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white board for web
After twenty plus years in the association management industry working on countless projects that I loved, I now have a personal favorite. The recent redesign of a client website that seemed daunting at the outset brought together all of my favorite elements: the opportunity to work closely with staff, volunteers and an industry partner, and the chance to be creative and produce a website that provides value to our members and visitors every day. After a successful launch, I reflected on why this project meant so much to me and more importantly, what tips I could share to help my peers. Here are a few of the things that led to a stress-free “go live” date.

Map out a plan. Before you embark on the project, make sure you have a well thought out plan. The first step for us was to come up with a site map that laid out the overall vision for the new site. The site map resided on a large whiteboard in my office. Every category of information that was going on the site was included on the map. Even though you have your plan in place, be sure to stay flexible because I guarantee that not every detail will go exactly as planned.

Don’t be afraid to de-clutter. As we developed the site map, there were some hard decisions that needed to be made about what would be transferred over from the old site and what was no longer needed. When you deal with an organization of volunteers, sometimes it’s difficult to eliminate things that have a lot of emotion and hard work attached to them. That’s why I recommend making sure you don’t skip the next item.

Get buy-in from stakeholders along the way. Throughout the process, I reached out to the volunteer “owners” of the website’s different pieces to get their input. As staff, we made recommendations that would help site visitors get all of the information they needed without getting lost in a world of unnecessary clutter. We respected the hard work that was put into the old site and worked with stakeholders to streamline the new site.

The more eyes the better. This piece was key to a successful site. On the whiteboard were a list of categories and a place for staff initials to show, at a glance, the status of each piece. Was the copy written? Had the copy been reviewed by our staff point person? If there was volunteer involvement had that person seen the final product? Were there graphics included on the page? Was final copy sent to the designer? Had the related pages gone through final review? Was that piece ready to “go live?”

Hire a web designer who will act as a true partner. At AMPED, we’re very lucky to work with a designer who truly wants to be creative with us. He understands that we welcome his suggestions and we know we can depend on him to be on top of what’s up and coming in web design and function.

Launch day has come and gone and the new site is a success, but the work doesn’t stop there. We will continually look for ways to enhance the site and provide value to all of our visitors. I’d love to hear how you engage visitors on your organization’s site so that they keep returning!

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Tagged in: design planning website
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web resources

 

Everyone has websites, Twitter handles, blogs, news stations, magazines they follow to stay up-to-date and informed on topics important to them. And if you don’t, you should! Work resources are no different and there are so (too) many resources available to make your life easier and more efficient.

Here is a list of my top resources that keep me abreast of news in association management, how to manage work/life balance, and more. Have some of your own? Share them in the comments section at the bottom of this post. Want more? I have bookmarks and Twitter pages galore, just contact me.

Disclaimer: These are all my own recommendations, with no encouragement from the sources.

Bounce ideas off other associations in your area
A database of associations by country and state to learn more about those based in your community.
www.thepowerofa.org/asae-members

What’s happening in associations
Follow trending topics and learn from other association leaders.
www.associationtrends.com

Financial background on nonprofits
View nonprofit financial data, including Form 990s and more.
www.guidestar.org

The National Center for Charitable Statistics is also chock-full of important info dating back to 1989.
nccsweb.urban.org

Government per diem rates
Learn current and historical rates for each state as set by the U.S. General Services Administration.
http://gsa.gov/portal/category/100120

Event impact
Calculate the impact your event has on a host community.
www.destinationmarketing.org/topics/event-impact-calculator

Forms for volunteers
If you need to collect information from volunteers and require more functionality than SurveyMonkey can offer, check out FormSite.
fs24.formsite.com

Stuck in a rut
Two sites for helpful ideas on preparing publications of all types.
www.slideshare.net and http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/

Track packages
Slice can track package from all carriers with just the tracking number. Use the website or download the app. Bonus: the app sends push notifications to your devices so you know when the packages are out for delivery and waiting at the front desk.
www.slice.com

Junk mail management
Magazines, phone books and supply catalogs piling up at the office? There’s a way to stop them that’s easy and free!
www.catalogchoice.org

Choosing the seat with the most leg room
Figuring out which flight to take to the annual meeting is only half the battle. Use Seat Guru to help you choose the best seat, whether you need extra legroom, a power outlet, or to be one of the first off to make a quick connection.
www.seatguru.com

Worried about your grammar style?
Use Grammarly to quickly and accurately determine if your writing skills are up to snuff.
www.grammarly.com

Touch conversation starters
Some topics are just a challenge to bring up and there’s no getting around that. But you can learn how to effectively engage in the dialogue and hold crucial conversations with Vital Smarts.
www.vitalsmarts.com

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Tagged in: productivity website
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