Name, Organisation, When started working there, role. When did you first use the internet? What are your experiences of using the internet? What are your ambitions for the museum?
Websites now act as the central contact point for audiences…
Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian educator, philospher and scholar, who’s work has been viewed as one of the cornerstones of media theory, described the internet as ‘A Global Village’. Defined as the worldwide interconnection of individual networks operated by a number of key players such as governments, academia and industry, but importantly by private parties and individuals, such as you and me. Originally the internet served to interconnect laboratories engaged in government reseach, but it is only since 1994 that it has been expanded to serve millions of users and a multitude of purposes in all parts of the world. In a few short decades, the internet has consolidated itself as a very powerful platform that has changed the way we do business, and the way we communicate. The internet, as no other communication medium, has given an international or globalised dimension of the world. The internet has become the Universal source of information for millions of people, at home, at school and at work. It is perhaps the most democratic of all the mass media, and is an essential element of any successful marketing strategy!
What is Web 2.0? Web 2.0 came from the idea that people who consume media, access the internet and use the web shouldn’t passively absorb what’s available, rather they should be active contributors, helping to customise media and technology for their own purposes and that of their groups and communities. Web 1.0 provided us with news generated by large corporations, webpages that were static and rarely updated, and encouraged a passive relationship between the web master (or producer) and the site users (or audience). Whereas web 2.0 has revolutionised this relationship, creating a wider more social conversation between producers and audiences, conversations among audience groups, and within the wider world wide web.
A survey conducted by ForeSee Results asked why people visited particular websites. They found that Brand; the familiarity with a site, company or brand was the biggest influencer (32%).
When considering developing a new website or perhaps re-visiting your developed website, the first place to start is with the basics. The What, Why and Who. What do you envisage your website doing? What do you hope to get out of your website? And who is going to want to visit your website? In other words: what is your vision and aims for your website and who is your online audience?
A Visions statement should be meant to inspire, energise and create captivating picture of where you see your website going. This should be a clear motivating message that communicates how you want your website visitors to think of you and your museum, the impression that you want to leave your virtual visitors and importantly what your aspirations for the website are for now and the future. Your vision is communicated through the way your website is developed, the platform you use, the functionality and navigation, as well as the design of your site.
Your aims will describe what you are trying to achieve with your website. These should revolve around both your vision for your website and of course your mission, vision and aims for your Museum and marketing strategy. Your website aims should consider what you want your visitors to be able to do while navigating through your website, and what you want to achieve. This might include setting targets for new visitors/ audiences you have not engaged with before – such as international tourists and tour agencies or other museums based in the UK, or perhaps if you have items to sell the income generation you would like to raise through your website.
And lastly, who you are trying to target, who is your website designed for, who is actually going to use the website? This can be broken down into key groups – tourists, local families, university students studying heritage degrees in Glasgow… the more precise you are about who you are targeting the easier it is then to plan for them. So the questions to consider is who do you want to attract to your website, why they will want to visit your website, and where they might come from. In this case if we take the example of university students studying heritage at Glasgow university, then I would imaging they would want to visit the website for research and information that might help them understand the heritage of your local area, what resources are available to them through the museums website or through a visit to the museum itself, how they would be able to travel to the museum, and if there was any cheap accomodation for them in the area, and who they need to contact if they wanted to talk/ interview someone from the museum about the heritage of your local area. They are most likely to come through organic search engine searches – using terms like ‘Scottish heritage museums’ ‘Heritage research in …’ or use directories designed for heritage museums, or likely to check facebook and twitter for any museum pages. Understanding who your audience is, what they would want/need from you, and how they might find you is essential when considering your website promotion, and can be informed through your use of website analytics.
What are the elements that make up a good, or effective, website? The 4 key elements to consider when you are developing or redeveloping your website are: Your Brand The Key elements – the big things which define your website The little touches – the small things that give your site an edge And Ease – the ease of use for you and your visitors.
