How to Complete a Website Optimization Project in 2024 for Less Than $5,000

Posted Oct 11, 2023 | Updated 7 months ago

For many nonprofit organizations and small businesses, your website serves as your primary public-facing marketing tool.

It introduces prospective supporters and customers to your company’s mission, values, programs and services, and it also lets long-time donors and other stakeholders stay connected with convenient giving options, news updates, and more.

Because a website is such a critical tool, it’s important to keep it fresh and up to date. Some updates will need to be made on a monthly or even weekly basis—such as adding blog posts, changing out feature stories, or other maintenance. Beyond that, you’ll also want to consider doing a more comprehensive website optimization every three to five years.

What is a Website Optimization Project?

The first step to planning for a revamped website is determining if you need a website optimization or a total redesign, which differ in terms of scope, cost, and time for completion.

A website redesign is preferable if you want a complete overhaul to completely change your website’s structure and how it works or to integrate a new brand image. Generally, a website refresh impacts everything—or almost everything—on your site. You might choose a website redesign to switch over to a new content management system (CMS); if you’ve significantly changed your programming and services; or recently rebranded or changed your target market. Additionally, it can be the right choice if you’re currently working from a very old website or have a tech stack that’s outdated and insufficient, as a website redesign enables you to integrate new software and technology. This type of project also involves more behind-the-scenes work, like the rebuilding and framing phase of a home remodel.

A website optimization, on the other hand, typically involves surface-level changes, like updating content, adding new features, and fixing elements that are broken or outdated. Think of it like the paint and finishes on a house—the aesthetic touches—that are less complicated and time-consuming.

In many cases, improving even a portion of your site can significantly increase its overall performance, as long as you have a strategic approach. That means carefully and thoughtfully selecting what key elements are currently impacting performance in a negative way or serving as conversion roadblocks. Strategically focusing your attention on optimizing those components of your website can lead to widely meaningful results.

The good news is that even if you’re on a tight budget, there are numerous ways to touch up your website to make it more modern, engaging and compelling. If budget is a top concern for your website revamp, consider tackling the project in smaller and more manageable phases. You can connect with a website consultant or designer and discuss which items are priorities and which ones could be addressed later on, and then develop a long-term plan for updating your nonprofit website.

How to Optimize Your Website at Different Levels

Even for a relatively modest website optimization project, the scope can vary somewhat depending on the size and structure of your website, as well as your budget. It can be helpful to think about projects in terms of different levels to find the right one for your company’s needs.

Tier I: Small-Scale Website Optimization (Under $5K)

If you’re a small business or nonprofit with a website that contains a relatively low number of pages, subpages and posts—about 50 or less—you accomplish some important optimization tasks with a relatively conservative budget of about $5,000 or less.

Here are a few tasks tackle at this level to stay within a modest budget:

1. Update Your Images and Graphics:

One cost-effective way to give your website a new look is by replacing old imagery, graphics, and other visual elements. If you need high-quality photos, see if your team members and volunteers have any to contribute. You also might have a staff member who is dedicated to ensuring your company maintains a stock of top-notch photos. Even if you hire a professional photographer to do a a couple hour shoot, you can budget for about $1,000, and beautiful, authentic imagery is a worthwhile investment for building trust with your audience. You can get more marketing mileage out of those photos by leveraging them in your social media content calendar and in various future direct mailing campaigns too.

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2. Rework Messaging to Target New Audiences

As you grow as a nonprofit organization or successful small business in Colorado Springs, you’ll start to hone in on the messaging that is effective and inspiring for your target audience. Or maybe the demographics that are most supportive of your cause have changed over the years. For an optimized website, review the content on your pages. Using any market research you’ve conducted or even just your institutional knowledge of supporters and customers, make sure the language is still fitting and effective. If you’ve found specific phrases, words or concepts that particularly hit home, that aren’t current on your website, incorporate those into your website pages.

3. Add Elements of Social Proof

For better or worse, individuals are compelled to mimic the actions and behaviors of others if they are seen as correct, accepted or positive. It’s known as “social proof.” Your small business or nonprofit can leverage that social and psychological phenomenon to its benefit in an ethical and meaningful way through positive representation on your website. That could look like adding testimonials or quotes from customers, supporters, and community members or displaying badges, certifications, and other types of recognition that your organization has received over the past few years. 

4. Fix Broken Links

Another way older websites often start to suffer is through broken links, both internal and external. One cost-effective way to optimize your website, improve search-engine traffic, and enhance the overall user experience is by completing a technical audit of your website and making sure all the links still work. Additionally, make sure all your graphics, images and other media still look good and function properly.

Tier II: Medium-Scale Website Optimization (Under $10K)

If you have a more complex website, with more pages and subpages, or if you’re wanting to make more substantial updated to your website, you’ll need to set aside more resources to implement the optimizations.

