In August, I had the privilege of speaking at the 2012 Catholic New Media Conference (#CNMC12) on the “7 Keys to a Great Organization Website”. While there, I also joined Greg and Jennifer Willits on The Catholics Next Door show on SiriusXM Radio where we discussed the 7 Keys to a Great Organization Website:

LISTEN to Josh Simmons on The Catholics Next Door with Greg and Jennifer Willits

Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Purpose Driven
    • We often create a website because we think we should or because we think it is a cool idea. But what separates a good website from a great website is that a great website is purpose driven. Why does your organization exist? What is your purpose and goals? Who is your audience? Answer these questions, THEN design your website around the answers.
  2. Beautiful Design
    • People are attracted to beauty – make your website beautiful! Keep your website clean and simple, especially your homepage. Be consistent with your use of colors, fonts, and page layouts. Separate design from content by utilizing CSS (cascading style sheets). Finally, your design should clearly reflect your brand and communicate your main purpose and goals.
  3. Great User Experience
    • Your website should not just look great, but should also provide a great user experience. Create an intuitive, consistent navigation structure so visitors feel at home within a few clicks. Make sure your visitors experience the website as intended regardless of browser (ie, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) or platform (ie, PC, Mac, Mobile).
  4. Engaging Content
    • It’s true: “content is king”. Your content should be dynamic and current – no outdated information. It should be relevant and meaningful – who is your audience and what are they seeking? Your website is not a monologue, but a dialog – engage with your audience (web 2.0). Finally, your content must be easy to update or it simply won’t get updated.
  5. Easy to Find
    • If you build it…they can’t come unless they can find it. Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and describes your organization. Improve SEO (search engine optimization) by using key search words in your HTML tags such as the Title tag, meta tags, header tags, and image tags. When possible, get other influential sites to link to your website.
  6. Mobile
    • 25% of internet users access the web through mobile ONLY. Therefore, your website must look great and work well on mobile devices. When possible, use responsive web design to offer an optimal user experience on tablets and smartphones.
  7. Beyond the Domain
    • Your website should serve as the home base for your organization’s entire social network, but to have a great web presence, you must reach out and meet people where they are. Create a Facebook page and Twitter account. Offer RSS feeds on your website. Communicate with your audience through e-mail and text.

What are your thoughts? What have you found to be the keys to unlocking a great website?