In the prior article in this two-part series, we discussed how to improve Association website effectiveness by avoiding messaging challenges on your website. This article will focus on common user experience issues that occur with some websites.

Lack of a security certificate
Prospective members may never reach your website if the website lacks a security certificate. (https://) Today’s browsers will display a warning if a visitor tries to go to a site with no security certificate.
This is both a user experience and SEO issue because search engine result position may be impacted by the lack of a certificate. The fix requires the purchase of a security certificate from your hosting company ($5-$300+ per year.) Once you purchase the certificate have your web developer force the certificate throughout the website.

Difficult to contact your association
Your phone number should be in the top right corner of the header, as well as in the footer and on the Contact Us page.

Header Issues

    • Too tall – We often see website headers that are so tall that they require extra scrolling to get to the main messaging for the website.
    • Social media icons placed in the header – Social media is less important than site navigation or main messaging. Placing the icons in the header distracts visitor focus. We place the icons in the footer of the website.
    • Too many navigation links – Some websites have poor layout/navigation and as a result they cram two full navigation menus in the header. It’s okay to place a few less critical page links in a second menu that is placed above the main menu in order to house less important pages; such as the contact, blog, or about us pages.



This is the first in a two part series of Blog articles about how to improve association website effectiveness. This article covers common Association website messaging challenges to avoid on your website.

1. Unclear messaging about your organization. You have 3-5 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. Is it crystal clear how you help your members and why they should join your association? I like to ask, “What’s the headline?” You want to present the one compelling headline that summarizes what you do and why the audience should care.

2. Overuse of font colors and styles. Most website visitors spend less than a minute on a website unless there is compelling content and images. Of course, this varies by industry and the level of problem the visitor is trying to solve. If your website has too many colors, font sizes, etc. it is hard for people to focus on reading the content.

3. Three columns of content. A common issue with Association and nonprofit websites is the use of the three-column format. They try to present so much information on the home page that reading the content is tough. There’s a reason that novels are pages of long sentences rather than two or three columns. In today’s online world people are used to scrolling and the use of panels for each topic is considered best practice.