We are asked this question time and again
What can I do to build community through my website? And the answer is so simple.
Think of your website as the front door to your organization. Think of your organization as home to your audience; a place where they can find what matters to them.
Welcome them into your home.
1: (ehad) אֶחַד
In Yiddish, there is a term for this: Hamish. It’s an adjective that means cozy and warm. Make your website hamish. When visitors are relaxed, they’re more open to hear what you have to say. They feel as though they know you and vice versa. Encourage your users to keep coming around and to bring their friends along.
There are many ways to do this, but our favorite way is to create an ongoing dialogue with visitors. Through marketing and connecting with your ideal users, you can build your mailing list. You can also provide entry points on your website to join the list. Through this list, you can promote your news, events and the overall message of your organization.
How do your visitors find out about what interests them? Well, you have to tell them.
2: (shnayim) שְׁנַיִם
Talk to your readers in a meaningful way. Ask them questions or for their opinion and be sure to respond. Tell them what’s been going on. Let them talk about their issues and listen. Provide informative content. Delight them and make it known that they matter. You’re coming together to do big things, so take pride in achievements together. Show them how much you appreciate them and their input.
3: (shlosha) שְׁלוֹשָׁה
When you’re building community, you’re creating the framework for people to come together, people you can turn to and people that support you. Invite your visitors into the conversation about their community and discuss their dreams and visions. It’s a very personal experience for each of them, so it’s vital to make your website feel like home.
- When people are comfortable, they’re more open to persuasion. This means that they may be more open to making or increasing a donation.
- When you demonstrate that you understand where they’re coming from, you establish more trust and a greater sense of loyalty.
- If your website feels like a template or feels barren, there will less emotional attachment to the organization.
- User experience must be considered.The site should feel friendly and inviting, not complex and difficult to navigate. It should be easy to find what you’re looking for.