Your website needs to reflect your brand (or the image that you want to convey). Your Image/Brand is conveyed in that first impression you make when a new website visitors lands on your home page or internal page, depending on what they are looking for. In order to create an effective website then we need to look at how you are communicating the value and benefit of what your museum does. That there is an immediate connection made between you and the visitor, this can be communicated through the use of the right keywords, through clear and concise layout, or by inviting people to join your social network. The impact of your brand/image will be dependent upon the consistency of design across all your marketing and promotional tactics. So do you use the same logo across all online and offline tactics, do you use the same font type, colours and images? Finally, the most effective websites are those that have considered how people use websites, how they navigate around a site, and how functional and intuitive that site is. If a visitor to your website needs to think for a second ‘how do I do this?’ then your website is not a functional one.
Your website needs to identify what the key elements of your site will be. What will define your site? Taking into consideration your website aims and audiences, what will make up the key elements of your site, will this be a calendar of activities and exhibitions to encourage local people and tourists to attend, is it a virtual exhibition – a gallery of images of your collection, so that international, regional and even local audiences can enjoy viewing your artefacts and engaging with the museum in a virtual way. Or is it to communicate news, the documentation of your current heritage project through a blog, or perhaps you want to encourage conversation and interaction through your social networks. The key elements you decide on will carry the success of your website, therefore it is important that you consider these at the beginning of any development or re-development of a website.
Your website needs to take into account the ‘little touches’ which have the highest impact and can be the difference between a good website and an excellent website. The little touches are the elements which are not immediately obvious to your website visitors, but will have the biggest impact if they are not implemented effectively. This includes the navigation structure of your website. How easy and intuitive is it for new website visitors to find the information they need without having to think about where that information might be. This also includes things like the font type you choose, is it clear and easy to read or is it a little fancy, which looks pretty, but can’t be understood? The creative copy you use – the language you are using in text. Image selection is also very important, a picture speaks a thousand words after all. If you don’t already have professional photographs of your museum (outside and inside, or events/exhibitions/projects etc) then you need to make this a priority now. And the icons you use to encouage people to take an action, such as ‘sign up to our newsletter’ ‘follow us on twitter’ ‘book your ticket’ – what will these look like, where will they be placed on the page and how easy are they to understand?
Your website has to be easy to use, for your website visitors but most importantly for you. There is no point in creating a website, where the front end is organised and intuitive, beautifully designed and structured, with ways to access information easily and from multiple channels, if the backend – your CMS system is highly confusing and off-putting. In today’s online world, the static website will get left behind, you have to have access yourself, or at least someone within the museum has to have access to the website to be able to update it as and when required. Gone are the days when you pay a web developer to update your website information, it is highly inefficient in terms of time and money. Therefore you need to make sure you use a CMS which suits your needs.
How your website is designed can reveal a lot about you and your company. The usual problem is that the ‘look and feel’ of your site doesn’t reflect the brand you are trying to portray. Consider what your website is subconsciously telling your visitors. It is that first visit to your website, the first impression that your visitors and then potential museum visitors will have of you which is vital to communicating your brand. So let’s take a look at two examples…
What do we feel this website for the Auckland Museum communicates to us?
And the Traditional Heritage Museum in Sheffield…what does this tell us? Note the website addresses for both of these examples… which one are visitors likely to remember of the top of their heads?
First let’s brainstorm some words that will sum up the impression you want to make on your website visitors. Second think about all the online elements you currently have, which you feel works really well for your current visitors? Lastly, note down any changes you would like to make to your website, or elements that you would like to add to your website.
At the risk of stating the obvious, put quiet simply a content management system is a system that manages content. It is the simplicity of what a CMS does that has created confusion for potential buyers of such a system. There is enough ambiguity in its definition to enable all kinds of products to masquerade as content management systems. To fully understand what a CMS is and does, we have to define What we are referring to when we talk about content What do we mean by ‘management’ and What we mean by ‘system’. What is content? Content is in essence, any type of digital information. It can be text, images, graphics, video, sound, documents, records, music, etc, in other words, anything that is likely to be managed in an electronic format. What is content management? This is effectively the management of the content described before, by combining rules, processess and/or workflows in such a way that its electronic storage is deemed to be ‘managed’ rather then ‘un-managed’. What is the CM System? The system is a tool or combination of tools that facilitate the efficient and effective production of the desired outcome of using the managed content.
