Posted on 20th January 2019

5 website mistakes to avoid

Back to blog

Your website is the central marketing hub for your charity. Nearly all of your supporters will find themselves on your website at some point. Your social media comms, printed literature and fundraising mail-outs probably all direct people to your website. Therefore, it is crucial that your website communicates effectively with your visitors.

Here we look at five reasons why your website might be turning people away, or failing to communicate as effectively as you need it to.

1. Poor quality imagery

Rubbish or irrelevant pictures can put people off immediately. The power of good photography is in what it makes your readers feel. There are plenty of free stock photography websites where you can get images for your website (we use Unsplash frequently) but if you can take real pictures for use on your website, you definitely should. This helps to build trust and give visitors a peak behind the scenes at your organisation.

Whatever you do, avoid the ugly and trite white figure clip art illustrations!

2. Poor text legibility

This can vary depending on the specific needs of your users, but as a rule try to avoid the following:

  • Text size too small to comfortably read (the BBC recommends a minimum font size of 13px for core content)
  • Text colour too similar to background colour
  • Long lines of text (try to keep between 50-60 characters)
  • Paragraphs of centred text (readability impaired as each line starts at a different edge)
  • No distinction between headings and/or paragraph text

Watch our video below which outlines the principles of good content design

3. Poor quality logo

Your logo is the identifying mark for your organisation. It’s often placed in the top-left of every page and is the first thing people see when your website loads.

Designing a positive and memorable logo that stands the test of time can be really tough, and as such logo design is often easy to overthink. As a rule, try to consider the following when it comes to your charity’s logo:

  • Don’t make it too large – readers are here for your content
  • Don’t include too much text – logos are identifying marks, not essays
  • Don’t make it too small – because text might be illegible

Your charity’s brand identity is important because it helps to build trust with potential supporters and funders, so having a decent logo should be high on your priority list.

Enjoying this article? Don’t forget to bookmark it!

4. Cluttered or irrelevant content

A cluttered website is often the result of poor housekeeping, the opinion of too many stakeholders or conflicting website goals. Marie Kondō, the self-styled “tidying up expert” currently enjoying a popular Netflix series puts it best: “Keep only those things that speak to your heart.”

Marie Kondo

Whilst this is a little tongue-in-cheek, the point remains that every piece of content on your website should have a purpose. What’s more, it should speak to no more than one or two key user types that you have previously defined. Anything else is clutter, and should be removed.

5. Website not mobile-optimised

Your website must work well on all devices and screen sizes (most charity websites are not mobile-optimised). This is called responsive design and it means that your website layout and content will adapt depending on screen size. It’s common for content to “stack” on mobile devices, and expand on larger screens. This means the user can access the content much more easily and provides a better user experience.

If your website is not optimised for mobile devices, your users will get frustrated and Google is less likely to show your site in its search results.