As disability services providers started to transition from block funding to individual NDIS plans, there was an immediate need to create new or update existing websites to reflect NDIS services. For many organisations, that was over a year ago, even longer if you were part of an NDIS pilot. So now is a great time to review your website. During this time you’ve been busy adapting your business to meet the demands of the NDIS, streamlining back office functions to maintain financial viability and meeting the needs and wants of the people you support. Over this transition period your organisation and services have changed. But have you reflected these changes on your website? If the answer is no, then you can use our website health check tool to see if you need to update your website.
But, before you do a website health check and go ahead and update your website it’s important to think about your website’s purpose, your strategy and its maintenance.
The number one mistake we see with websites is that when organisations develop their website they focus on making it look amazing and having lots of features; but forget that the text and the way you help the reader navigate your website are vitally important in getting them to connect to your organisation. Connection is vitally important – it’s the difference between them contacting you or seeking help elsewhere. So just listing your services isn’t enough. It’s important to remember that you’re not Amazon, you’re not selling commodities, and you’re main selling point isn’t price – you provide services that support people. Your website needs to communicate what makes your organisation special:
- what your organisation is trying to achieve (mission, vision and values)
- how you go about doing it (outputs)
- how the incredible work you do with the people helps them (outcomes)
Who are the key stakeholders and target segments identified in your strategy – your website needs to appeal to them! Are they: the person that will receive your support, their family or carers, or key referrers (support coordinators, government)? Each stakeholder group will have different questions that they want your website to answer or may need the same information to be displayed in a different way (e.g. plain English or through graphics and images) to allow them to connect with you.
Your website needs to be tied back to your organisation’s strategy and objectives. The recently published ‘How is the disability sector faring?’ * stated that 10% of disability service providers plan to add new services. If this is you, these new services need to be promoted front and centre on your website, not be hidden away under two levels of menus. Similarly if you are one of the 75% of providers running at a loss, which services do you want to promote on your website to ensure you can continue to serve people into the future?
Can you easily update your website yourself? If not, it may be time to upgrade your website to a platform where you can. Not only can you instantly make changes, but with so little room in the NDIS price list for overheads, do you really want to be spending money on specialists when you can train any member of staff to update your own website? Also, decide who will be responsible for managing your blog. Will you have one person writing all the articles or numerous people with one administrator and make sure you have a strategy in place to maximise your blog’s ROI.
* Carey, et al. 2018 ‘How is the Disability Sector Faring?’ A report from National Disability Services’ Annual Market Survey, Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Sydney can be accessed here