For many non-profit staffers, the idea of what needs to be done & when for their website can be a difficult thing to understand.
To help get you on the right track I'm going to share a simple checklist of 10 non-profit IT tips to ensure your online presence is well on its way to optimal!
1. Ensure you have several different "calls to action" of varying degrees.
Providing different ways for website visitors to engage with your organization increases the chance that they will commit at a level they are comfortable with.
Consider offering different degrees of engagement such as:
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Volunteering opportunities
- Becoming a donor
2. Work on optimizing your "call to action" buttons as well as the landing pages.
By setting up "goals" in Google Analytics, and implementing some A/B testing, you can continuously improve on the number of people who actually "convert" and commit to become a subscriber, volunteer, or donor.
Tests can be really simple and involve factors such as:
- Button color
- Button size
- Text used on the button (eg. Donate versus Donate Now!)
- Placement of the call to action button
- The number of fields on your landing page
3. Set up a blog and contribute content at least once a week.
If your non-profit has an online presence, odds are you want to be found. The way to do this is through continous, regular publication of new content. New relevant content causes search engines to push you up through the rankings.
It's much easier than it sounds. Consider writing a blog once a week, and then track your Google Analytics to see what sort of impact it is having on your website traffic.
Topics you can cover include:
- Events you've held
- Success stories
- Stories of those you've helped
- Guest blogs from trusted sources
4. Ensure you have updated website software.
When thinking of non-profit IT many people ignore the software sitting on their server. For those using open source website CMS tools (Drupal, Joomla, WordPress) it is incredibly important to keep the software up to date.
Work with your non-profit IT staff or consultant to ensure updates are applied on a monthly basis to minimize chances of your site being compromised.
5. Have two sitemaps.
A sitemap helps your human visitors rapidly scan the layout of your websites information architecture, i.e. how you've laid out your navigation structure.
Even for simple sites, giving users the opportunity to have a global overview at the click of the mouse could help keep them on your site for longer.
The sitemap that Google and other search engines prefer is known as an XML sitemap. Have your non-profit IT staffer install this on your site, and also ensure that search engines are aware of the location of this sitemap.xml file.
6. Tag your content.
Tagging your new content with up to three relevant terms will help your visitors navigate to related content by clicking on those terms.
Not only does this help your user navigate your site quickly, but setting up a system of tags also helps your non-profit staff organize their content creation strategy around particular terms that are highly relevant to the mission of your organization.
7. Add a unique description to every page.
This is one of those SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tricks that your non-profit IT staffer can help you set up.
I wrote about the importance of the "metatag description" field in a previous blog post. In brief, the metatag description field is a 150 character (or less) powerful description of what the content is about. It's what gets shown by search engines on their search results page, and is a big contributor to how they decide if content is relevant or not to the present search.
8. Ensure you have Google Analytics installed.
We wrote a short white paper about how to do this. The use of analytics for your website is a must have...it really is.
If you don't have Google Analytics installed on your website, contact your non-profit IT person right away and get this remedied.
Using analytics you will get insight into things such as:
- Most popular content
- Least popular content
- Average number of pages visitors look at before leaving
- Where on your website they click (or don't click!)
- Where your visitors are coming from (location)
- How visitors find your site (eg. Twitter, search, direct, other)
9. Grade your website on Hubspot
Hubspot is a group focused on "inbound marketing"...how to drive relevant traffic to your website.
They have a free website marketing grader tool, and while it is somewhat geared at "sales" I think it can give great insight for non-profit IT folks and marketers as well.
Give it a try, it's free and sort of fun!
10. It's Friday...go relax...there is no #10!
Question: How many of these tips does your non-profit have in place? Did you grade above 50%?