Get Your Nonprofit's Website Noticed


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Ensure your nonprofit organisation's website performs well in search engines, find out how popular it is and how to promote your site using a Google Grant. From a presentation at Making Links 2009 conference in Melbourne, Australia.

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Get Your Nonprofit's Website Noticed

  1. 1. Get your non-profit’s website noticed Jason King Making Links conference, Melbourne 2009
  2. 2. 10 steps to get your site noticed <ul><ul><li>Choose a good domain name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose a good CMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insist on valid, semantic HTML code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write quality content , regularly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write good page titles and descriptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help the search engines find your pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyse and track your website’s statistics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benchmark stats against other nonprofits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get free advertising with a Google Grant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote your site online and in the real world </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>No? Presumably that’s why the Thalassaemia Society of Victoria’s website is at instead of </li></ul><ul><li>OK, spelling quiz over! </li></ul>Could you spell thalassaemia?
  4. 4. What makes a good domain name? Descriptive. Short. Memorable. Ideally, guessable. This is not always easy, you may have to compromise. Secure your preferred domain name even if you’re not yet ready to build the website.
  5. 5. <ul><li>Mole Station Native Nursery in NSW chose . </li></ul><ul><li>They really didn’t think it through. </li></ul>What does your domain name say about your organisation?
  6. 6. <ul><li>.asn International association </li></ul><ul><li>.org International organisation </li></ul><ul><li> Australian association </li></ul><ul><li> Australian nonprofit </li></ul><ul><li> UK association </li></ul><ul><li> UK voluntary organisation </li></ul>Which domain ending?
  7. 7. Why the .au matters <ul><li>People searching only for pages from Australia won’t find your website unless you have .au at the end of your domain. </li></ul>UK organisations should choose a domain that ends with .uk .
  8. 8. <ul><li>Australian community organisations can apply for a geographic domain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> (registered) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> (available) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> (available) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rules and info: </li></ul></ul>Local community-based site?
  9. 9. <ul><li>Free online advertising for non-profit organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>Your ads appear to people searching Google for your choice of keywords. </li></ul><ul><li>You can get $10,000s worth of free online advertising. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Apply for a Google Grant
  10. 10. <ul><li>Baptcare’s ads were placed for free using a Google Grant and keywords such as foster care, fostering and foster parents. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Ads also appear to the right of Google’s search results. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-profits consistently rank above businesses. </li></ul><ul><li>The result: many nonprofit organisations can double or triple their visitor numbers! </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Does your CMS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create valid HTML code? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publish an XML sitemap and an RSS feed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perform well in search engines? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a large pool of developers using it? </li></ul></ul>Choose a CMS* for good SEO** * CMS = Content Management System = the tool you’ll be using to edit the pages and news on your website yourself. ** SEO = Search Engine Optimisation = giving your website the best chance to perform well in Google, Yahoo, Bing etc
  13. 13. <ul><li>Many modern Content Management Systems, have good SEO out-of-the-box: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Joomla WordPress Drupal Which CMS should you choose?
  14. 14. <ul><li>In other words, meaningful. </li></ul><ul><li><h1>The Jam Jerrup Singers</h1> </li></ul><ul><li><p>A rather fine Barbershop quartet</p> </li></ul><ul><li>In this example a major heading is followed by a paragraph of text. The minimum of code is used to describe the document’s structure. </li></ul>Is your HTML semantic?
  15. 15. Check your HTML Code validates <ul><li>Search engines like valid HTML code. You don’t have to understand the rules. Use to test your pages. Aim for a green bar saying 100% valid! </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Content should be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interesting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relevant to your audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grammatical with good spelling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regularly updated </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Writing style: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use first paragraphs as summaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Write appealing content
  17. 17. <ul><li>Page titles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very important for SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use plain English </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No longer than about 20 words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should reflect the page’s content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appear in Google’s search results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should display both website’s name and the topic of the page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be unique for each page </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Beyond Blue does this right </li></ul><ul><li>Including their tagline means page topics aren’t always readable in Google results; but means they perform well for the keyword ‘depression’ </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Oxfam Australia does it better </li></ul><ul><li>Short and descriptive page titles that are easily readable. Note that the topic comes before the organisation’s name. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Does your website have a useful 404 error page? Visit to find out. If not, you’ll lose visitors who go to a missing page.
