The strength of your website is not in the design, it’s in the content you provide your audience. Content is king. If your content sucks then no one will want to visit your site. You don’t visit sites that have awful content do you?…
Customer are after content that solves their problems/needs and they want that in different formats – blog, videos, podcasts, eBooks, white papers, interviews etc. It all starts with content, not design.
A charity needs to look at what problem/needs are they solving for their audience – raising awareness of a problem; how to deal with an illness; trying to raise money for a cause etc. Clearly define what you are trying to solve and dedicate yo0urselves to create awesome and compelling content around that.
2. Humanised Brand:
The key to being successful online is to humanise your brand. This means having the personal touch and not being ‘unotuchable’ or ‘faceless’. Your customers like the human touch. People give to people, not logos. Give your website the ‘human makeover’. Include your picture on the site, appear approachable. Humanising your brand helps you to build trust and therefore increase donations and gain volunteers.
The temptation when creating websites is to make it all about you. In the online world, people don’t care about you, your history, how long you’ve been going etc. They care about whether you can solve the problem/need that they have. They want to know if you have the solution. No one reads long ‘History’ section pages. It’s good to have a bit about yourself but keep it balanced. Place a premium on making it all about the audience and the people you are trying to help
By adhering to the above points you should automatically start to use keywords/phrases that your audience will use to find answers to their problems/needs. By doing this you automatically start to rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Things like ‘How to…’ articles/videos are also great ways to attract more traffic to your website. E.g. how to cope with loss, how to talk to disillusioned young people, how to tell a loved one that you are suffering with cancer etc.
You can find out the best keywords/phrases by using tools like Google KeyWord Tool or SEOmoz. As with all things, keep it balanced. Google’s algorithm now penalises websites that are too stuffed with keywords (in a blatant attempt to appease the search engines). Google likes websites that are geared towards pleasing humans. Don’t try and please the search engines. By pleasing your audience, you will automatically please the search engines.
5. No Jargon:
Have you seen Denzel Washington in the movie, ‘Philadelphia’? He has a great phrase, “Explain it to me like I’m a four-year-old.” Keep it simple. No one likes jargon. No one understands it. If no one likes it or understands it then why use it?
6. Social Links:
Your customers are online and they use social media – accept it. More and more people are giving to charities online and they like to find out about which charities to support through their social networks. Now it is common place for people to expect to see your social media links. Any website worth its salt should have clear social media links. Make it easy for your audience to connect with you.
Websites that blog regularly attract up to 77% more traffic to their site than those who don’t. That’s a huge number! Blogging allows you to demonstrate your knowledge, solve your audience’s problems and create content that is optimised for search. Don’t delay. Start blogging today!
There are 3 types of links that increase your website’s SEO: inbound links, outbound links and inter-linking. Each type of link has its own amount of ‘SEO juice’. Each link has a certain amount of SEO juice.
Inbound links (where an external site links to your website) has the most SEO juice as Google deems your site to be authoritative and worth linking to. The more authoritative the external site, the higher up the SERPs you go.
Outbound links (where you link to external sites) have less SEO juice than inbound, but are still valuable. You want a good balance of the two.
Inter-linking is also crucial. If you are inter-linking (like I have been doing in this blog), then in Google’s mind, it deems your site as having lots of content that appeases your customer’s needs. If you have lots of content then you are deemed as being more authoritative.
9. Resources Section:
If you are committed to creating lots of content regularly then you will inevitably build up a large library of content. By having a ‘Resources’ page you will differentiate yourself from the noise; appear as being helpful to your audience; create the perception that you are a thought leader and expert in your field and also indirectly appease the search engines.
10. Landing Pages:
Landing pages are often overlooked in websites but are absolutely vital to generating leads and sales. Landing pages are used to ask for donations/create awareness about something (free download, competition, event etc). By having an optimised landing page you can again drive/attract more traffic to your site and generate donations.
11. Easy To Use/Navigate:
Google’s algorithm is so advanced now that it can measure customer experience of your site. If your website is very difficult to do the simplest of tasks you will drop down the SERPs. Make things super easy. Point your visitors to where you want them to go by using clear CTAs (call to action). If there is a process (a download, donation, booking etc) then it should be no more than 3 pages deep. Anything above 3 pages will get you penalised in the SERPs.
12. Easy To Contact You:
In keeping with the humanising of your brand, you need to make it easy for your audience to contact you. Don’t just have a generic contact form. Include your contact details too. Not everyone likes forms. Some people may prefer email or they may want to call you. Make it super easy to contact you. By doing so you appear approachable and this will help to drive potential donations.
Hi, I’m Haroon Rashid and I’m the author of this blog and the founder of Finisher Creative. If you are a small business or a charity/non-profit I would be more than happy to talk to you about your online marketing and social media needs. If you’re in the Yorkshire area (UK) I’ll even take you out for a coffee! You can email me on email@example.com, check me out on Facebook, follow me @FinisherCre8ive or Google+ I look forward to hearing from you!Get a FREE Consultation