Ep 168 | Crafting Engaging Website Headers

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The header of your website grabs visitors attention and lets them know what's the most important action for them to take. It also shares the biggest pain point you are solving for them.

What you'll learn:

→ how other larger nonprofits are maximizing their headers.
→ tips for creating your perfect header.
→ why changing your header regularly is important.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[3:50] Be Specific Be specific on where your donations are going. Donors are more likely to give money if they know where the money goes to.
[6:25] Take Action Now Bring attention to current events that affect your cause. Keep it simple and allow your donors to easily find more information
[9:26] Photos Use photos that are relevant to the services or resources that you provide. Don’t try to bring in your donors with photos that don’t represent what you do.

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] We only have a few seconds to grab people's attention in the online space, whether that's a podcast episode, a YouTube video, and especially your website. When people land on your website, they want to feel like they're going to be able to easily access the information that they need immediately. And if we don't do a good job of that, then they're just going to move on to something else. So in this episode, I'm going to show you some examples of what some national nonprofit organizations are doing, that I think have good examples of headlines in their websites. And just give you some ways that you can think about how we keep the language very specific. And how we use our homepage to really activate people where we need them to be. Calls to action that are most impactful for our business right now. Remember, we don't need to change our website all the time, but the header area of your website is definitely an area we want to make sure stays relevant. So that's what I'm going to share with you today. Make sure you check out the show notes for this episode at thefirstclick.net/podcast so that you can see some of these websites in real life. Now, full disclosure, we're recording this episode a few months before this episode goes live. So some of these may have changed by the time that you get back to them. So take what I'm saying and just review what it is that is on those pages now. So that you can really think about those headers with a different frame of reference, and a different idea. And hopefully do the same when you take a look at your homepage. But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by the online fundraising virtual Summit. You can learn everything you want at onlinefundraisingsummit.com, where we're going to help you work through building crafting in really growing your monthly donor program for more sustainability in your fundraising and in your financial so that you can grow in scale, and do all the amazing things that you want inside of your organization. So again, go to onlinefundraisingsummit.com. And let's get into the episode. 

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generate more leads and growing your business. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So part of the reason why I picked national organizations for this is also just so that as you're listening to this, you probably know what it is that they do just by the name of the organization, which helps so that way you can have a different lens when it comes to what I'm sharing with you with regards to some of these headers. So the first one that we're going to share is Boys and Girls Clubs of America. So BGCA.org. And they do have a handful of sliders that go pretty quickly. But what you'll see is that they have a very visual image. So I immediately can kind of see what it is that they're talking about. So the first one says help keep kids fed and focused this summer with the Learn More button. And you see, you see two children standing in front of a fridge with the doors open, full of healthy snacks. So there's milk and water and fruit cups and vegetable cups and you know, everything looks really fresh and vibrant. So it's very easy for me to see what they're trying to get across here in a matter of seconds. So it is very concise, help keep kids fed and focused this summer. Now one of the things that I might make as an adjustment here is kind of be a little bit more specific. So who are these kids that we're supporting, right? And maybe kind of have a little call to action or something there that talks about the number of kids that go without healthy meals during the summer. So even if you aren't getting specific on the population of kids that you're serving, but maybe a little bit more information about why that is a problem that people are facing. One of their other sliders has a beautiful young child and she's just smiling at you, super sweet, and it says make a difference every month, a warm meal, a safe place, a caring mentor. Your monthly gift helps kids achieve great futures. Now I really like this because they're not just saying make a donation. They're being very specific and saying give monthly and that then takes you to their donation page that just pops up that allows you to give monthly where they populate it at $30. So monthly donations you know are my thing. I love them as we're doing the summit on them in October. But it's just very, it's very clear. So your organization probably has multiple different fundraising campaigns. And we're not asking people to make a choice and where do they want to give them? What do they want to do? But we're being very specific and making it easy, make a difference every month, give monthly. And without getting into too much detail, they are still telling me how that money is being used. A warm meal, a safe place, a caring mentor, I can dive deeper into that, I can ask more questions. But I do like how concise and specific it is. Now they have a couple of sliders for things like their Hall of Fame. So they must have their Alumni Hall of Fame honoree, that must be something that's currently just happened. And then they also have a slider about mental health resources, which is really important. So you can see what their sliders, they're very specific. So they have a couple that are geared more towards fundraising, they have one that's geared like more mission driven, and one that's providing resources to the population that they serve. So a good mix of sliders. If you are doing sliders on your homepage, remember, definitely don't want to do more than five, four is even pushing it here. And you want to make sure that every single one that you do is a major impact point, no fluff in the headers, okay, we want to make them super specific. 

So the next one is the Nature Conservancy, which is nature.org. And what I like about their header is, again, there's a very visual image. I'm not sure what lake it is, it might be Lake Mead, even, but you can see how low the water is. And all these boats that are all lined up, I think trying to get out. That's what I would assume, I don't really know, not my area of expertise. But I see a very strong visual, is the point. And then it says US Supreme Court ruling on climate change. The Supreme Court's latest ruling makes it harder for the US to meet its goals in the battle against climate change and highlights the urgent need for congressional action. Take action now. Now again, the Nature Conservancy, and this is the English website, the US one so if you're in other countries, you might see something different. But what I really like about this here is there are so many things that the Nature Conservancy does. But they are highlighting something that is relevant and impactful now and they're saying take action now. So I would assume that there's a lot more campaigns and things that this organization is running right now. It takes you to their blog posts that has all of the information about what's going on. So you can learn more if you want. But they're making it super simple. And so if I don't really know much about it, I can click take action now and learn more, there's more information in that post about what I can do. But it just gives me the nuts and bolts of what I need. It's a Supreme Court ruling. It's affecting climate change, and highlights urgent need for congressional action. So it's giving me kind of some basic core things. Now, if I was maybe going to make a tweak or change any of this, you know, it might be to title this image or put something in a caption somewhere that's going to share a little bit more about what this is. But again, it's grabbing me. And then before I even have to scroll, I'm still seeing their tagline or their information about who we are and what we do. So again, makes it easy to kind of pull me down to scroll to learn more. If that particular topic wasn't something that I was attracted to, I can immediately see we impact conservation in more than 70 countries and territories. Thanks to our members, staff, and scientists. So now I know okay, there's probably going to be more down here for me to take a look at. So that's the Nature Conservancy, and they don't have any sliders. They just have the one. But again, so above the fold, which is I'm currently looking at all these websites on my MacBook Pro. It's a pretty regular sized screen, I think 13 inches, I don't know, I'm bad with all these specs stuff but so above the fold, meaning what we see on our screen before somebody has to scroll. So they did a great use of space and a great use of allowing me to kind of pull things down.

