User Flow

Keeping someone on your website longer can lead to increased donations due to factors such as building an emotional connection, increasing trust and credibility, educating visitors about the need, providing opportunities for calls to action, and engaging visitors through personalization. Donors give to people they know, stories of changed lives, and to a compelling vision for the future.

Now the challenge is to present those things in a compelling way that captivates the attention of your potential donor.  The extended engagement on your website allows visitors to develop a deeper understanding of and connection to your cause.  As a result, it will often increase their willingness to support it financially.

Building Emotional Connection:

When visitors spend more time on a website, they have the opportunity to learn more about the organization’s mission, goals, and impact.[1] This extended engagement allows them to develop a deeper emotional connection to the cause, and it will often increase their willingness to support your nonprofit financially.

Increased Trust and Credibility:

By providing relevant and informative content, a website can establish itself as a credible source of information.[2] As visitors spend more time exploring the website and reading stories of the impact of your organization, they develop trust in the organization’s mission and they begin to trust that their donation will be used effectively. This trust can result in a higher likelihood of making a donation.

Educating about the Need:

Websites can use extended visitor engagement to educate visitors about the urgency and importance of the issue they are addressing. [3] Sharing stories, infographics, and compelling pictures can effectively convey the need for support. The more time visitors spend consuming this content, the better they understand the impact of their donation, which can inspire them to contribute.

Opportunities for Calls to Action:

A longer visit duration provides more opportunities to present calls to action strategically throughout the website. [4] By guiding visitors to donation pages, providing detailed information on how to contribute and the benefits of doing so, websites can prompt potential donors to take action and make a donation while they are motivated and engaged.

Engagement through Personalization:

Personalizing the website experience based on visitor behavior and interests can increase engagement and donation conversion rates.[5] By tracking visitor interactions and preferences, websites can offer tailored content, recommend relevant resources, and provide targeted donation suggestions, ultimately fostering a stronger connection and inspiring donations.

It’s important to note that while keeping visitors on a website longer can increase the potential for donations, the quality and relevance of the content play a crucial role. Information should be presented in a clear, compelling, and accessible manner to maximize engagement and encourage conversion.

Understanding User Flow

If you want to keep visitors on your website, you’ll discover that it’s a bit of a balancing act.

You want to present information that is dynamic and engaging.  You also don’t want to overdo it so your site seems overwhelming or cluttered.  Balancing content and usability is a process often referred to as “user flow.”

User flow refers to the path that a user takes while navigating through a website. It encompasses the series of steps a user follows from their entry point on the website, through various pages or screens, and ultimately to their desired action or goal (usually to make a donation or volunteer).

User flow is designed to provide a seamless and intuitive experience for users. It involves understanding their needs, expectations, and motivations, and designing the navigation and layout of the website or application accordingly.

Key Elements of User Flow Include:

Entry Point:

This is where users land on a website.  It is typically the homepage or a specific landing page. A home page is the front page of a website that serves as the main entry point for users. It typically provides an overview of the website’s features, content, and navigation options. A home page is designed to appeal to a broad audience and provide a general overview of the website’s purpose or mission.

On the other hand, a landing page is designed to receive users from a specific fundraising campaign, with the goal of converting them into donors or engaging them in a specific action. Unlike the home page, a landing page is highly focused and specialized, with a single call-to-action (CTA) that prompts users to act. The design and content of a landing page are tailored to the user’s specific needs and interests, with a clear and compelling CTA that drives them towards a specific goal.

It’s crucial to make a positive first impression and provide clear direction to guide users towards their desired goal.


Users should be able to easily navigate through different pages or screens to find the information they are looking for or access specific features. Clear and intuitive navigation menus, breadcrumbs, search functionality, and links provide guidance and help users move through the website or application.

Content Flow:

The organization and structure of content influence user flow. Content should be presented in a logical and easily scannable manner, with headings, subheadings, bullet points, and visuals to aid comprehension. Users should be guided through a sequential flow of information, drawing their attention to the most important details.

Calls to Action:

User flow often includes calls to action (CTAs) strategically placed throughout the website or application. CTAs prompt users to perform specific actions, such as signing up for a newsletter, making a donation, or completing a purchase. Well-designed and compelling CTAs help guide users towards their goals and facilitate conversions.

Goal Completion:

User flow guides users towards their desired action or goal, whether it’s submitting a form, making a purchase, or accessing specific content. It should minimize friction and obstacles, making it easy for users to accomplish their objectives.