There are plenty of open source systems available for free or at a competitive monthly rate. These are great if you are starting out, as they are engineered to be used by people who might have limited technical knowledge of building websites, such as myself, they ease you into the world of website development. They are also excellent tools for people who are looking to re-develop their website, even if you already have a website platform, or perhaps had your site designed by a web developer, don’t be afraid to check out your options. You might find that the platform you have now works well for you and your group, but then again you might find that an open source CMS offers you more flexibility, both in terms of creative design and adding content, especially dynamic content. But make sure you browse, experiment, test and review, these systems. Every open source CMS has it’s own unique offerings and different operating systems. Make sure you select one which works best for you. Remember EASE. Moonfruit – FREE a system that is designed for everyone, it lets you customise the style and layout of your site, offers an excellent drag and drop functionality, and offers additional support through resources, guides and tip sheets. Joomla – FREE Is one of the most powerful open source content management systems in the world. it can be used easily to manage every aspect of your website from adding content and images to updating a product catalogue to processing credit card details. Drupal – You can build everything from personal blogs to enterprise applications. This is free, and as a part of the open source community is constantly being improved upon by thousands of people from around the world. Pligg – An open source CMS that you can download and use for free. It provides social publishing software that encourages people to register on your website so that they can submit content and connext with other users. Pligg will enable you to start your own social publishing community.
With a content management system you do not require the skills of a skilled programmer, to write HTML or like coding. Using CMS allows you to easily manage creation, modification, and removal of contents from a web site. The features of a content management system varies , but generally includes, web-based publishing, format management, revision control, indexing, search and retrieval. As CMS is based online through web browsers gone are the days of the centralised website, you can access your site from any browser or computer with your own unique login and password. As CMS uses templates for website structure and design, any updates or changes to colours, design, or navigational structures will be updated across the site automatically. As content is stored separate from design, the content created by all of your authors will be presented with the same consistent design. Through CMS your navigation is automatically generated and adjusted when you make any changes. With unique login’s you can assign roles and permissions to the individuals to prevent them from editing content they are not authorised to change. Most CMS are integrated with online applications and widgets such as forums, polls, ecommerce structures, search tools, news management and social media and networking. Most importantly CMS allows you to take control of your website, forget outsourcing to designers who will maintain control, hosting and maintaining your own website will allow you to frequently make the necessary changes in-house without having to wait for your designer to do so.
DESCRIPTION: An internationally renowned art museum and one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20 th century, the Guggenheim Museum is at once a vital cultural sector, an educational instituion, and the heart of an international network of museums. Visitors can experience special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, lectures, performances and film screenings, classes, and daily tours. The Guggenheim Museum is an ever-growing institution devoted to the art of the 20 th century and beyond. The website acts as a front door or gateway to the five museums. A simple menu bar at the top of the site allows for navigation between locations and the Foundation as well. Within the individual museum sites the navigation is more complex, reflecting the unusually deep content of the sites, which allows visitors to browse the online collections of each museum. A blog like editorial format is used for news of current exhibitions, events and activities. The challenge set for the website designers was to elevate the Guggenheim as a recognised leader among international visual arts institutions in order to increase visits, support donations and membership and build awareness for the Guggenheim Foundation. All using Joomla! 1.5 – one of the most robust of all Open Source CMS.
Example CMS back end, Moonfruit.
Considering how your website is designed is imperative towards creating an effective website. You have 10 seconds to grab people’s attention – CLICK MOUSE less if your website is burdened with large graphics or flash say, if your website takes 4 seconds to download then you have even less time to grab your visitors attention.
ADD IN SATISFACTION Customers and audiences are becoming increasingly discerning which is why we need to persuade people to participate and engage, you need to grab their attention, interest them in how your offering can benefit them, and then persuade them to take the action you want them to take, such as buying your product or visiting your museum. When using an online resource, particularly websites, design is key to grabbing a visitors attention and interest. When assessing your current website or developing a new website the AIDA S marketing tool is an great starting point for organisations or web developers. How does your website design capture people’s attention, interest and desire, and what action do you want your visitors to take when visiting your website - satisfaction .
