Social Media Icons and the Nonprofit Homepage

in Marketing for Nonprofits,Online Fundraising,Social Media,Website - Nonprofit

The home page of ANY website – charity, association, for-profit, etc. – is prime real estate.  What goes where, color schemes, style sheets, primary call-to-action for the page, rotating content, and so on are just a few of the main design considerations.

Sample Social Media Icons

A recent blog post by Nonprofit Tech 2.0 briefly discussed where social media icons ought to be located on a nonprofit’s homepage.  The post stated, “…I am big believer in the power upper right-hand corner of your homepage…”

I’m NOT in complete agreement.

The decision on what goes in the upper right corner is complex and strategic.  And just because five of the larger nonprofits (5 orgs cited in the post) place the icons in the upper right corner still doesn’t make it the best decision for them or for anyone else.

Don’t rush out and re-design your home page based on the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 post.  I generally like what they have to say but this time I believe they’ve over-simplified an issue to the point of being misleading.

Here are some factors to study, analyze and weigh before deciding WHAT GOES IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER of your home page:

– What is the primary purpose of YOUR home page? What do you want it to achieve?

– What is the primary call-to-action for YOUR home page?  If visitors did nothing else, what is the ONE action (conversion) you would love them to take? 

 – How many competing calls-to-action exist on your home page?  The more there are the lower your overall conversions will be.

– Do you have an email list?  Is it important to grow your list and gain more subscribers?

 – What is your social media strategy? What social networks are you involved with (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) and how do they help your nonprofit grow?

 – How many buttons, icons, and bright colors are competing for the web visitor’s eye?

That’s the tip of the iceberg when it comes to laying out your home page.  As I said before, it’s a complex design decision. 

Hopefully those six bullets help you clearly see the point I want to make which is …

The upper right corner of the home page ought to be reserved for the primary call-to-action. 

IF that’s getting more people to join your social networking groups, then put the social media icons here. 

But IF it’s getting more newsletter/email subscribers, or getting people to respond to a petition, or another call-to-action . . . then put the social media icons somewhere else. 

Rule of thumb is to reserve the upper right corner of your home page for the most desired conversion.  Don’t play follow the leader when it comes to designing your nonprofit’s website home page.  There’s too much at stake.

Related posts:

The Who, What, Why and How of Nonprofit Website Copy

Make it Easy for Web Visitors

Nonprofit Website Usability in Detail – Part 1