Nonprofit Website Best Practices Because Google Ad Grants Take Your Website Seriously
Google doesn’t fool around when it comes to delivering quality search results. So Google Ad Grants takes your website pretty seriously. If your nonprofit qualifies for the $10,000 a month in free Google advertising that the grants provide, Google wants to make sure that your ads are driving people to a useful and well-maintained website – as opposed to one that’s just driving them crazy.
(Admit it, you’ve seen nonprofit sites that do more of the latter.)
That’s why we’re chatting all about nonprofit website best practices so you can create a website that Google (and readers!) love.
What is Google’s Main Goal?
A lot of the time, whether we’re talking about SEO for nonprofits or Google Ad Grants, it can feel like we just have to beg the Google powers that be to rank our nonprofits in the search results.
That might be because we don’t have a good understanding of what Google’s trying to do with its search results.
So, what is their goal? What are they trying to achieve when they showcase the top 10 search results?
It’s super simple. They’re trying to give their users the best possible experience. And by users, we mean the searcher, not the one hoping to be seen.
Because Google makes its money when people use the search engine to find information.
If we keep that in mind, knowing what to do for our site becomes much easier. Because we always know the end goal is to keep the searcher top of mind. What do they need? What answers are they looking for?
Always keep that in the back of your mind as you nail these nonprofit website best practices!
Here Are Some Tips for Keeping the Google Ad Grants Gods Happy with Your Online Presence:
- Be sure that when people click on your Google ad, it directs them to a domain that your organization owns rather than a page owned by a third party like an outside donation portal or ticket seller.
- So rather than your website being, “www.nonprofitorganization.wordpress.com,” it should be, “www.nonprofitorganization.com”
- Be sure users get a quality experience when they’re on your site. In approving (or rejecting) an ad grant, Google typically looks for:
- Easy navigation,
- A clear description of your organization, mission, and activities,
- Fresh, relevant content,
- And up-to-date events listings and other time-sensitive content.
- Be sure the web experience is streamlined and everything works as it should. Things to fix if needed include:
- Broken links,
- Load speed – it should be under five seconds,
- And HTTPS – this, rather than HTTP, ensures data is secure and protected.
- Be sure to be transparent about how commercial activities like selling products or services, offering consultations, generating leads, etc. allow your nonprofit to serve the public.
- Be sure to limit on-site ads, keep them relevant to your mission and keep them small and unobtrusive.
Google Ad Grants are intended to help your nonprofit better meet your mission, so it sets rules that help you along by ensuring your web experience best supports that mission and engages folks who get to it by way of a Google ad.
6 Nonprofit Website Best Practices to Make Google Ad Grants Happy:
And while these tips talk about the things Google looks for, we haven’t mentioned how to make sure your nonprofit website meets them!
Keep Your Potential Supporters in Mind:
Google, no matter whether you’re focusing on SEO rankings or you’re focusing on Google Ads, cares about giving its users the answers to their questions.
So one of the best things you can do is make sure that you keep their needs in mind. On your nonprofit website pages, include the answers they’re seeking.
On your home page, about page, and even on your donate page, include information about your nonprofit. Discuss (even briefly!) what you do, the cause you serve, and how you do it.
Don’t Neglect Your Nonprofit Website:
When it comes to nonprofit website best practices, it’s important to make your site a priority.
This is especially true if you’re trying to land that coveted $10,000 per month in Google Ad Grants.
Google wants to show nonprofit websites that stay up-to-date with relevant, engaging content.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to have a blog. Nor do you have to change up the content on your nonprofit site every month.
But what Google doesn’t want to see is a nonprofit website that hasn’t been updated in years.
So, be sure to keep your nonprofit website updated with progress updates. Share new campaigns or projects you’re working on. Showcase volunteers, events, and work in the field you’re doing.
Even blocking time just once a quarter can be beneficial for nonprofit website best practices!
Don’t Overthink Your Nonprofit Website Design:
When you overthink your nonprofit website design, you run the risk of packing it with too much “stuff.”
And when there’s too much stuff, it detracts from your reader’s experience. As we know, that’s the number one main goal Google has when they showcase the top 10 search results.
So, keep your nonprofit website design as simple as possible (while still making sure it’s engaging).
Here are a couple of tips to help you do that:
Use Videos and Photos Where Necessary, Instead of Cramming Them In Everywhere:
We know that photos and nonprofit videos are great for creating an engaging experience for potential supporters.
But, there’s a fine line between engaging and just too much. Have a handful of photos or nonprofit videos strategically placed on your nonprofit website pages. Make sure they pertain to the information you’re giving.
But resist the temptation to bog down your pages with too much visual content. That can cause endless scrolling. Not to mention, it can slow down your nonprofit website, which Google doesn’t like at all!
Keep Navigation Simple:
Your potential donors should be able to figure out where to go quickly and easily. That means your nonprofit site should have an easy-to-read and easy-to-see navigation bar at the top of your screen. All of the most important website pages should be included in this main navigation bar!
You can also have a secondary navigation bar at the bottom of your website pages! That’s the perfect place to include your privacy policies, website terms and conditions, and similar pages.
Google doesn’t want any websites that potentially mislead readers. So always be transparent with the information on your website!
This is also great because more and more donors value transparency. They love to know where their dollars are going and how they’re helping the cause!
So throughout your site, especially in the areas where you “make the ask,” be sure to inform them where their money goes.
You can also inform them of where the proceeds go within your organization when they purchase merchandise.
Make Your Nonprofit Website Mobile-Friendly:
This is one of the most important tasks on our list of nonprofit website best practices.
More and more people are making their donations online via their mobile devices. That includes smartphones and tablets!
So the best thing you can do (and Google really wants you to do this, too) is make sure your nonprofit site and your online donation pages are responsive.
There are so many website design templates you can use that automatically do this for you! Or if you have a website developer on your team, they can ensure it’s done, too.
And to check that your nonprofit website is responsive and mobile-friendly? Simply pull out your smartphone and go to the site! If you can see everything correctly, then you know it’s mobile-responsive.
Secure Your Nonprofit Website:
Google doesn’t want to send any of its users to a website that could potentially cause problems.
And because nonprofits often collect data, either email addresses or even personal payment information for donations, these organizations need to take responsibility for that data!
You can make sure your website is secure by using some of the top cybersecurity technology for nonprofits. You’ll have peace of mind, and so will your donors!
Google Ad Grant takes your website pretty seriously, so take advantage by following the rules to keep your Google Ad Grant money flowing.
All the best,
– Your friends at NonprofitLibrary
Ps. For more on getting and making the best of Google Ad Grants, take a look at or demo from ConnectAd “How To Take Full Advantage Of $10K/Month In FREE Google Advertising With The All-In-One Google Grants Service“