You want to get visitors to important pages on your website, but not at the expense of a messy, cramped or confusing navigation. While you’ll need to lead people to specific pages in some way, there are plenty of opportunities to drive traffic to important pages (that actually work to get more eyes on your content) without cluttering up the header of your website.
The point of the main (or primary) navigation is to help visitors navigate your website, not to feature your most important pages. A clean and logical structure improves your site’s usability and accessibility, making life easier for all of your website visitors. But if you don’t include these key pages in your main navigation, how will visitors find them?
The Importance of Good Calls to Action
I’m willing to bet that a few of your most important pages are action pages or pages that promote an action that’s especially meaningful for your organization.
A call to action (or CTA) asks your reader to do something for your nonprofit, likely related to what they’ve just read or viewed on a page, blog post, email, etc. That something can be signing up for your email list, making a donation, registering to volunteer, purchasing tickets for an event, or any other action that you want supporters to take.
Without good calls to action, website visitors could be leaving your site without taking any meaningful steps. Every single page on your website should have one request that encourages visitors on that page to deepen their relationship with your organization and keep them moving through your nonprofit’s marketing funnel. Get more tips for upleveling your calls to action and increasing conversions on your website.
How to Get Visitors to Important Pages
There are plenty of ways to get visitors to important pages around your website, outside of the main navigation. While many of these examples are based on our website platform, they apply to a wide spectrum of nonprofit websites.
Homepage calls to action
Your homepage is probably one of the most visited pages on your website. It serves as an entry point for new and returning visitors alike, and it should highlight the pages that are most important to understanding and supporting your mission. Be strategic in selecting strong pages to feature and link to—pages that work toward your goals and serve your whole audience, including those who may have only just now heard of you.
Use this space to tell people what you do, why they should care, and how they can help. You can always update your homepage to showcase different pages over time and in the short term, like a campaign landing page during year-end giving or for crisis communications. For more tips on nailing this page, check out our recipe for a successful homepage.
Calls to action within page content
As I mentioned above, every page on your site (and especially popular landing pages that see a lot of traffic!) should have a next step for visitors to take. And often, that’s most effectively accomplished through a call to action included directly within your page content. To draw attention to this important action page, add some visual interest to the text itself and use a button, image or, even better, a special call to action block or design feature.
New Mexico First uses the call to action block feature on their About page to encourage visitors to learn more about their Mission and Values, a page that’s incredibly important to them, but that’s not included within the top level of their main navigation.
Leaning into their intrusive nature, pop-ups grab attention and can direct visitors to important pages around your website. Though they are most often used for encouraging action, there are some cases where you might want to send people to a time-sensitive program update or related information. But they should be used strategically and be specific to the important pages that you’re trying to promote.
For example, entry-level actions, like asking visitors to visit your Newsletter page and sign up, can be applied liberally on a range of pages across your website. On the other hand, more involved actions, like making a donation or downloading a resource, should be more targeted to the pages where visitors are most likely to complete that action. Read more about the best practices for pop-ups and how to build your strategy.
Some website designs have the ability to highlight a few pages above the main navigation within the header of the website. These pages are typically action pages and are given some attention-grabbing feature, like a button appearance.
As you can see in the header of the Castro Valley Educational Foundation website, they chose to highlight the most important actions that they want visitors to take on their site, Donate, Volunteer, and Contact, with the extra space and bright red styling that the secondary navigation provides.
Sidebar calls to action
The sidebar is the real estate along the side of individual pages that are not set to be full-width across the screen. To keep pages focused and looking clean, we tend to recommend just one to two calls to action within the sidebar on any particular page. So get picky with them! Select the pages and actions that would be most meaningful to visitors on that page in particular.
On their Programs page, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund uses the sidebar to ask visitors to support their work with the logic that those interested in their programs are more likely to make a donation to support them.
The footer can be used to highlight pages outside of the main navigation. While the pages linked in this section typically mirror the main navigation in the header, additions can be made to give people direct access to other content. This placement is typically best for pages that target a very specific audience, like a login page for your staff or a portal for board members.
For example, the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative uses its footer to link career opportunities, a page for board members, and a media page, as well as a call to action to subscribe to its email newsletter.
There are also opportunities to drive visitors to important pages in addition to what you do on your website itself, and I’d be remiss not to mention them here. For example, an email newsletter and active social media pages can regularly drive traffic to key pages around your website when you include links in your messages and posts. Whichever marketing channels you use outside of your website, leverage them to regularly drive traffic to the most important and relevant pages on your site for that audience.
For a marketing plan template chock-full of successful digital strategies aimed at building awareness, check out The Awareness Accelerator Nonprofit Marketing Plan to harness a range of marketing channels that can give your organization’s traffic a boost.
Connecting Content Across Your Site
Outside of highlighting the most important pages and actions on your website through calls to action, it’s vital to develop an internal linking strategy to connect content across your website.
Linking relevant content in context helps visitors make connections between the various aspects of what you do and who you are. It also works to prevent duplicate content on your site, which can be frustrating for visitors and bad for your search engine rankings. Follow these five rules to keep your internal website links effective and accessible.
Getting visitors to your organization’s most important pages is so much more than adding them to the header in your main navigation. Keeping your website easy to navigate and utilizing all of the real estate it has to offer is a strategic process that pays off in the long run: happier visitors taking more actions during their visits to your site.
How does your nonprofit get visitors to important pages? Do you use any methods outside of the ones that we listed? Share your secrets in the comments!
The post 7 Ways to Get Visitors to Important Pages Outside of the Main Website Navigation appeared first on Wired Impact.