The difference between a successful and failed membership website launch is preparation and testing. Taking these 5 steps will ensure your members’ first impressions are great.
Members may call you with questions about the new website and membership system, so do a walk through and see what the members will see. Request a password, login to the account and set up a profile. Use a regular member’s profile for this and not your administrative profile. You can always delete the profile later.
Go through the menu and make sure the navigation works. Also, click on any links or buttons you have on the website to make sure they take you to the right page. This is a great time to sign in to a member’s only page as well.
Use the common browsers that your members and visitors will use – check your website using Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, in particular Internet Explorer 8. Older browsers like Internet Explorer 8, which is still commonly in use, may have compatibility issues with some new websites.
Test the Membership Signup Process
The last thing you want is for potential new members to have trouble joining your organization. That’s why it’s important to test the system before your launch.
If you’re taking credit card payments online you should sign up for a paid account to verify that your payment system has been properly activated and integrated. Once you complete the process you can always refund the payment.
Check Your Event System
Register for an event so you have an understanding of what your event guests will experience. If you have paid tickets try purchasing one and then refund your purchase.
You should also try submitting an event as a member if your organization allows for member event submissions. That way you will be able to walk your members through the process.
To experience what your guests will experience you should use a different browser than the one where you are signed in as the administrator.
Create Sample Member Directory Profiles
Have a sample directory profile created to show members how a completed profile will represent them. If you have different profile options for different membership levels you should have a sample of each.
Gear Your Launch Announcement to Your Membership
You’ve spent a lot of time and effort getting your new website ready for launch. You may want to toot your own horn about all the great new features your new website offers. Be careful not to overwhelm your members with too many details about your new website.
Gear your new website announcements towards the features that will most benefit your members. You members will be more excited about your new website if they can clearly see how it will benefit them.