Beyond housing important resources and forms, your website keeps your audience up to date on your events and projects, introduces your nonprofit to new supporters, and helps fuel your fundraising efforts. However, if you’re not regularly tracking data to assess your website’s performance, you’re missing out on a key opportunity to refine your digital strategy and harness the full potential of your website.
Data helps you understand how donors are interacting with your website, giving you critical insight into the user journey and how you can optimize it to drive conversions. Backed by a data-driven approach, you’ll be well prepared to make informed decisions about content, design, and functionality and carry out necessary changes to better meet your goals.
In this article, we’ll go over the top metrics to track to step up your website’s digital performance:
Time on page
Keep in mind that there are a variety of tools available to collect data metrics, so if you don’t have one yet, consider leveraging a free solution like Google Analytics. Or, if you’re seeking a more advanced tool, use a dedicated nonprofit website builder that will automate performance reports. With the right technology, you can collect accurate data points and turn these numbers into actionable strategies that will enhance your digital presence.
Page views refer to the number of times a given page on your website is viewed. For example, a key landing page on your website is your donation page. If your total page views for your donation page are low, it could be attributed to a few different factors:
You have limited visibility on search engines like Google, indicating that your website needs to be better optimized for search engines (SEO)
You have a poor navigation system and users are struggling to find your donation page once they land on your website
Your nonprofit isn’t actively marketing your donation page and fundraising needs on your other channels, including your social media, email newsletter, and more
Since the reasons behind a low or high page view can vary, it’s important to consider your current web design as well as other metrics to provide more context, which we’ll cover in more detail in later sections. However, let’s assume that you dig deeper and find out that your website isn’t ranking for any relevant keywords on Google. To optimize your website for search engines, leverage these best practices:
Use a keyword strategy: A keyword is the search query that users type into the search engine. For example, a supporter might type in “animal shelter volunteer opportunities near me,” and content that is optimized for this keyword would pop up on their search engine results page. You can optimize a given web page, such as your volunteer opportunities landing page, for this keyword by threading it throughout your page headings, copy, meta title, and meta description.
Create accessible content: Users of all abilities should be able to engage with your content and have a positive user experience, which is an important factor for search engine optimization. To make your content accessible, create a predictable content layout, implement smooth navigation, and offer alternative text for visuals.
Optimize for mobile: Search engines favor websites that are mobile-friendly, so it’s critical that your layouts and on-page elements automatically resize to fit smaller devices. Morweb’s guide to nonprofit website templates recommends leveraging a website builder that offers mobile-optimized layouts so you can automatically create a responsive design.
Keep in mind that page views are measured by how many times a user loads a page on your website. For example, if a user reloads one page three times, this would count as three page views. This means that a high page view could be attributed to loading errors or other user experience obstacles. On the other hand, low page views could be a positive indicator if you’ve created a pathway of webpages to drive a given conversion, but users are converting without needing to visit each page.
Make sure to track your page views with other metrics and reflect on the context of the page itself to create a complete picture of how you can improve your web strategy.
Conversion rate refers to the number of users that complete an action on your website, such as submitting a donation, registering for an event, or signing up for your email newsletter. A high conversion rate indicates that your content is successfully inspiring users to engage further and it’s easy for them to do so. On the other hand, a low conversion rate could be attributed to:
User experience errors that are making it difficult to complete a given action, such as a lengthy donation form or prompts or buttons that aren’t working properly on mobile
Lack of engaging copy that directs people to want to complete the given action
Ineffective calls to action (CTAs) to complete the next step
The top nonprofit websites strategically use CTA buttons throughout their content to drive conversions. CTA buttons are brief words or phrases that, when clicked, immediately take the user to the relevant resource. To create an effective CTA strategy, keep these best practices in mind:
Keep the language brief: Your CTAs should get to the point quickly but still capture your audience’s attention. For example, CTAs like “Donate to Save the Whales!” and “Volunteer to Combat Climate Change!” are straightforward and use enough detail that supporters understand the purpose of the button and won’t be misled.
Link to comprehensive landing pages: Add a hyperlink to your buttons so supporters are taken to the relevant resource. For example, your Donate button should lead supporters to your donation page, your Volunteer button should lead to your volunteer application form, and so on. Additionally, make sure these resources are in good shape so supporters can complete their actions with ease. For instance, Bloomerang recommends only asking for the most essential information, such as contact and billing details, on your donation form to make the donation experience fast and simple.
Use distinct visual design: Help your CTA buttons stand out by bolding the text or using another color in your color scheme that’s different from nearby elements on your page. You should also position your CTA buttons prominently, such as placing your Donate button in the top-right corner of your navigation bar so it’s easy to see.
Pairing your page views with your conversion rate can tell you a lot about how a given page is performing. For example, if your page views are high but your conversions are low, your content or web design is likely meeting users’ search intent, but it isn’t pushing them along their journey to completing a given action. Updating your copy, creating better CTAs, and improving the process to completing that action can all help in increasing conversions.
Time on page
You might have a page with a high number of views, but how much time are users actually spending on that page? Time on page refers to how long visitors spend reading and engaging with a given page on average. If users are clicking off a page quickly after landing on it, it might be time for a web redesign.
To increase the time spent on your pages, consider these tips:
Update your copy so it’s relevant to your target audience and keeps their interest
Use high-quality visuals, like videos, that motivate your visitors to engage with your content for longer periods
Increase the readability of your page by using legible fonts and avoiding clutter by incorporating ample white space
Note that more time spent on a page could also be attributed to user experience issues that make it difficult to complete a given action. For example, let’s say you have a blog post on your website about your fundraising needs with an embedded donation form. A long time spent on the page, paired with a low conversion rate, could point to issues with the functionality of your form that are eating up your users’ time and causing poor user experience.
Just like with page views, it’s critical to view the whole picture and take the time to understand the root cause of sufficient or insufficient time spent on a given page. This will help you make the necessary adjustments to optimize that piece of content and improve your overall digital performance.
Metrics can tell you a lot about how you can strengthen your website to support your nonprofit’s goals. Use the data insights you collect to develop a well-informed optimization strategy and ensure your website is always up to par. Remember, the digital landscape is constantly changing, so regularly checking in with website metrics and refreshing your content can improve the longevity of your digital presence.