Okay, the third one is the Humane Society. This is specifically the Arizona humane society. And you know the benefit that humane societies have is Who doesn't love to see a bunch of cute puppies? So immediately I see this little pup. They do bright colors that look great. And I am just immediately just looking at him like oh my goodness, how cute is this dog? But what I found interesting is the box to the left is big and bold and it says become a foster hero. When a pet needs extra recovery time or a family is facing temporary crisis, we turn to our foster heroes. As a foster hero, you'll be giving a second chance to a pet in need while allowing us more space to save another pet who needs our help. With the button, become a foster hero. So, again, the Humane Society has lots of things that they're doing, right. They have pet adoption, they have cats, dogs, sometimes birds, mice, you know, whatever, depending on your location. But they've chosen foster hero, because my guess is, that's their biggest area of need. So they say very clearly, a lot, like, you know, gives a second chance to a pet while allowing us more space to save another pet who needs help. So instead of pushing, you know, pet adoption, which you might expect a humane society to do, they're pushing becoming a foster hero. Now, it could also be that maybe they don't have as many pets to adopt, or what have you. It's also interesting that they chose this particular dog for the photos, pretty darn cute, as opposed to a cat or another animal. And my guess is also in this situation, that they have more dogs and dog adoption than they do for other animals. So really being thoughtful of the images that you use, to kind of make sense and reinforce, than the experience somebody is going to have. So let's say I put a cute picture of a guinea pig up there. And somebody calls in is like, oh my gosh, I love that guinea pig that was on your, on your homepage, like do you adopt small pets like that? And they say, oh, no, we just had one. And that was really cute. So we put it up there. Well, that doesn't really make sense to the experience that somebody is going to have when they're taking advantage of those services. So really being thoughtful of what that looks like and what that means when people continue to dive deeper. Now, the one thing you'll notice with all of these websites, and I should say this one's azhumane.org. You'll notice that they all have big, bold donation buttons in the top right corner. So that piece is definitely not gone. And then in the case of Boys and Girls Club, they also have a pop up at the bottom that talks about, again, monthly donors being consistent with our message. But really where our eye is gravitating to are these beautiful headers that have very specific pieces of information. 

So the last one that I was going to share with you is Doctors Without Borders, doctorswithoutborders.org. And again, they're being very specific. So we think maybe we're going to turn people off if we are talking about specific projects that we're doing. But really, if they're especially in line with a larger campaign that we're running, it's really important that our messaging that's going out in email, social media, and our press releases, if we're doing interviews like that, all of that is in line with what people then experience on our website. So for example, northwestern Syria, millions will lose access to vital medical care if humanitarian crossing closes. So it's a very specific experience and thing that Doctors Without Borders, I'm assuming, is working on in this moment. They do have a much larger image, but you see a doctor, working with a woman with a sign in the back that, you know, it reinforces the brand and the name, I do have to scroll to read kind of the little preview text that says MSF, excuse me relies on the crossing between Turkey and northwestern Syria to transport supplies, and will be forced to scale down assistance if UN Secretary Council fails to renew the cross border resolution. So even though I have to scroll to see that, and then it has a button to read the latest update. So even though I have to scroll to see that, again, it's very concise and clear, I understand what the main pain point is and I can read the latest update and stay in touch and kind of figure out what that is. I can decide if I want to give to that cause or what action I can take in order to maybe help put pressure on the UN Security Council. Right. So all of that is very specific. And I know exactly what it is that they're trying to do and how this impacts the organization. Again, I can continue to scroll and get more general information about the organization. But the key theme that I want you to understand is these headers are where you get your impact. You have plenty of other places in the website where you can talk about all the other amazing things that you do. And I know that you do them, but we don't need to try to pack that all in to your website. So again, things might change. You might have a registration header when you're open for registration. You might have a big Giving Tuesday header about what's coming when we get closer to that. It might be to register for the upcoming gala or your 5k, whatever it is, that space on your website should not be forgotten. It is a very, very, very critical piece for people to continue to dive deeper and get the information that's most important right away, and the most important information that you need them to get right away. Because remember, our homepage is the number one trafficked page on our website. So that's where people are seeing things first. And also, if we have people coming to our website on a regular basis, when they see new headers, it's also going to like give them information that they maybe didn't know or hadn't seen before. So it really kind of serves dual purpose. So I hope that this was helpful for you. Thank you so much for listening. Go check out your website headers, see what they say, and see what might need to be updated. Make sure you subscribe, wherever you listen, and I'd love it if you'd give me a five star review. I really appreciate doing all of this and love doing all of this. And we'd love to provide support to more organizations just like yourself for now. I'll see you in the next one.

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