Value of Understanding User Flow

Understanding user flow helps optimize the user experience by identifying bottlenecks, improving navigation, and streamlining the path to conversion. It involves tracking user behavior, conducting user testing, and iteratively refining the design to enhance the flow and achieve better user engagement and satisfaction.

You don’t want visitors to lose interest until they schedule an appointment or purchase a product.  You want to make every effort to guide a customer on such a compelling journey through your site that they want to spend more time taking in all you have to offer.

Don’t Give People Too Many Choices

Have you ever been to a restaurant to offered a few too many good things to choose from on their menu.  Too many good options all at once make it nearly impossible to decide!  When I visit a restaurant, I want to have enough good choices to keep my interest, but not so many choices that I suffer from paralysis by analysis.

Your website should follow the same principle.  If you give people too many options all at one time, they will feel overwhelmed and click away.  Give them just a few options at a time and guide them through the journey.

The answer isn’t less content.  In fact, some studies are showing that you need to add at least 2 posts per month on your blog and the best results often are found between 10-16 posts per month.  That’s a lot of content!  However, without a good “user flow,” a visitor can easily get lost in your content.

So here are 3 tweaks you can make to your site to help organize your pages and to create a good “user flow.”

3 Keys for Good User Flow

Tap into the Psychology of Internet Browsing

Ok, the psychology here is be simpler than it seems.  Take a minute to think about why a user might stop and read a page.  Something drew them there and a clean layout will help keep them there.

Simply put, write interesting headlines that help draw a reader’s eye down the page and that re-engages them as they read.  A site with good user flow continually draws the reader from one section to the next.

Need help writing good headlines?  Here are 2 tools:

  • has a headline writing feature using AI technology
  • Answer the Public is a website where is shows you the questions people commonly ask the internet related to your topic.

Then use front-facing pictures that feature interesting people.  For example, a smiling Peace Corps worker is more engaging than a picture of the truck that got the worker to the location they are serving in.  Make the site uncluttered and easy to read.

Then use social proof to your advantage.  Testimonies of enthusiastic donors are really compelling.  Add testimonies onto your pages and posts.  Happy donors help to inspire trust in those who are coming to you for the first time.

Drive Action Forward

Keep people clicking.  You can’t get someone to click to donate or volunteer until you get them clicking on your site.  Once they start clicking, they are more likely to continue clicking.

Always give your user the next step you want them to take.  Don’t lead them to a dead end.  Good user-flow means that every page should lead to the next.  Keep your visitors engaged by giving them a teaser for another article on every page.

Website readers enjoy reading posts that are simple and easy to understand.  When you offer a next step to take, it’s not confusing to the reader where they should go next.  If you use a button to lead them to the next step, some studies are now suggesting that red buttons attract more clicks than, say, green buttons do.

Use Widgets Effectively

Word Press offers a huge array of widgets that help with everything from navigation to embedding YouTube videos to posting advertisements.  Utilizing widgets, you can make useful footers, you can update areas throughout the site, or you can promote a latest article site-wide with just a few clicks

Widgets Done Well

Using widgets correctly can enhance the user experience and provide valuable functionality to a website. Here are some guidelines on how to use widgets effectively:

Relevance and Purpose:

Choose widgets that align with the goals and content of your website. Each widget should serve a specific purpose and provide value to users in relation to the context of the website. Prioritize widgets that enhance usability, facilitate tasks, or improve user engagement.

For example, let’s say you come across a widget that displays the weather.

  • Ask yourself if it will help you or hurt you if you tell people what the weather is like at your office. Probably the weather in your office will not drive donations.
  • On the other hand, telling people what the weather is like in a developing nation who needs a water filtration plant during a heatwave could be really helpful.

Use widgets sparingly to avoid overwhelming the user interface. Select only the most essential and valuable widgets that add value to the user experience. Avoid overloading the page with excessive widgets, as it can lead to clutter and confusion.

Placement and Design:

Strategically position widgets in a way that is visually appealing and doesn’t distract from the main content. For example, a widget showing them your Facebook page content could lead a visitor to be distracted and visit your Facebook page.  Does that distraction help or hinder your user flow?

Consider the layout and hierarchy of your website to determine where widgets fit best. Use intuitive and consistent design patterns to help users quickly understand the purpose and functionality of each widget.

User-Friendly Interactions:

Design widgets with ease of use in mind. Ensure that they have clear instructions and provide feedback to users when they interact with the widget. Make sure that widgets are intuitive and don’t require extensive user guidance or learning.

Mobile Responsiveness:

Ensure that widgets are mobile responsive and adapt to different screen sizes. Test the usability and functionality of widgets on various devices to provide a seamless experience for all users, regardless of the device they are using.

