to allow members to ask questions through the website, and keep alternative contact information such as email, phone, and main address on each page. If you have online forums or other ways for members to talk to each other and discuss issues online, either have it on your website or have a link to it in a clearly labelled, easily found location on your website. Also, have a calendar of organization events, webinars, etc. on your site so that if a member or a potential member wants to know how to take part in organization activities, they can find out.

  5. Information. Whether your organization is a professional association, mission-based nonprofit, or completely a completely different animal, your members will go to your website for information on the subject you cover. Have a news feed, links to hot topics, or some other way for your members to find out about new developments in the area that you are supposed to be a resource for. Providing this information to your members will give them a one-stop, member-friendly shop for the information your membership base needs.

A member-friendly website is only as good as the organization it represents, but having a good organization represented by an outdated, cluttered, difficult website is leaving opportunities on the table. Make sure that you review your website regularly to keep it up to date, and if possible, randomly select a few of your members to get their thoughts on the usability and usefulness of your site. Getting recommendations and reactions straight from your target market is the best way to keep that market happy.

WebBright Services is well learned in the behavior of successful associations and member-based organizations.
Check the following links and Contact Us for more information on how to grow your organization:

Key Ways to Increase Members Online Engagement
Ways Websites Add Value to Organizations   
Why Wild Apricot is the Best for Your Organization

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Topics: membership websites, membership website best practices, member experience, member friendly website, Website Value