Attention You need to be quick and direct to grab people’s attention. Determining the purpose and function of your site first will help engage people and focus visitor’s attentions on what the website can do for them. Bear in mind is that people will enter your site from any one of your pages. So you need to make sure that whichever page they enter through, the headlines, design, and navigation grab their attention. Make sure your content is: Honest Relevant Tasteful; and Clear Keep their attention level high by making a statement making an offering asking a question relaying facts And most importantly, make sure you tell your visitors who you are.
Interest Generating Interest is perhaps the most challenging stage. The primary reason people go online is to get information, not to be advertised to. You need create interest through providing appropriate information. Free information that is relevant, constantly updated, exciting and different will spark visitor’s interests. news, articles, facts, newsletters, polls and other features to keep them coming back. To maintain interest you need to give your website visitor’s a reason to stay. If the information they were looking for was easily found, you might just get them to the next step. The next key ‘Interest’ generator is design. Your design and content will decide if visitors stay or leave your site. You must look professional. First impressions count. Likewise consistency is key, the content of your page needs to be relevant to the headline or the ad that first caught the visitors attention. Remembering that every page is a landing page and that you sometimes won’t know how the user got to the page in the first place, is important when considering design and consistency of your site, having optimised content on every single page is a key factor to your success.
Interest and Desire go hand-in-hand. To create desire, you need to help your customers or audience understand what your offering can do for them in a real way. You need to appeal to their personal needs and wants. So how can you create desire? Let the customer or audience member experience the product or service first hand. Build in some element of interactivity. Get someone to experience your offering in some way or another so that they can desire to own it or be part of it. Whether that is a youtube video, a regular blog, a picture gallery, comments from previous visitors. If you can appeal to the emotional side of your visitor and translate the benefits they’ll receive, not necessarily the features, you are more likely to create desire. With the advent of Data Protection and secure payment systems, it’s essential that you underline your credibility and trustworthiness to your visitors– which could come in the form of reviews from the press or your audience members, or implement secure site software and demonstrating their logo clearly, if you are asking for a sale transaction, two ways of generating trust, and by extension desire. Another way of increasing desire is to offer incentives – give these visitors to your site a reason to choose you and not someone or something else.
It is incredibly important that you be very clear about what action you want your customers or audience to take. Whatever the action is; subscribe to a newsletter, recommend to a friend, buy something, create the attention on it, get interest, build desire, then ask for the action. You must ask for the action you want to be performed – if you want them to ‘click’ put that down clearly. Ask for the action. This is point where you should reinforce the fragile trust structure with guarantees, with data protection assurances, secure payment site logos or privacy statements. This should be the easiest part, because at this point you have almost convinced them, and they have the increasing desire to close the deal, to get in contact or buy. So don’t make this harder then it needs to be. Make your call to action as clear, as visible and as easy as possible. If your call to action say’s “call us now” display your phone number right there, don’t make them search for it. Don’t make them waste another click, require a minimal amount of work, and avoid aggravating your visitor.
AIDA is the framework for good marketing, sales and website development, but if you fail to satisfy, then all the other letter’s don’t add up to much else then letters. Satisfaction provides the critical closure for relevance. When promoting online, an environment in which taking action is the only tangible, measurable things that your visitor can do, is only partly about capturing attention. You also need to consider retention, attention and retention. When you complete the AIDA model with Satisfaction, you complete the retention loop by making the process wholly audience-centred. So how do you satisfy? By identifying your central message, what makes you relevant to your audiences, and communicating that relevantly, by remaining true to your word both online and offline. Satisfaction can also relate to your measurement of impact, success and monitoring your goals. If you have happy audiences, then you have achieved what most of us would say we work towards achieving, creating enjoyable experiences, where people feel that they were glad you caught their attention, that you are interesting enough to visit, that their desire to visit you was justified, and they are happy/glad/pleased/delighted they took the action to visit you. http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/03/15/aidas-the-relevance-of-satisfaction/
You can also refer to these questions in your workbook.
So how do we make sure we avoid the pitfalls and follow the good practice.
This is where we begin to really think about the AIMS of your website. What do you want to achieve with your website, what do you want your visitors to achieve, and how are we going to make this happen? This is where segmentation of your visitors and the targeting of your offerings becomes important. And where your vision and your target audience you identified at the start come into play. You’ll have noted down your segmented audiences and have a list of your offerings, now you need to pair the two together, along with the type of offering, information or motivation that the individual within this group may have when engaging with your museum.
