Be Like Water

Effective, custom web design and development for nonprofits.


I have a lot to say about building nonprofit websites. I try to write about it here. Entries can be filtered by topic, like Design, Communications and Usability. Or if you're waiting for that meeting to start and are looking for ways to improve your nonprofit's website, have a look at entries you can read in four minutes.


Meet Your Host - Mike Mella

On a recent episode of the Website 101 Podcast, Sean interviews me about how I got started in web design and development.

1 minute to read DropletsUsability

Season 4 of the Website 101 Podcast

Season 4 of the Website 101 Podcast is on its way!

1 minute to read CommunicationsDesignDroplets

The Website 101 Podcast: Minimal Viable Product

Did you know that I co-host a podcast for website owners with Sean Smith of Caffeine Creations called the Website 101 Podcast? Episode 7 of season 2 has just been released!

1 minute to read CommunicationsDesignDropletsUsability

20 Years on the Web!

This year marks an amazing milestone for me: I started building websites 20 years ago!

2 minutes to read CommunicationsDropletsUsability

Make your content more meaningful to the Web

When an article from your nonprofit's website is shared on Twitter or Facebook, what does it look like? How about when your website appears in Google search results? If you'd like to improve that, you probably can.

5 minutes to read DropletsUsability

Eight common user experience problems (and solutions) for nonprofit websites: Part two

In this article, I'll talk about some of the most common user experience mistakes made by nonprofits and how to fix them. This is Part Two of a two-part article.

5 minutes to read DropletsUsability

Eight common user experience problems (and solutions) for nonprofit websites: Part one

In this article, I'll talk about some of the most common user experience mistakes made by nonprofits and how to fix them. This is Part One of a two-part article.

2 minutes to read CommunicationsDroplets

Use social media to promote your website, not replace it.

You’re probably well aware of the affect that social media platforms can have on your nonprofit, so you probably have accounts on many of them. But are you using social media to enhance your Web presence, or are you just spreading yourself thin?

4 minutes to read DropletsUsability

How usability testing can help your nonprofit

Did you know that performing regular usability testing can continue to help your nonprofit website long after the launch? In this Droplet article, I'll show you how to do usability testing, and why you should.

3 minutes to read CommunicationsDroplets

Do you have a backup solution?

Do you have a backup solution in place for your nonprofit website? If your website suddenly disappears, would you have a copy of all your content? There are many reasons this could happen, and if it does, you need to have a strategy for handling it. The first part of that strategy is having a system in place that creates backups of all your website data on a regular basis.

2 minutes to read CommunicationsDroplets

Simplify Google Analytics

Gardener: "I planted tomatoes this year!" Friend: "Oh yeah? How are they growing?" Gardener: "I have no idea. I never look at my garden." Silly, right? But are you making the same mistake with visitor tracking on your website?

2 minutes to read CommunicationsDroplets

Is your website actually helping your organization?

Are you sure your website is actually helping your organization? How do you know? Sure, you can probably find out how many people are visiting your website, but bringing people to your website is not your website's job.

3 minutes to read CommunicationsDesignDropletsUsability

Is your website secure?

Is there a padlock icon to the left of your website URL? No? That's a problem. Find out how I can help protect your website, protect your visitors' information, and even make Google like you more with SSL.

2 minutes to read CommunicationsDesignUsability

Am I human? None of your business.

Are you using any kind of Captcha verification on your forms? Captcha is that test that checks if the submitter is “human.” Whatever your method you’re using to make your visitors prove they're human, stop it.

10 minutes to read Design

Interview with Nonprofit Website Review

Nonprofit Website Review is a free monthly multimedia publication in magazine format that provides website design and development information from leading website designers and developers in the nonprofit field. Paul Harvey and John Quinn were kind enough to invite me to be interviewed for the publication. Check it out!

1 minute to read Communications

I’m not a ninja, rockstar, or guru. I’m a Web Professional.

Are you looking for a Web rockstar? Or perhaps an HTML ninja? How about a user experience guru or a digital geek or a social media nerd? Well keep looking.

10 minutes to read DesignUsability

Screencast: How to use the Templates button in Wygwam for ExpressionEngine

Here's a video tutorial on how to use the Content Templates feature in ExpressionEngine's Wygwam add-on.

3 minutes to read Usability

Should external links open in a new tab or not?

I am often asked by clients whether the external links in their websites should open in a new tab (or window) by default, so I'll set the record straight here.

2 minutes to read Design

Content Audit Resources: Sitemap Generators and Link Checkers

There are many online services that will scan your website and list all your broken links, and some also map your website's pages so you can get an overview of your information architecture. Here are some online resources that can help with this.

4 minutes to read CommunicationsDesign

5 reasons you should stop fighting over your nonprofit’s home page

In my latest post on the Nonprofit MarCommunity, I provide 5 reasons you should stop fighting over your nonprofit's home page.

4 minutes to read Design

How to brief a web designer/developer

I wrote this post for the Nonprofit MarCommunity about how to brief a web designer or developer.

5 minutes to read DesignUsability

How to decide between rebuilding, redesigning or refreshing your nonprofit’s website

The Web changes fast. Every day there are new tools released that can help with your nonprofit’s Web presence. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine the best approach to giving your website an overhaul.

4 minutes to read CommunicationsDesignUsability

Why you shouldn’t say “click here”

Is your website riddled with the phrase “click here”? I’m amazed at how often I still see this phrase used as a link label. Using “click here” to identify links is a very bad idea. Here's why...