Get More out of Your Association’s Website!

Lists are everywhere – Top Cities to Live in, Wealthiest People, Coldest Places on Earth, and so on. All fun to read but here’s one you can actually do something with, starting now!
Website design and development is a moving target where little changes can make a huge difference. In the past few years, you’ve heard a lot about responsive/mobile websites and the use of videos and graphics to make the content more user-friendly. A lot of that still holds true. Here are some additional things to consider and make your website work harder for you in 2014.

1. Get Social

An old rule for a high-ranking website was to have others link to it. Recently, Google made a subtle change noted on its Webmaster Tools’ guidelines, the text changed from “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages” to “…that users will want to use and share.” It’s no longer enough to simply link to other websites but have content that people want to share. If it’s trending on Twitter or Google+, it’s also going to trend on search result pages. Encourage your users to share by integrating social media icons and RSS feeds into your website content.

2. Big data schmeta!

You’ve heard the phrase, but how relevant is it to your association? In simple terms, big data is any large and complex dataset that cannot be managed by traditional database management tools. However, as storage capacity increases, the definition of big data will change as well. What’s big data now won’t be so in 2024. If you are an average-sized association, you don’t generate terabytes of data like Google or Facebook. So don’t worry about big data. Instead, start with analyzing small datasets for insights that your association can apply quickly. You may be better off digging deeper into “little, but meaningful data” and focusing on improving your data quality. There a many business intelligence and visualization tools available today that can help you do just that.

3. Good Content

Remember Get social above? You need evolving content that users find interesting and will want to share. Anyone can build you a fantastic-looking and functioning website – but the content must come from within your organization. What does Google care more about? Quality Content. It’s no wonder Wikipedia comes up so often in results. Provide good content and almost everything else to make your website more successful will follow.

4. Siri & Google Now

Perhaps the most surprising 2014 trend is how users will derive more and more information from your website without ever having to visit it. When’s the ASAE Annual Meeting? What’s the weather in Nashville? All of these can be answered by digital assistants on smartphones, like Apple’s Siri or Google Now. In a strange twist, the fact that a digital assistant can cull this information from your website is perhaps the highest compliment you could receive for your well done, properly search-engine-optimized website.

5. Flat Design

In 2014, look for website design to trend toward simple shapes, colors, and typography. We’re going back to the basics. In many cases, shining design may not benefit your website. A website that emphasizes clarity and usability over pomp and snazz will ultimately serve its constituency better. Google also notices and rewards those sites with high page rankings. Let’s recap.
What’s Out What’s In
Links to your site Shares to your site
Big data Usable data
Same old content Revitalized content
Going to your site Aggregating from it
Design distractions Less-is-more design
Bieber Beyoncé
___________________ 1Get social adapted from thoughts of Jai Rawat, CEO of
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