One of the most frequently asked questions in our meetings with Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) is, "Do we need two websites - client and donor?" While there is a shorthand answer to this, ultimately you should decide what you need. Our goal is to equip your center with the information and best practices so you can make the choice that fits your organization.
Before sharing pros and cons to each method, we want to be clear on one aspect. Separate messaging to clients and donors is crucial. For some, this may include separate sites, domains, profiles, and even a unique donor brand. Separate messaging is a vital ingredient in the secret sauce of effectively reaching and engaging both your client and donor audiences. Understanding your audience and communicating their voice with crystal-clear clarity is at the heart of this approach, and the results are bound to be transformative.
While messaging should be separated, there are options for how you create and manage your sites, whether or not you have two domains or one. Let’s dive into best practices and what not to do if you have two separate websites (domains/unique URLs) or one.
ONE WEBSITE/ONE DOMAIN - 3 MISTAKES TO AVOID
Your messages to women considering abortion and supporters who want to save lives couldn't be more different. When it comes to your main website, you have to prioritize the lives at stake over donors looking for information.
If you have one site for clients, donors, community support, etc., avoid the following practices:
1. Mixed home page messaging and menu.
The look, message, and menu on your home page and site should be designed to reach women at risk for an abortion or individuals looking for resources and support. You can have a donate tab in the footer. Remember, donors will search for the information or links they need. A potential client may not.
Avoid a mixed menu or content and images designed for donors. While many centers opt to have donor pages viewable, we recommend hiding your donor-focused pages from the menu. They can be accessible through a portal or direct links.
2. Indexing donor-focused content pages on Google
This is a simple way to make sure your donor pages don’t show up or outrank your client-facing pages on options, medical services, or other client-focused content. Make it easier for clients to find the help they need.
Note: If you have a community events page without pro-life language or ways to volunteer or get involved without overt faith-based language, you can opt to have those pages seen or indexed. It’s no secret you are a non-profit organization and ask for donations or volunteers.
3. Slowing site speed and harming SEO.
If you use your site to upload videos, newsletter PDFs, or other large files, we recommend not putting them on a client-facing website. They can slow down the site and impact your ranking.
SEPARATE WEBSITE - QUESTIONS TO ASK
Having a separate site for donor material allows you a great platform and the most creativity to provide resources and education to supporters, church partners, or prospective donors. However, there are also some challenges.
Does your donor site outrank your client site?
Having an indexed donor site can cause conflict with your ranking and visibility online. It can also cause confusion for women seeking help or abortion information if they click on your donor site instead. This can even prevent you from helping an abortion-minded woman. Talk to your website company. Ensure that your donor site is not indexed by Google and, therefore, can’t appear in organic search results.
What is the purpose of my donor site?
How do you use your donor site? How does your community or supporters use your site? Some centers choose not to have a separate donor site to save the extra monthly fees and development costs because they rely on other online marketing platforms like Facebook (private groups or pages) and effective email marketing. If you only need a place for supporters to find your donation platform, then you can place that link or page on your client site. However, if you use your donor site to spread awareness, write donor-facing blogs, tell stories, update events frequently, or other tools, then a separate donor site is a must!
Is my client site effective at connecting with a woman considering abortion?
Your client site should, first and foremost, be designed to speak to a woman considering abortion. While you should also show the resources you offer and other services, you only have a few seconds to grab the attention of an abortion-minded woman.
We follow the research from the Vitae Foundation and others. Use empowering language, avoiding terms like scared, confused, or other negative emotions. Instead, use images of confident women, and, if you are a medical center, use medical images of nurses or your clinic. Your main content, look, feel, messaging, and design should be focused on empowering her.
Overall, your site should also connect with visitors on an emotional level, showing understanding, empathizing with their fears, and offering resources and support to help them navigate the circumstances surrounding their unexpected pregnancies.
THE RIGHT LOOK AND MESSAGE CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Your client site should have simple navigation, delivering the essential information they seek during this vulnerable time. In contrast, a donor-facing site should highlight your life-saving impact, events, and opportunities for them to get involved in the transformative work in their communities. By tailoring messages appropriately, both audiences feel understood and valued.
Having two separate platforms and voices, whether one domain or two, is crucial because both messages are essential but don't apply to both audiences. Blending these messages can quickly turn away potential clients or confuse donors. Keeping them separate creates a focused and impactful experience for each group, leading to more effective communication and the ability to reach more women considering abortion.
Julia Kurschner and her husband Mike are the owners of Stories Marketing, where Julia serves as the CEO. Julia and Mike are dedicated to pro-life work and helping pregnancy centers build their brand and online presence.