Charity Digital – Topics – Five platforms to build your first charity website

Your website is a virtual shop front. It’s often the first port of call for new and returning visitors, and can show people how they can support you or get support from you.

A great charity website can:

  • Establish a strong brand and increase awareness of it
  • Showcase your success stories through words, photos and video content
  • Allow supporters to donate directly or buy merchandise
  • Provide information and support to users
  • Host an online community for users and supporters
  • Recruit new members of staff and volunteers

How to choose a website builder

It can be tough to decide which website builder to go for. But it’s well worth taking your time and thoroughly investigating your options as once you’ve committed to one, it can be hard work to change.

It can be helpful to ask yourself:

  • How much expertise do you have in house?
  • How much money do you have to spend?
  • What charity-specific functions will your website need?
  • Are you likely to need plug-ins for additional functionality (such as donations or tracking memberships)
  • Are there existing digital systems that the website will need to be compatible with? For example, finance systems that are used for taking donations.

Here’s our round up of five website builders for you to consider.

WordPress

WordPress is one of the most established and popular web building platforms. In fact, 43% of the web uses WordPress to create their websites.

WordPress has lots of templates specifically designed for charities and not-for-profits, and can be easily customized to whatever you want your site to do and look like. There are thousands of plug-ins available offering functionality to, for example, allowing supporters to donate easily through your site or buy branded merchandise.

It’s open source, which means there are new templates and plug-ins appearing all the time. And importantly, sites are automatically mobile responsive and SEO ready.

Cost: From free to around £50 per month (this can vary hugely depending on any extra plug-ins or templates you choose to use).

Wix

Another of the big players, Wix, is one of the easiest and most intuitive to use. Its drag and drop interface makes it super easy to swiftly put together a professional-looking website. If you have next-to-no digital skills, this is one for you.

It has lots of not-for-profit templates and most come with built-in contact forms and donate buttons. But choose your template wisely as it can be tricky to swap after you’ve started working on it. It also offers ‘Wix ADI’ (Artificial Design Intelligence) which creates a fully designed site based on your answers to a few questions.

Another bonus is that its free plan lets you send up to 5,000 emails per month – ideal for keeping volunteers and supporters engaged.

Cost: From free, with their ‘unlimited’ plan priced at £11 per month. We have discounted rates for two-year subscriptions.

Weebly

Cnet lists Weebly as the easiest to use website builder for 2022. That means you can get your website up and running more quickly than say a WordPress site that requires some learning.

It’s easy to use but has a more limited range of add-ons and is less flexible in terms of design than other platforms. But if you want a simple, really affordable platform to get your charity online, this could be a good option.

Cost: It has a free option, though your domain will have Weebly branding. The next step up (£4 a month) allows you to have your own domain name. And their Pro package (with no Weebly ads) is £9 per month.

Wired Impact

If you need something more complex than a drag and drop approach, but not as involved as a custom-built site, look at Wired Impact. It specialises in charities and not-for-profits, and its sites include online donation systems, volunteer management, registration events and payment.

It can easily link with other tools you use such as email marketing platforms, and they offer personalized support and advice to help you create the best possible site.

Cost: With fees starting at $69 per month this is a pricey option, but it does offer a generous free 60-day trial.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy’s website builder is straightforward and means you can speedily build your site. It also offers design assistance, meaning you can tap in a few details and GoDaddy creates a basic website for you to customise.

It has a selection of ‘community and not-for-profit’ templates with clean, uncluttered designs, however, it doesn’t offer as much design flexibility as other platforms.

Cost: While you can get started for free, the standard option from £7.99 per month includes SEO (which you’ll definitely need to attract people to your beautiful new site).

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