The groundwork

While it’s tempting to jump straight into the content design for your homepage, you need to do some groundwork first.

On this page...

Check in on your strategy

Familiarise yourself with your organisation’s overall strategy or mission. If you’ve got a digital strategy and a content strategy, look at those too. Your homepage should be working to support your strategic goals, so you need to be clear on what they are before you start. This makes a huge difference to your homepage content design. If your big strategic focus is getting donations, your homepage will need to be very different than if your focus is on providing services or recruiting volunteers.

Get a list of user needs or top tasks

Make sure you’re clear on who your users are and what they need from you. If you’re not sure what these are and don’t have any data or insight to help you, pause here. I’d suggest you put your homepage plans on hold (if you can) and do some user research or a top tasks survey first.

How to write user needs

Government Digital Service

Engage your stakeholders

Everyone is going to want a say on what’s on the homepage. So it’s a good idea to talk to stakeholders early and often. Tell them what you’re doing, ask for their opinions, and what they need from the homepage and why. This part of the process is crucial and gives you the best chance of avoiding those ‘But my thing MUST be in bold caps, with a red button, at the top of the page’ conversations later on. Some key stakeholders might be teams like brand, marketing, fundraising, campaigns, service or product, volunteering, partnerships – anyone who has a stake in the content on the website.

Audit your homepage

Carry out a review of your existing homepage. Think about:

  • The qualitative side: Does it meet best practice or make any of the common homepage content mistakes? (You’ll find the best practice and mistakes in the next two sections of the toolkit.)
  • The quantitative side: How does your homepage perform for your key metrics, like time on page and click through rate? How many people land on it? Where do they go and what do they do next?

Before you move on...

Capture the strategic priorities, user needs, and key audit points in the ‘Groundwork’ worksheet of the Homepage Content Planner spreadsheet. Then fill in the ‘Homepage checklist: content audit’ worksheet too.

(If you haven't made your copy yet, the planner is linked on the charity homepage content toolkit main page.)

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