Three Tips for Developing an Engaging Website

Bushnaq_engaging website February 14, 2023 By: Murad Bushnaq

Your association’s website needs an engaging digital presence to attract new members and retain existing ones. Use these essential web design tips to ensure success.

As an association professional, you understand the value of a strong digital presence. An engaging website not only acts as a marketing tool for prospective members but also retains existing ones by providing access to exclusive content, event registration forms, updates, and more. 

Your association may already have a website in place, but is it helping you acquire and retain your members? If the answer is no, you need to redevelop a website that will effectively engage your target audience and meet their needs. 

However, designing a website on your own requires technical expertise and can take hours on end to accomplish. To streamline your web design efforts and reduce your administrative burden, you’ll need the right technology solutions and strategies. Use these essential tips to develop an engaging website design: 

  • Incorporate your association’s branding.
  • Create members-only pages.
  • Use social integration. 

With a strong website, your organization can both retain and grow its membership base, thereby boosting the quality of networking within your association and allowing you to bring in diverse ideas and perspectives. Let’s begin. 

Incorporate Your Association’s Branding

Your association serves a unique purpose that differentiates it from other organizations. To establish your identity online and engage existing and prospective members with your website, you need a strong branding strategy. Focusing your attention on consistent and relevant branding is a web-design best practice because it can help your association do the following:

Boost its credibility. By introducing site visitors to your organization with a professional, clean site, it’s much more likely that they’ll trust your organization and feel inclined to explore your content and what your organization can offer. 

Show the value of membership. What is your association’s mission, and what benefits do you provide members? Your brand answers these questions and more, helping prospective members become more familiar with your organization and offerings. This will help lead to a boost in member acquisition. 

Prove that you’re an authoritative voice in your respective field. Your association exists to serve an important purpose, whether that’s by providing professional development opportunities or community. Using your branding, you should develop high-quality content that demonstrates your experience and vested interest in uplifting members. 

Create Members-Only Pages

Once members join your association, they should receive exclusive perks and benefits that help them achieve their individual goals and reassure them that joining your association was a smart choice. Your association can leverage your website to provide specialized members-only resources, from educational webinars to secure community chat pages.

To easily create members-only pages and content on your website, use an association-specific content management system (CMS), also known as a website builder. According to Morweb’s guide to membership website builders, your organization should look for a CMS with the following features:

  • Custom member portals. Allow members to login to your website and access a customized dashboard and members-only content.
  • Exclusive community forum. One of the greatest perks of joining any association is the sense of community and networking opportunities provided. To meet this expectation, enable a way for members to contact each other and spark conversations. In this community forum, your association can also post important event updates, membership dues reminders, and other alerts. 
  • Security. Your members-only webpages will likely host sensitive information, from members’ contact information to payment-processing details. Look for a secure CMS that will keep your members’ information private and protect your data from cybersecurity threats. 

The ideal CMS should also come with a full suite of other essential tools. For example, mobile-optimization features allow members to access your website from their mobile devices. Plus, member directory features let you keep an up-to-date list of members and their accompanying contact details. Do your research to find a website builder that has these types of features and fits within your association’s budget. 

Use Social Integration

If your association has a strong social media presence, then you should use social integrations to drive even more engagement with your website. With social media integrations, you can publish your social media feeds directly on your website so users can see your content, easily navigate to your social media accounts, and follow your association on multiple platforms. 

Not only is this a great way to boost metrics on your social media accounts, but it also helps prospective members see what your association has to offer. Make sure that you’re posting high-quality visuals on your social media feeds so site visitors can learn more about the membership experience and whether your association is the right fit for them. 

Some visuals may include:

  • Photos of members at your latest networking event or conference.
  • Video testimonials of members sharing why they joined your association and what they have gained from being a member.
  • Photos of your association staff working to support your organization.
  • Graphic elements such as infographics that feature statistics about your members.

With social media integrations, you can also enable users to easily share any blog post, webpage, or image from your website directly to popular platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. This way, members can share your website content within their personal networks, helping prospective members find their way to your site and apply for membership. Your CMS should also come with built in social-integration tools to promote easy social sharing. 

As you design your website, remember to keep your audience in mind and develop member-focused content. This will help drive engagement with your digital presence and strengthen relationships with members, all while showing prospective members the value in joining your association.

Murad Bushnaq

Murad Bushnaq is founder and CEO of Morweb, where he helps nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software, and strategic communication.