Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Your Website as a Hub for Your Members: NAEDA Case Study

As you may know, I’ve been writing and posting a daily blog called SCDdaily … three posts have focused on the importance of websites:
Researching a project, I happened to visit the North American Equipment Dealers (NAEDA) website. Wow! Here’s an association that “gets” content management and the power of the website as a hub for association communications and association members. As an FYI, NAEDA has five staff so it shows that smaller associations can do this. NAEDA does not have individual members as it is a federation of state/regional associations.

An older version of the NAEDA website (left) and the updated NAEDA website (right). [Note: the red highlights are those of this blogger]:

 Note that the old site is focused on NAEDA (e.g.: “What’s New at NAEDA) not its members.
Here are some key points about the new NAEDA site:

The new version seems more focused in these areas:

The robust main (center) section contains:

  • Breaking news
  • Industry news
  • Lobbying news
  • Association news
  • CEO’s blog
  • Featured videos

The left tab section contains:

  • Link to blog
  • Link to online newsletter
  • Save the date (for events)
  • Reader requests
  • Industry trends
  • Member benefits
  • Magazine (with sample pages)

As you dig in to this site, you’ll find multiple places offering members an opportunity to engage with their association including offering comments, asking questions, registering for events, etc.

Here is my online interview with Paul Kindinger, NAEDA’s President and CEO:

1. How often is it updated? – The objective is to update every business day. We also make every attempt to limit how long any article appears on the site. In addition, the way the site is constructed, we can simply capture articles from the website and direct them to other publications like our e-newsletter that is published twice each month.

2. Who is responsible for the website and the updates? – Every staff member is asked to provide content. In addition, we are each trained to upload that content directly. Typically if anyone has a question about the appropriateness of a particular topic or article they will run it past me for final approval.

3. What metrics do you track: unique visitors, number of page views, etc.? – We certainly track the items you mentioned, plus we track how long each visitor stays on the site (the stickiness) and how long they view each page, etc. We have been told by people who track these types of things for a living, that we are quite unique and evidently in pretty good company when it comes to some of our metrics. The reason they say that is when people visit the site, they typically stay longer than most and we can tell they are reading certain information based on the page hits and time they remain on that page.

4. What is the feedback from your members? –Like anything else associations do we have some who love it and some who think it’s a waste of time. Having said that – the vast majority of feedback has been very positive. Our objective when we did the revisions and made a greater commitment to the site was to have people visit it daily or even have it be their home page. I’m not convinced we are there yet, but the typical feedback suggests that people feel it is informative and has the type of information about the industry they are looking for and all in one spot. So, we are close to our objective.

5. Do you have a “mobile” version? If so, what is the link? If not, do you plan to create a mobile version in the near future? –We don’t have one yet, but certainly want to in the near future. Everything seems to be going to mobile apps and our industry is no different!

6. What else you can offer than would help associations looking at their website? —Two things – We worked very hard and took our time in designing the site to fit what we and our members wanted it to accomplish. We had an internal team that really spearheaded the project, but kept the rest of us very informed and engaged in the process. There were several meetings where we went over the details of each function and page. In many respects it is still a work in progress, although the architecture of the site has worked well. Secondly, a big question we had to answer up front was – how do we feed the monster? It is no small commitment to make sure the information is relevant and fresh. Given our objective it was essential that the site looked good and was “fresh”. The old website was very stale and stagnant. We wanted something different and dynamic and I think we came close!

What do you think about the NAEDA website? What changes or improvements would you suggest?

If you would like a review of your association website, email me at

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