  21. 23. XML sitemap <ul><li>Automatically tell search engines when you publish or edit pages. </li></ul><ul><li>No need to wait weeks for Google to notice your site’s changes. </li></ul><ul><li>The more regularly you publish content, the more valuable it is to have an XML sitemap. </li></ul>
  22. 24. XML sitemap in WordPress <ul><li>Most CMS can easily be set up to publish an XML site map. </li></ul><ul><li>WordPress lets you install free plugins to give you extra functionality. </li></ul><ul><li>A plugin such as “Google XML Sitemaps” only takes a few minutes to set up. </li></ul>
  23. 25. XML sitemap in action <ul><li>On November 9 th I made a few changes to a couple of pages on my website. The XML sitemap automatically told Google, Yahoo, Bing & Ask. </li></ul>
  24. 26. XML sitemap in action <ul><li>This is what the XML sitemap actually looks like to search engines. It lists pages and knows when they were last updated. </li></ul>
  25. 27. <ul><li>If your website has a CMS, you should be able to produce feeds. </li></ul><ul><li>Few non-techies use RSS. Let them subscribe by email using . </li></ul><ul><li>But search engines love it, it helps keeps them up-to-date on your site’s latest news. </li></ul>Publish an RSS feed
  26. 28. <ul><li>Type into Google to find out which pages it knows about. </li></ul><ul><li>Do a more thorough check: get a free account with . </li></ul>Can your pages be found by people using Google?
  27. 29. <ul><li>Use Webmaster Tools to find </li></ul><ul><ul><li>keywords people use to find your pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pages Google has indexed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>if Google is reading your XML sitemap </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>websites that link to your site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>if sitelinks have been generated </li></ul></ul>
  28. 30. <ul><li>Get warned if your site’s hacked </li></ul><ul><li>Google might remove it from its search results, or put up an embarrassing warning. </li></ul><ul><li>You can use Webmaster Tools to request that Google stops blocking your website. </li></ul><ul><li>Plus, get warned by email if your site has been hacked. </li></ul>
  29. 31. Sitelinks in Google <ul><li>How do you make these useful shortcuts appear for your website? You can’t. All you can do is wait and hope. But making sure Google can find all your pages will help. </li></ul>
  30. 32. <ul><li>Your web host should provide very basic statistics for your website. </li></ul>Without stats how can you tell if your website is successful or not? Check stats regularly .
  31. 33. What web stats can tell you <ul><ul><li>Which pages are most and least popular </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many visitors you get </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which websites referred them to your site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their browsers and computer screen sizes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How your stats compare to benchmark figures for other, similar non-profits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whether specific goals of your site are met </li></ul></ul>
  32. 34. What stats alone can’t tell you <ul><ul><li>Why no-one reads your “Our History” page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What information people were seeking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who these people are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why visits tripled in May </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What people think of your website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes you need qualitative data, for example by using an online survey. </li></ul></ul>
  33. 35. <ul><li>Google Analytics is free, has over 80 reports, is easy to set up on your website and is more flexible (and has prettier graphs) than your host’s stats. </li></ul>
  34. 36. <ul><li>Google Analytics can benchmark your stats against those of other websites in your field: </li></ul>
  35. 37. Other stats you might need to track separately <ul><ul><li>Email newsletter subscribers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feed subscribers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone calls that mention the website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online donations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sales of merchandise online </li></ul></ul>
  36. 38. <ul><ul><li>The more websites that link to yours, the higher Google rates your website. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask other organisations to link from their website to yours. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask politely in a short email. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The better rated those websites are, the better Google will rate your site. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only request links from organisations relevant to your field of work. </li></ul></ul>You need to cultivate links
  37. 39. <ul><ul><li>Staff members’ email signatures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual report </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Newsletter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stationery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sign outside building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business cards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take any opportunity to tell people about it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tattoos are taking it too far! </li></ul></ul>Places to put your website address
  38. 40. <ul><ul><li>Link to it from Twitter, Facebook or wherever your supporters and clients go online. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put content on YouTube Nonprofit, Flickr and other popular websites. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mention it in relevant conversations forums or blogs (but only if it’s really relevant). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have something newsworthy to say, submit your news item to Digg. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start an email newsletter. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put regular time aside to promote your site. </li></ul></ul>Ways to promote your site online
  39. 41. Get your non-profit’s website noticed Jason King Making Links conference, Melbourne 2009
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