Field Guide to Redesigning Association Websites
(Updated March 2016)
Web design has evolved dramatically since the Internet was founded. Is your association website W3 or ADA compliant? Do you use XML? Are your navigation menus logical and user friendly? Is the writing acceptable for the Web? Would a blog or twitter feed work on your site? Have you considered hiring an SEO consultant? Consult the information below for articles and helpful tips to assist in the redesign of your association's website for the 21st century. (A. Scoulas, Information Services Coordinator)
E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO/Find Articles page.
Local, state, and territorial associations of REALTORS®, as a condition of membership in the National Association of REALTORS®, must meet NAR’s Organizational Alignment Core Standards, a section of which relates to technology.
NAR Organizational Alignment - Core Standards FAQs, (National Association of REALTORS®, June 2014). These FAQs are provided to assist local and state REALTOR® association leaders and association executives in understanding the Organizational Alignment Core Standards program and how to comply with its requirements. Periodically, the FAQs will be enhanced and updated to address arising issues and questions. Readers are encouraged to utilize the most recent version of the FAQs. Please refer to Section 9 for the FAQs pertaining to Technology.
Build a Core Standards Compliant Website Webinar, (National Association of REALTORS®, Oct. 2014). Join this "bite-size" webinar as Nobu Hata, NAR's Director of Digital Engagement, creates a Core Standards compliant website for an the LaPorte County Association of REALTORS® in Indiana. Follow his tips to create your own website to comply with NAR's Organizational Alignment Core Standards. 52 min. Download Nobu Hata's presentation from the webinar.
REALTOR® Association Core Standards Technology Compliance Guide, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2014).
To Blog or Not to Blog? (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2013)—Take a look at REALTOR® associations’ blogs from around the country and you might begin to question what a blog is after all and what it should be.
10th Outstanding REALTOR® Association Web Site Contest Winners. (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2012).
Website Accessibility and Your Association, (Associations Now, Mar. 2011)—While association websites are not currently required to meet ADA standards, they soon could be. Being proactive now will mean less frustration and anxiety down the road. And better yet, it could also make for happier members.
Non-Profit Organization Websites: Increasing Donations and Volunteering, (Jakob Nielsen, Nielsen Norman Group, Feb. 16, 2011)—Giving money on charity websites is 7% harder than spending money on e-commerce sites. Donating physical items is even harder. For non-profit websites, social media is secondary; the top priority is to write clearer content.
MLS Public Facing Websites -- Why, or Why Not?, (Realtown, Jan. 26, 2009)—There seems to be a sharp divide over the value/cost of a consumer facing website, but it is something you might want to consider when launching a redesign.
Head Off Website Accessibility Issues, (REALTOR® Magazine, July 2014)—Is your website accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments? Get ahead of the law and implement changes now.
8 Questions to Ask Before You Redesign Your Website, (Forbes, June 24, 2014)—The idea is to assess what your site is doing well, what problems need to be solved, and what other parts of your branding and content strategy could be bolstered in the process.
Forget about the Web: If you’re not putting money into developing your company’s mobile presence, you’re at a competitive disadvantage, (CIO, October 2011)—Today's market leaders are now leveraging the capability of increasingly powerful mobile devices, whether through apps or the mobile Web. E
Mapping Out a Mobile Strategy: Creating Content That Delivers Value On-The-Go, (EContent, Mar. 2011)—Designing suitable content for an increasingly diverse array of devices and platforms requires a comprehensive upfront strategy that brings together delivery and context to create more value for the user. E
Fresh vs. Familiar: How Aggressively to Redesign, (Jakob Nielsen, Nielsen Norman Group, Sept. 2009)—Users hate change, so it's usually best to stay with a familiar design and evolve it gradually. In the long run, however, incrementalism eventually destroys cohesiveness, calling for a new UI architecture.
A Website Redesign Owner's Manual, (Online, Sept./Oct. 2009)—Fifteen do's and don'ts of beginning a website redesign project are presented. E
Web Site Redo, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2007)—Here’s what to look for in a development company when it’s time to overhaul your association’s website.
Writing for the Web
Nielsen Norman Group: UX Training, Consulting, & Research – Offering articles, reports, training, consulting, and a weekly newsletter.
Rutgers University’s Writing for the Web Guide, (Rutgers University, 2013)—Dos and don’ts for writing for the Web.
Writing Correct Website Content: A Guide to Grammar, Punctuation and Vocabulary, (eBizWebpages.com, n.d.)—Covers the basics of English grammar, punctuation, spellin,g and common mistakes.
Writing for the web — The Nielsen Norman Group’s collection of studies on how people read webpages and how you can write most effectively. Includes outside sources and suggestions for further reading.
E-Mail newsletter success story, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2007).
Ten Ways to Foster Better Online Writing, (Online, May 2005). Q
DevGuru.com—A reference source for all those acronyms developers like to scatter around like bread crumbs to ducks.
HTML Goodies, (Jupiter Media)—Site with tips, guides and reference sets for new and growing web developers. Arranged in sections from a completely non-technical concept intros all the way through to keyword references.
W3c World Wide Web Consortium—The international web standards consortium.
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site (Adobe eReader)
Building a Web Site for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Website (Adobe eReader)
How to Say It® Marketing with New Media (Adobe eReader)
Maintaining and Evolving Successful Commercial Web Sites (Adobe eReader)
Nonprofit Internet Strategies (Adobe eReader)
Put Your Business Online (Adobe eReader)
Web Copy that Sells (Adobe eReader)
Web Design: A Beginner's Guide (Adobe eReader)
WordPress for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.
Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, (Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2006). HF 5548.5 K78
Web site fundamentals: an ASAE background kit, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2003). HF 5548 Am3ws
Hot text: web writing that works, (Indianapolis, IN: New Riders, 2002). Z 253 P93
HTML & web design tips and techniques, (Berkeley, CA: Osborne/McGraw Hill, 2002). HF 5548 J22
Executive's guide to Internet law, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2001). HF 294 M61
Field Guides & More
These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:
Have an Idea for a New Field Guide?
Click here to send us your suggestions.
The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.