We’ve already talked in this series about how WordPress can help your group get into a website where you can spend more of your time and money on planning your site. Don’t skip website planning.
And don’t lose sight of the bonus that creating a website offers your group: when done correctly, even a small amount of website planning will allow you to focus on important questions that lead to a better site, and will also strengthen your overall communications.
For your website planning, ask and answer questions like:
For example, people will routinely come to your site looking for your contact information. Make it easy to find.
If you develop a smaller site that answers key questions, it can be much more effective than a bigger site with more pages, but fewer answers to people’s questions. Don't worry if it seems like your website is small (as long as it answers important questions). A small site may actually make it more likely that you'll get it done, and that folks will find what they are looking for.
From here, let’s talk about how your website will be organized: your navigation.
The basic setup of WordPress allows you to create your content as either pages or posts. This is one of the things I love about WordPress for small grassroots organizational websites.
For a first WordPress website for an emerging group, your planning is likely to lead you to come up with a simple navigation with five or so pages (we’ll talk about posts in a minute):
An About section with two to three pages:
You may also need one to two pages to explain background on your issue, or for a gallery of images or video. As you add pages to your navigation, think about how to organize them into sections that will make sense to your visitors, rather than how you organize your own programmatic work or set up your workplan.
WordPress will allow you to add pages or complexity to your site later, as you have more to share with site visitors. But I strongly urge you to consider starting out with as few pages as possible in the beginning, as long as you answer the questions that people have.
Besides the pages, you want to think about what you will share on your website using WordPress posts. Think about visitors and what they will be looking for that’s current. Make a list. That list (For example: Events, News, Legislation) will tell you what you should be writing about for your website on an ongoing basis. That list can also become the category list for your posts, which enables you to organize and present the posts to visitors various ways.
As you are planning for how your site will use posts, consider these questions:
You Can Get Some Limited Assistance
If you are an MRG grantee and need some assistance in website planning, I can offer a one-time feedback session to help you. Get in touch with me if you would like this feedback. But remember, if you are not in the MIC Project, you can probably only get one-time assistance from me.
Bottom line: you don’t need a big site to be effective. Focus on what questions you can answer for your most important visitors, and place them either in pages or posts. It won’t be fancy, but it can still be incredibly useful and user-friendly.
Other posts in this series: