You started a non-profit to help people, not build a website. But websites are important, so back in 1996, taking inspiration from Bob Dole’s campaign website (which is still up), you used GeoCities and created a slammin site for your non-profit. Since then, you haven’t updated the site much and now it’s time to give it a fresh makeover. But you’re paralyzed by the thought of this process and all the new terms like favicon (yes, it’s a real thing).
Don’t stress out! Creating a website that fits the character of your non-profit is easy now. Here are some great tools.
There are a ton out there but I will highlight three that usually get very high reviews.
WordPress currently powers 28% of the internet and that percentage is growing. It’s a severe understatement to say WordPress is used by a lot of people. It’s very popular and customizable. But it’s customizability increases its learning curve depending on the user. Some people might get overwhelmed by all the options.
Weebly is another popular choice. It’s made for people who want a simple product that can still deliver beautiful websites with great features. One of the really unique features is called “App Center”. It’s kind of like an app store where you install apps that have specific features for your website. This allows you to create a site that stands out from others.
Squarespace consistently gets good reviews for its balance of great features and ease of use. There are numerous templates to chose from so you can just pick one that catches your eye and replace the content with your own. Squarespace is also well designed for sites to work smoothly on both desktop computers and mobile devices.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these and there are great tutorials that will guide you step by step through the process.
Graphic Design Tools
It’s going to be hard to create a good looking website if you don’t have a logo. You could pay a branding agency thousands of dollars to create everything for you but I’m assuming you have better uses for your donors’ gifts. There are great tools available for free (or a very small cost), so put on your virtual painting smock and create!
Canva is really easy to use, and it’s actually a lot of fun. There a lot of templates and layouts to begin with so if you don’t want to start from scratch you can pick a sample logo that you like and adjust it for your organization. Canva even has online design courses in their “Design School”.
PicMonkey is another popular tool. You can edit pictures and use them in your logo or social media. The photo editing features are rather impressive and it can integrate with some of your accounts like Facebook and Dropbox.
GIMP may or may not be for you. It’s basically open source (AKA: Free) Photoshop. It’s extremely powerful and can do almost everything Photoshop can do. That said, the learning curve might not be worth it. If you do want to tackle GIMP, there are lots of great tutorials to learn from.
Creating a beautiful and modern website is no longer reserved for the pros. There are great tools that make this very accessible for small organizations. If creating a website still seems too daunting you can have a company like Vistaprint (yes, the business cards) design your site for FREE (if you agree to have them host your website).
“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.” - Milton Glaser (creator of the "I ❤ NY" logo)