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Today’s guest blog post covers some of the large buckets of activity a webmaster or owner of any given non-profit website needs to consider.  If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, check out www.Godvertiser.com/guestblogger

If you are working for a non-profit organization you need something that will help bring new visitors to your front door on the web. The “traffic generating wheel” is one way to help get new traffic to your website.
So are you ready? Let’s spin the wheel for your non-profit site. . .
church-marketing-wheel

Goals

To have a goal for your website might be the most import step on the wheel: Why do you have this website — very specficially?
For a non-profit website it is even more important. You don’t have a website because you think your group is cute or funny or interesting. What is your real goal? What is the most important goal?
Maybe to get more members for your organization? Sign up for a newsletter? Sign up for an event?  Volunteer recruiting? Donor development? Define which is your top priority and the rest will start to fall into place.

Analytics

A lot of organizations forget about this step. But you shouldn’t start to do anything before you have your analytics on your website.
You need to know where your viewers are coming from. What are they reading on your pages?
If 80 percent of all the readers consistently visit a specific page on your site – you might have to make that a first priority on your site.
If your goal is signups for a newsletter – you will need to know which traffic source brought the people to your site – so you can start speeding up this process.  Are they all coming from Facebook? Or Google+? Or Twitter? Why spend 10 hours a week doing marketing on Facebook if all your sign ups comes from Twitter, right?
You will also need analytics to find your keywords for your pages. Which keywords did your viewers type in Google to find your site?
Which keywords are relevant for your site? Sit down and brainstorm this – and then go and check if the competition comes up for these keywords. If the competition is high you might have difficulties to get into top 10 for these particular keyword phrases.
So instead of “donation” you should maybe optimize for the keyword phrase “good donation” or “cat donation”. Normally its easier to get into top 10 for a keyword phrase than just one word keyword — called a long tail search.
Well you get my point – never work on a website that has no analytics.

Content

Some people start to write before the analysis is done – but that is not a great idea. You will need to write your content to match your keywords being targeted.
So before writing a page on your website – you should write down what the main keyword phrase for each page should be.
You might ask me – “Henrik – how can my content drive traffic to my site today?” Well it will not bring you traffic today or tomorrow – but if you write focused content that the search engines can tell represents the right keywords phrases, you will usually get traffic within 3 or 6 months.
You also need content for your article marketing and for input to the social networks.  So start writing strategically and you are on your way.

Design

Ready for design?
The design can actually be very important for your traffic generating too. It might not bring traffic to your site, but it will lower your bounce rate (we SEO guys love this — the rate at which visitors arrive and then “bounce” away to someone else’s site) and if your site is awesome they will return to your
site.
So don’t confuse the viewer. Make sure your navigation is clear and clean. If people have to wonder where to find your content – they will just leave and find another page.  User testing is a great way to ensure you are getting it right.
And if you don’t believe me check out the duration – the time – people spend on your site. I will guess that between 25 – 40 percent of the people will leave your site again before 10 seconds.
Design is important for both non-profit and profit organizations.

Social

Now here most non-profit organizations have the potential to really rock.
Typically the organizations that do social media well have a lot of members. So now you will have to really use this marketing channel. A typical Facebook user has around 190 friends – so if one of your members starts to write about a subject, 190 people read about it.
This is the modern day form of word of mouth method.
Last time I checked Facebook they had 845 million accounts. In the world there are around 7,000 million people – so 12 percent of all people in the world have a Facebook account. Impressive I will say.
Social media is the step on the wheel where non-profit organizations really can make a difference.  Compelling content about your audience, staff, etc can really help leverage the word of mouth power available.

Links

Just some few years ago backlinks counted for around 50 percent of the ranking algorithm. But the algorithm is constantly changing and the social media are also more important these days. So maybe the backlinks now only count for around 40 percent, or 30 percent, or 25 percent.
But even 25 percent is a lot.
So you will have to make a plan for getting backlinks. Let me just give you some ideas here. But start writing down a plan.  Here are some tactics to consider including in your plan:
  • Blogs – start a blog
  • Free linking – use Google Groups, Yahoo Answers, Squidoo page, Wikipedia (write a page about your organization with a link back), social bookmarking
  • Freebies and giveaways – make a contest, make something interactive on your page or a whitepaper.
  • List lovers – we are all list lovers so write a “Top 10 …” or a “How to ….”, Build a 99 list, a list with 10 myths for your category, do an interview with a specialist or a guru in your line of business/organization
  • Local links – get a link from your local chamber of commerce (if its really want), relevant city and state governmental site, local library website…
  • Signature in emails – If you have many volunteers make sure you have the link in all the mails.
But remember to start writing down an action plan.  Plan the work and work the plan.

Conclusion

The traffic generating wheel is a helpful framework for all organizations. The idea is that if you just start trying to get backlinks to your site – but your design/navigation is so bad – people will just leave your site quickly again. And if you haven’t got a goal for your site – why do you really need backlinks at all? — Get the point?
So good luck with the traffic generation wheel. Ready? Now it’s your turn to take a spin.
All the best to you
Henrick Sandberg headshotHenrik Sandberg runs the website www.Seocustomer.com where you can find more content about SEO, PPC, Social Media Traffic
and Link Buidling.