Website Quality Assessment Checklist
Google Ad Grants offers incredible marketing opportunities for qualified organizations by providing $10,000 of in-kind advertising funds every month for text ads. The program has driven over 14 billion clicks to nonprofit websites, boosting visibility and reach, donor acquisition and corporate giving opportunities, volunteer recruitment, membership enrollment, and more.
While many organizations recognize the grant’s value, some may find the application process complicated and confusing.
We offer a simple checklist to help your nonprofit evaluate its chances of approval for the grant.
According to the Google Ad Grants Eligibility Policy, to qualify for Google Ad Grants, your organization must:
- Join Google for Nonprofits. Your organization must hold valid charity status in your country. Governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, academic institutions and universities are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits.
- Be approved through the Ad Grants eligibility form.
- Have a high-quality website that meets the Ad Grants website policy.
Let’s start off by assessing your nonprofit’s website compliance with the Google website quality requirements.
1. Domain Ownership
Google requires nonprofits to own their website domain names.
The Who Is records for the domain should clearly list your organization’s name, address and contact information under the registrant information. The domain should not be a subdomain of any third-party service like Wix or SquareSpace (no nonprofitname.wix.org or nonprofitname.squarespace.com domains will be permitted.)
2. Website Security
Google requires nonprofit applicants to have their websites secured with SSL-Certificates.
To verify if your organization’s website has an SSL-certificate installed, you need to look at the organization’s website URL. “If the URL begins with https in the address line, it means that the website is secured with the SSL-certificate. Google Chrome marks sites that don’t have an SSL-certificate in the address line as ‘Not Secure.’
3. Unique, High-quality, Substantial Content
The Google Ad Grants website policy explains that your nonprofit website must have “substantial content” and “Your website’s content must be unique to your organization.”
Google strives to deliver a positive experience to its users. So, poorly-written copy, broken links, outdated or inconsistent branding will not be allowed as it might reflect poorly on Google and negatively affect user engagement.
In order to comply with the Google Ad Grants website policy, your organization’s website should provide “a robust and clear description of [its] organization, mission, and activities”, and have at least a few basic pages. Single-page websites aren’t acceptable. Here is an example of common nonprofit website pages:
4. Positive User Experience
The overall user experience (UX), branding, messaging, and content structure should be cohesive and representative of your organization.
The Google Ad Grants website policy lists a few different rules that directly impact the user experience:
- No broken links: A broken link leads to a page that no longer exists on your website. Every time a page URL is changed or a page is deleted, the users need to be redirected to a new page or give the opportunity to search available content.
- Clear navigation: Users must be able to easily find information they look for with the most important information immediately available at the main navigation bar.
- Clear calls to action elements (CTAs): Users need to be able to clearly understand the purpose and placement of certain elements on the website such as buttons, pop-ups, forms, and etc. These elements, often called CTAs (Click to Action) have a direct impact on your website’s performance on Google Ad Grants.
5. Website Speed
To qualify for the Google Ad Grants, you’ll need to make sure your organization’s website page loading speed is fast. How fast your website should actually load? While Google doesn’t define the exact required page load time, 0-3 seconds is considerate acceptable.
6. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows for tracking user interactions on a website. Google requires Ad Grants participants to install Google Analytics to track ad and website performance. Google Analytics provides helpful insights like:
- Goal reporting. Google requires organizations report at least one meaningful conversion per month. Google Analytics makes setting up and tracking goals such as donations, form submissions, volunteer registrations, event signups effective and easy.
- Web traffic. Google Analytics can provide valuable insights on traffic distribution by channel, device, and geographical location.
- User engagement. Gathering insights such as number of visits to the website per day/week, month, average time that visitors spend on website pages, devices they use to access the website, and etc. can provide a clear understanding of which pages drive results and engage users the most.