Performance Optimization:

Be mindful of the impact widgets can have on website performance. Consider the size and loading speed of widgets and optimize them to minimize their impact on page load time. Use lazy loading techniques or asynchronous loading to improve performance and user experience.

Run your site through on a regular basis.  Make sure that none of your widgets are keeping your site from loading quickly.

By following these guidelines, you can use widgets effectively to enhance the user experience, provide valuable functionalities, and achieve your website’s goals. Remember to prioritize simplicity, usability, and relevance to ensure that widgets contribute positively to the overall user experience of your website.

Widgets Done Wrong

On the other hand, using widgets poorly can have a significant negative impact on the user experience and the effectiveness of a website.

Here are a few ways in which widgets can be used poorly:

Overloading the Page:

Placing too many widgets on a page can overwhelm users and distract them from the main content or purpose of the website. Excessive use of widgets leads to cluttered and chaotic design, making it difficult for users to focus and navigate.

Lack of Relevance:

Using widgets that are irrelevant to the website’s content or goals can confuse users and diminish their trust in the website. Each widget should serve a specific purpose and provide value to users in relation to the context and content of the website.

Disruptive Behavior:

Poorly implemented widgets can be intrusive and disrupt the user’s browsing experience. For example, widgets that constantly animate, autoplay videos with sound, or display pop-ups can be annoying and frustrating for users. These disruptive behaviors can drive users away from the website and decrease their engagement.

Poor Usability and Accessibility:

Widgets should be designed with usability and accessibility in mind. Using widgets that are difficult to interact with or are not accessible to users with disabilities can limit the accessibility and inclusivity of the website, alienating a portion of the audience.

To avoid using widgets poorly, it is important to carefully consider their relevance, usability, and impact on the overall user experience. Prioritize simplicity, relevance, and user-centered design when incorporating widgets into a website, ensuring they enhance the user experience rather than detract from it. Regularly evaluate the performance and user feedback to identify and address any issues caused by the use of widgets.

Learn User Flow as You Go

If website visitors are frequently bouncing off your front page, it is an indication that there is an issue with the user experience, the user flow, or the content of your website. Here are some steps you can take to resolve the issue:

Analyze Traffic Metrics:

You should always install a tool to measure your traffic and analytics.  We like these 3 free tools:

Check your website analytics to understand your website’s traffic patterns and identify specific pages or sections that have high bounce rates. Analyze user behavior, such as time on page, click-through rate, and conversion rate, to pinpoint the root cause of high bounce rates.

Check for Usability Issues:

Evaluate the usability and accessibility of your front page through user testing or usability testing.  Microsoft Clarity will take recordings of a user’s session.  As you replay those recordings, you can see if a user is struggling to navigate your site.

Identify any issues that may be hindering the user experience, such as confusing navigation, poor design, or slow loading times. Address these issues as quickly as possible to improve the user experience.

Make the Content More Relevant:

Try to better align the content on your front page with your target audience’s needs. Understand their pain points, preferences, and motivations to create content that resonates with them. Ensure that your headlines, text, and visuals are clear, concise, and engaging.

Try using and simply answer a few questions in a blog post that people commonly type into a Google search.

Improve Website Speed:

Website speed has a significant impact on user engagement and bounce rates. Optimize your website’s loading speed by compressing images, minimizing HTTP requests, and reducing file sizes. You can also use tools such as GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to identify performance issues and improve website speed.

Provide a Clear Call to Action:

Provide clear calls-to-action that encourage users to engage with your website and take the next step in their customer journey. Ensure that your calls-to-action are prominently displayed, visually appealing, and effectively communicate the benefits of your products or services.


By following these steps, you can make improvements to your website that will reduce bounce rates and improve the user experience. Remember to monitor your website analytics and continue to optimize your website to meet the evolving needs of your visitors over time.

Keep Trying!

At the end of the day, if you only see visitors visiting 1 or 2 pages, don’t panic.  A lot of nonprofit websites have user flow issues. That is normal.  But you want to be better than normal!  As you address these issues, you will stand out from the crowd.  You can start to battle bad user flow through excellent content, excellent navigation, eye-catching layout and reduction of unnecessary clutter.



[1] Forbes. “How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media To Increase Donations And Boost Visibility.”

[2] Harvard Business Review. “How Nonprofits Can Encourage Donors to Give More.”

[3] Forbes. “How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media To Increase Donations And Boost Visibility.”

[4] Forbes. “How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media To Increase Donations And Boost Visibility.”

[5] Nielsen Norman Group. “Non-Profit Organization Websites: Increasing Donations & Volunteering.”

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