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If you’re a web host for a nonprofit organization, the holiday season might be one of the busiest for you in terms of donations. Depending on how a website is designed, it can either be a breeze for consumers to make donations or a complete nightmare that results in them taking their donation elsewhere. Educate yourself on some of the problems that consumers have when it comes to making online donations during the holiday season and what you can do about it.
According to USA Today, non-profit organizations experienced a two percent increase in donations from July to September during 2014 when compared to the same time period for the previous year. This increase was mainly due to an improving economy rather than major disasters. Another reason that consumers are giving more is that fall is the time when peer-to-peer fundraising events are on the rise.
You may already be aware of the fact that one-third of North American and British citizens plan on increasing their donations during the 2014 holiday season. Out of that percentage, less than 25 percent of them plan on making those donations online. Not only can you take advantage of consumers who desire to make online donations, you can do your part to increase that percentage by making sure that the non-profit websites you host are ready to quickly and easily accept donations.
While the Internet has made it easier to pay your bills, order food, access your bank account and pay your bills, none of those capabilities will do you much good if consumers aren’t able to easily navigate and access a website. When it comes to non-profit websites, some of the biggest problems consumers repot are slow websites, complicated processes and incompatible websites that prevented them from making their desired donations.
Smartphones are slowly but surely starting to become just as widely used to access the Internet as personal computers, which means that consumers are sure to use them to make donations this year. In fact, it’s expected that mobile payments will grow roughly 61 percent this year and that electronic payments will decrease by as much as about 16 percent over the course of the year. Smartphone apps and websites designed for a variety of electronic apps make it easier and faster for consumers to donate to their favorite causes, but only if those causes have the resources and web hosts to make donating as easy and efficient as possible.
If a regular website or mobile optimized website isn’t ready for mobile donations, make sure that you keep regulatory initiatives in mind while you’re making changes. Imagine how frustrating it will be to spend an abundance of time, money and energy on revamping your client’s site only to discover that it’s not compliant with regulation initiatives. Take your time and optimize the site the right way the first time.
In addition to optimizing a site for either the Unites States or the United Kingdom, you might also want to think about making it easy for individuals from other countries to make a donation to a non-profit organization. It’s been reported that China is a vastly untapped resource when it comes to non-cash transactions. Consider how large China’s population is and how much it’s growing as you read this blog post. Studies suggest that China could easily outpace the population of both Europe and the United States in the next five years. Countries that are expected to experience a roughly 20 percent growth rate include the Middle East, Central Europe and Africa.
Make Your Nonprofit Website Mobile Optimized
It wouldn’t do us much good to tell you that you need to make websites more mobile friendly if we didn’t provide you with a few suggestions as to how you can do that. The first thing you’ll want to do is find out where most website viewers are coming from. Are they accessing the site through a social media link, email or advertisement? The way you can do this is through search engine analytics, such as Google Analytics. Next, make sure it’s clear what type of donations the organization is in need of. Would your client rather contributors donate time, money or both? After all, what’s the use of having a full tank of gas if you don’t have anyone to drive?
When it comes to having a website that’s designed for mobile use, you can focus on three specific areas:
- Optimizing certain parts of the website that receive the most traffic through mobile devices. This is especially beneficial to non-profit organizations that don’t have the funds to optimize their entire site.
- Create a separate mobile version of the current website. While the address of the nonprofit organization’s website won’t change if a person types the address in on his smartphone’s browser, the site he sees can be different. Your mobile optimized site can include specific information organizations would like mobile viewers to see rather than give them access to the full desktop optimized website.
- Add a responsive website design that works and looks just as great for desktop users as it does for smartphone and tablet users. This is the most popular option because it’s the most time and cost efficient.
One you’ve focused on these areas, take a look at the website and make sure that it has all of the information and keywords that one needs to take action. What’s the organization’s mission, how are donations used and how can visitors make a donation? It’s a good idea to update the “About Us” page if it’s been a long time since you’ve done so. Include bullet lists to give visitors a quick idea of the organization’s goals and mission statement. You may also want to include testimonials to show that the organization is legitimate. People are now more cautious than ever about whom they donate to.
Make it easy for consumers to donate to nonprofit organizations this holiday season with a website that can easily be accessed across several electronic platforms and one that provides them with enough information to want to donate. Talk with your web hosting clients today about how you can optimize their site and their donations.
Top image ©GL Stock Images
It may seem daunting or downright impossible to find a suitable web host, but more often than not, a little research can help you find an answer quickly! The more you educate yourself on the topic, the easier it’ll be to find the one that meets your needs. These suggestions can help you do this!
Make sure to register your site’s domane name independent of your host site, so that you can retain control of it if there is ever a dispute between the two of you. Your hosting provider will control the registration of your domain instead of you.
When you have chosen a web host, make sure to have monthly payments instead of paying a lot in advance. Consider monthly payments – what if you need to cancel service sometime down the road? If your web host’s service goes down the toilet or you end up having your account closed for a breach of terms of service, you’ll lose out on what you’ve already paid.
To increase your overall profit margins, research the prices of the hosting companies gunning for your business. You will find a wide range of prices, and in a lot of cases the most expensive rates do not correspond to the best packages. While some expensive hosts may provide more bandwidth, they may have just as much–or more–downtime than less expensive hosts.
Be careful when looking at website hosting packages with unlimited services. For instance, if a web host has unlimited disk space, they might limit the file types they allow. Unlimited bandwidth will usually mean that you can get all the bandwidth you need, but there will be additional fees for overages at the end of the month. Review your contract carefully, consider different kinds of plans and remember that there is, generally, no such thing as unlimited features.
If you have financial restrictions, consider a free web page hosting service. This does mean, however, that ads will be appearing on your site, and also your storage space will be limited too. If you want a professional site though, avoid free web page hosting.
Thoroughly research hosting companies you are considering. Customer reviews on independent websites or blogs will give you a much more accurate picture of your host’s abilities. This will give you a better picture of the actual quality of service and features, and who has had issues with any of them.
A free hosting provider will only be valuable to you if it can meet all of your needs. Free services typically come with the requirement of your website displaying ad banners. In some cases, the ads will not be related to your site and you will not be able to control what appears on your site. This will make your site look sloppy and unprofessional.
Can you talk directly with current and former customers of web host companies that you are considering? Having the ability to ask questions to address any concerns you have can assist you in eliminating companies that don’t meet the needs you require. This will give you the confidence you need to make the best decision. There’s nothing like picking the brains of current customers for useful information about a company.
When you are selecting a web host, it is best to pick one that has won multiple hosting awards. You can utilize this information to gauge service. It is true that a company could fraudulently claim to hold such an award, but this is a rare occurrence. Most companies that claim such accolades do indeed have high numbers of satisfied customers. Try to find a hosting company that has a number of such awards.
As you’ve witnessed, selecting the best possible host for your website shouldn’t be difficult. Knowing what it takes to pick a winner will help you to easily find what you need. Follow the advice provided in this article, and you should be capable of quickly obtaining a high quality website hosting service for your website.
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