Running a professional association is hard work, especially when it isn’t even your day job, and it can be equally as demanding as a full time job. When you make the leap and get your website up and running or giving it an update, use all the technology available to you now to make your job easier. Your association website can become your hub of contact, info and renewals, and take care of some of the stress and time consuming elements.
To start with, all the elements that make any website good apply to an association site. You want good usability, clean modern design, targeted and current content, etc. But in addition to these, there a few specific things you’ll want to get right:
Automate! Automate! Automate! Your association website should save you the heavy lifting and automate signups and renewals. You don’t want to be worrying about sending out letters, reminders, taking manual payments, manually managing event registrations, etc., so set the website up with this in mind. Take advantage of membership management systems and event registration possibilities when building your site.
Association sites can be quite large, with a lot of content so it’s important that information is really well-organised and laid out in a methodical way. Part of that is literally about font choice, line spacing and paragraphing. But also consider how breaking up information into separate pages and navigation to those pages can simplify things for your members. Make navigation really clear and intuitive to your site users; they should be able to find what they’re looking for with the least possible clicks.
Your members, potential members, and the admins / executive / secretariat all need to use the site, so it needs to offer something useful to each. Think about what content you could include that benefits each party; your site can be a great place to bring all of these things together. You may give members easy access to their membership status, newsletters, document downloads, event notifications; introductory information and easy signup for potential members and your admins get a platform that will manage members, documents, events and more in one place.
Make it easy for people to connect with you, whether that be through industry directories, social media, contact forms, association signups, a newsletter signup or even having a place where the press can find and contact you or you can publish press releases.
By making your website the central hub for your association, you increase accessibility and take the pressure off by moving a lot of manual systems to modern online ones.