Easy Website Design Options for Nonprofits

October 26, 2010 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

Through working on projects for various nonprofits, I’ve worked with several different web design programs they used to create and maintain their webpages. From my own experience I want to point out the easiest to use and cut down on frustration should your nonprofit need to create a webpage or develop a site you want to edit yourselves. Perhaps for a special project?

There are many good reasons to use a web design contractor. But if your nonprofit can’t afford it at this time, check out these options. These sites are supportive of small businesses, too, and that’s their main users.
weebly logo

Weebly at www.weebly.com has been the easiest to do updates and redesign because the tools are simple and straight-forward to use. It’s free. There is no program to download in order to do the edits so you can make changes from any computer with access to the internet. You just create on the page. There are tools to add contact forms, donor buttons, audio and video, a blog, photo galleries and photo slide shows. The elements are easy to select, drag and drop, and rearrange between pages. There are dozens of themes to select to get started. It’s easy for a novice to create a website and keep it updated but someone with more experience in html could also use their tools to customize. The downsides are that I had to register my client’s webpage at each of the search engines because it was not coming up in the top pages of an online search, even with very specific tags and search terms. Also, the easy elements can make the site look a little bare if you’re not adding enough photos and content throughout the pages. It’s the nature of how the elements are simple to use — not a lot of design flexibility with frames, boxes, color, etc…
Homestead | Build, Make & Create Your Own Website — FREE!

Homestead at www.homestead.com has a lot of templates to start with, more than Weebly. However, use of it may not be free but it can be low-cost. And you have to download Intuit’s Homestead program to do edits so you could be tied to the computer(s) with the program loaded on it. Here’s what’s great about it. You can add PayPal easily to handle online donations, plus contact forms, audio and video clips, and blog tools. Homestead has more than 250,000 free images to use and these are high quality photos and graphics. That’s a great bonus for adding excitement to your page. Homestead webpages quickly appear in web searches so you may not have to go and register the site yourself with Google, Bing, Yahoo. It has sophisticated tools to jazz up the pages, such as ovals and circles, that you can get creative with for a more appealing design. Because of these kinds of options, it could take a little longer to get a page designed but it offers a lot of variety. Customer service was quick to answer questions but the call involved them gently trying to sell more features. But hey, you can’t get everything for free, right? And the site will look polished.

... Make ... A comment about WordPress as an option… WordPress.com is what I’m using for this site and it’s primarily a free blog tool. I learned how to use WordPress by working on a blog project with two friends. It took a lot of time to learn what it could do and I’m glad the three of us shared the learning curve to get our project site active. I’m happy to know how to use WordPress and it works for me to use what is essentially a blog site as the Miradelta Consulting LLC webpage at this moment because I use the blogging aspect to share information and tips — like this post — easily. I use the pages to provide business information. I’m not sure I’d recommend WordPress to a novice for a nonprofit site unless you are willing to spend time to learn it or have someone show you what it can do.  But I know of other nonprofits who do use WordPress. If your nonprofit already has a website but wants to start blogging too, you have lots of options out there. But I do love what WordPress can do and I’m still learning more!  You can check out the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org by clicking here.
-Rebecca

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Miradelta Consulting specializes in capacity-building services for nonprofit organizations. We can help your organization expand through new program development, project management, fundraising and outreach planning.

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