image of tausif akram By: Amby
22 Aug 2014

Fool Proof Web Presences for Small Non-Profit Organizations

Smaller not-for-profit organizations take a little longer (than small businesses) to come to the internet for a number of reasons, such as:

  1. Instead of one person making the decisions, you have a whole board to approve any changes. Naturally, this takes a very long time. Especially if…
  2. Some board members may be “older generation”, which means they are anti-technology. It can be harder to convince these board members that a web presence will benefit your cause. The hardest part of all is when…
  3. Building a web presence is viewed as an expense, not an investment.

In any case, once you’ve passed all the obstacles and are ready to join the world-wide-web, there are some things you should know about building a fool proof web presence for your organization. First of all, it needs to be your priority to build a web presence, otherwise your web site is a waste of money.

Development of a quality website can range from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the features you need (and the quality of the web designer) so if you want the expense to be an investment with a return, make sure that:

  • You actively promote your website off line. Once your website has launched, you may need to redesign any brochures, letterheads and handouts to include your web address for more information.
  • Your website does not disappoint traffic. If you send people to your website for more information about your cause, be sure to regularly update your website with the most current news and information. Never let it go stale. Ever.
  • Your website is easy to navigate. More importantly, there are clear navigational paths that lead visitors exactly where you want. For example, if you are seeking volunteers or donations… make it clear and obvious that you are looking for volunteers and/or donations with a prominent “How You Can Help” call to action. On every page.

Having an effective website is just the beginning, and any quality web designer will walk you through each step. However, there are some advanced elements that even a web developer may not be qualified to help you with—and those are the things that turn a website into a web presence.

Now that you are online, your organization is accessible to a much larger audience. There are 3 different ways you will get traffic (or visitors), and you need to put equal efforts into increasing the percentages for each leading source.

Direct Traffic

refers to the visitors who already know your website address. In most cases, these are the visitors who already know about your organization, and may be sent from your brochures or handouts.

Referral Traffic

refers to the percentage of visitors who found you through a link published on another website. Link building is a very important part of building a web presence. Manual link building offers the most value because it allows you to reach the most targeted demographics by promoting your website on specific, relevant websites in a natural way.

Search Traffic

refers to one of the most important sources for reaching new visitors. This is the percentage of people who found your website- and thus, your organization- by searching for a very specific keyword or phrase on Google or another search engine. These phrases may be the name of your organization, but it could also be a service-based keyword. For example, if your organization offers after school activities for youth in the community, a good keyword may be “after school activities {city name}.”

Search traffic and referral traffic are two important web marketing elements you can improve by understanding which service based keywords would connect you with your core audience, especially those who are not already aware of your organization.

Remember to be very specific when using these keywords. Referring to the previous example, “after school activities” is very vague, and you’d want to also include the demographic region {city name} because your core audience will be using that as well, so results will be filtered to the most relevant information.

As far as applying those search phrases, be sure to have your web designer include target keywords in the meta data of each page on your website. (If your web developer does not know how to do this, you might want to look for a different web designer!) When building links, be sure to use keywords as the anchor text.

It may take some time before your organization feels the expense was worth the investment, but by incorporating SEO (search engine optimization) with link building, promoting your website off line, and using a tool like Google Analytics to track and monitor important information… your organization will eventually gain a whole new kind of insight into how your audience views your organization so you can continue to provide to the causes that matter most.

Then, you can begin to discuss social media!

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