In addition to some of the activities in the first-tier website optimization project, here are a few additional tasks to consider, which can still be accomplished with a budget of less than $10,000:

1. Address SEO in Content

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a constantly evolving requirement for professional websites. As part of your website optimization, there are a few techniques you can use to improve SEO, such as incorporating answers to high volume questions and keyword phrases to your content; updating information on your programs to stay relevant; incorporating location-specific words; creating linkable assets (and making sure all your existing links still work properly); and using meta tags, to name a few.

2. Start Maintaining a Blog

If your organization’s website doesn’t already have a blog or news feature, that’s also a great place to start for a budget-friendly refresh. In this way, you’re spending your limited marketing budget to create additional value on your website. This gives you a way to provide new content to your supporters on a regular basis and highlight different aspects of your work—your projects, your programs, your people. If you decide to do a blog, however, make sure your team has the capacity to update it on a regular basis. That doesn’t have to be weekly, but even once per month or so. Your supporters will enjoy getting a closer look at your organization or information about topics that are relevant to your services.

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3. Redo Your Page Layouts

You may also consider changing the look and feel of your current website. For less than $10k, there can be ways to still update the layouts of your main pages, such as your homepage, volunteer page, donation page, about page, or programs and services pages.

This enables you to highlight new information; make your pages cleaner and more visually appealing; optimize your content for Google’s featured snippets; or accomplish other goals of your website refresh. If you want to make significant changes, a website designer can assist you to ensure an optimized and stunning layout that is easy for users to navigate.

4. Add New Features and Plugins

Other modern features to consider adding to an older website (if you don’t have them) include an event calendar, a contact form, email sign-up forms, videos, strong call-to-action (CTA) buttons, a resource library, or even privacy policies and cookie consent notices that may have been missed up to this point. All of these elements will make your website more streamlined, compliant, and user-friendly.

 Tier III: Major Website Optimization ($20K-$40K)

Some larger nonprofits and businesses, however, have multi-hundred page websites. In this case, it’s beneficial to set aside around $20,000-$40,000 to accomplish a more complex, extensive website optimization project.

Here are a few additional tasks that might be required or preferred at this level:

1. Restructuring Site Navigation

As time passes and your organization evolves, so will the scope of your services and programs, but your website may not always evolve in lock-step. The issue is that this sometimes occurs in a haphazard or casual way, with new additions getting cobbled on until you’re left with a website that may no longer be intuitive for visitors.

A website optimization for a larger website often involves taking a strategic look at your site map, identifying top level (parent) and sub-level (child) pages, creating new page layout wireframes, and then cleaning up the overall structure of your site to make it more intuitive and user-friendly, so supporters can easily get to where they want to go on a path that makes the most sense.

2. Make it Mobile Friendly

More and more, people are using mobile devices to surf the web, look up business information, and complete tasks—like purchasing products, scheduling appointments, or signing up as a volunteer. It’s critical that your website is responsive and works just as well on a mobile phone tablet as it does on a desktop.

3. Address Core Web Vitals and Technical SEO

With a more significant budget, you can dive a little deeper into the technical side of your website, which involves optimizing for core web vitals—such as loading speed, visual stability, and interactivity—as well as technical SEO elements—such as indexation, URL canonicalization, and schema markups . Additionally, a professional web designer can ensure your site is optimized for current accessibility standards and can be automatically translated to different languages for your users.  

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How to Compare Website Designers for Small Businesses and Nonprofits

Many small businesses and nonprofits in Colorado Springs have the in-house capacity to maintain a website and occasionally do minor updates for optimization. However, if you want to do a more significant optimization project or refresh, it’s wise to hire a professional website designer or agency. 

First, many business supervisors and nonprofit directors may know what they want their website to look like or to accomplish, but not exactly how to get it there. A professional web developer will help you understand what options are available in terms of tools, features, and other components. Additionally, they have the resources and industry knowledge to run audits and help you identify technical shortcomings that you might be unaware of, and they’ll give you an estimated price for the work. Depending on what website and marketing funding you have to work with, you can then determine which items to fix in the short term and plan for the future.

A few factors to consider when comparing Colorado Springs web designers for your upcoming web optimization project include their industry expertise, availability, project packages, and past experience. Ideally, you want to hire a company that has experience doing website development for companies in your industry, as they’ll be better acquainted with the market, industry jargon, and target audiences. 

Look at their portfolios and the websites they’ve worked on for other companies and nonprofits and talk to references. Find out what kind of experiences other individuals have had with the web agency. 

Finally, you’ll want to think about price to value. It’s important to remember that website optimization is an investment, and you often get what you pay for. For example, you can find professionals and agencies who will do exactly what you ask and make the edits you request, but not go beyond the bare minimum. Meanwhile, it’s worthwhile to invest a little more to work with a knowledgeable, and caring, professional who can offer valuable insights and suggestions to give you an even better end product.

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Optimization Your Company Website in Colorado Springs

Regular maintenance and periodic updates are a normal part of ensuring your nonprofit or small business website not only functions properly, but also is beautiful, professional, compelling, and relevant. Whether you’re in a place for a comprehensive website redesign or a budget-friendly website optimization project, our team at Third Angle can help. We offer a variety of web services to ensure you and your team puts the organization’s best face forward to drive your mission and make an impact.