How to Find Inspiration
Website Design Tips for Associations
Most association websites have a wealth of information for their members, so it’s crucial that it’s easy to navigate.
Show off your members and how active your association is. Use photos from events where applicable and keep your site up to date.
Share successes from your members, hightlight industry news, and offer resources that can help your members succeed in their goals.
Site architecture and membership functionality are essential for association websites.
Association websites often contain A LOT of information. You want to make it as easy as possible for your association members to find the information they are seeking. Planning and designing an effective hierarchical layout for the homepage and a well-organized navigation structure will make your association website more effective and useful.
Membership functionality is also important to consider during the initial strategic planning phase of the website build. You will want to determine what capabilities your association members will need through their personal logins. Create a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” for functionality first then work with your web agency to determine the best software for your needs.
Check out some of the great association websites we’ve built over the years for inspiration:
Make calls-to-action a priority.
First, a strong, visible and consistent call-to-action is essential for an association website. It should match the overall branding/theme of the site but stand out amongst the other content.
Another important element is overall user friendliness. The navigation should be easy, answer the users’ questions and be a resource hub. It should also be simple to figure out how to purchase and/or follow up for more information.
Association websites are all about smart information dissemination strategy.
Associations are all about the dissemination of information. Information to their members to better equip them for success. Information to the public/media about their industry. Information to elected officials about pending policies impacting their industry. Educational information to members to advance their industry across the board.
With this in mind, essential elements for associations typical revolve around better organizing and disseminating that information:
– Strong search capabilities
– Members’ Only resources
– Resource libraries (categorized and filterable)
– Community tools like collaborative forums and email groups
– Events calendars
– Strong industry branding elements
– Member directories
All of these elements are designed to represent the industry and promote positive, impactful information about the industry and the association members. Take a look at a couple of our association clients like OAAA or PCMA to see a strong suite of data and tools readily available to their target audiences.
Choose the right AMS or CRM for you.
The common features of an Association Management System (AMS) basically include a Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Payment Collection and/or Processing of Dues, Donations, and include goods & services, Events, Forms, Reports, Newsletters and the capability of Integrations.
There are mainly two common AMS products available today. There is typically the all-in-one with many features baked into a product. The other version is primarily a CRM which weighs heavily on integrations and APIs to connect to third-party features.
Make sure events are a prominent feature.
The successful association sites we have worked with generally have relevant event and conference information prominently displayed as a main feature.
Another key element is an up-to-date resources or whitepapers section with relevant content. Depending on the association a blog or monthly newsletter is also useful when used properly.
Use plugs-in to increase user engagement.
Events! This is going to be really important for your members and sponsors to find. Having an easy-to-use event plug-in that presents all of the information in a clear way could yield a more engaging membership and sponsors to spend more money.
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