Good visual design – a clean and simple design is all you need. First impressions are key, and good design alone won’t keep a visitor on your site, and eye catching design will grab their attention long enough to take a look around though. Thoughtful interface – the foundation of any good website. Take into consideration your average user. Create an image in your mind if who your ‘average web visitors’ might be. Be sure you offer everything on your site that they would want to find out before engaging with you. Primary Navigation – links to the key areas of your site across the top, bottom or side of your website is essential, include your logo and links to the main sections of your website. Be consistent – make sure that is in the same spot across your site. Repeat Navigation in the footer – if you use flash or images it’s extra important for you to have a navigation bar in the footer. It makes it as easy as possible for people to find the content they are looking for. This is also an area where you can add additional information which does not fit into your main sections of your website. Meaningful content – you may design a pretty eye-catching website, but if the content is no good, you can guarantee visitors won’t stick around. When writing copy for your website it’s important to provide helpful, knowledgeable information about your museum, offerings and services etc. A solid ‘About’ Page – usually one of the most popular web pages. People are curious – they want to know who is behind the organisation. Include information on your background, how it pertains to what you do now for instance. Help to create a personal bond with potential visitors. Contact Information – nothing can turn off a prospective visitor more than not being able to find a way to contact you. You want to give more then one way to be contacted. These make you more ‘real’. Search Function – if you have a large website a search field is very helpful. Google offers a search tool bar that you can install into most websites. Sign Up/ Subscribe – if you’re offering consistent information you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up for updates. Site Map – great for your visitors to find the information that they are looking for, and for Search Engine spiders. Web optimised images – save your images in a compressed format, 300 dpi is the standard for print, for websites it’s more like 72dpi – enables a quicker download time. Programmes such as Adobe Photoshop save options for you to save images for the web. Statistics, Tracking, Analytics – this is a behind the scenes element and not one your likely to know about or notice as a web visitor, but as a website owner it is crucial. Enabling tracking means you get to know how often people visit your site, how people are finding your website, what search terms they are finding you under, what websites link to you, which are your popular web pages and how long people stay on your website. If you want to monitor your website’s performance and figure out how you can improve your site web analytics is essential.
Based on this the key website rules to emerge are establishing trust between yourself and your visitor, to communicate how your organisation or offering can make the visitor’s life better in some way offer your visitor’s a clean, simple and easy experience avoid making the user think unnecessarily, which can apply to navigation, content and the function of your website Create a design to establish you and your businesses professionalism clearly show your visitors the way to accomplish their goals without being confusing help visitors find what they need and then ask them to take an action.
Search Engine Optimisation is an essential element of any web marketing strategy. There are thousands of ways in which to increase traffic and visitors to your site, but like all things technological there are simple tips you can put in place yourself, and then some highly technical strategies which will require a higher level of knowledge and understanding. SEO is a set of processes that collectively work to increase website visibility by increasing search engine rankings. There is no exact science to SEO. The major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) use a crawler to look at a particular website, and algorithms to analyse the site. What is considered successful SEO – processes that result in significant rankings (page 1 – 3 on Google). Remember a website must be found to be seen. Do people know who you are well enough to search for you? Do they trust you enough to engage with you? Have you built good will through community participation? What makes your site remarkable enough for others to talk about?
What is search engine optimisation? Web pages appear in search engine results because their content matches the search words that users have input into Google, jeeves, bing… etc. The key to SEO is writing pages that use these keywords and securing links from other pages to show how important your page is compared to others. By considering SEO as an important element of your eMarketing strategy, then you are ensuring that your website gets into those first ten search results. It’s important to understand the difference between ‘unique’ and ‘paid-for’ searches. All your SEO tactics will serve to increase traffic to your site through unique searches – when people input key words to generate results, rather then inputting directly the name of your museum for instance. Paid-for searches on the other hand enable your website to sit at the top of the search results page, usually in a highlighted box. Google offers Google Adwords, which I will cover in this section later. In some ways SEO is a simple Quality Control for Websites, meaning that when people search for ‘museums, Scotland, Highland’ their results return your museums and not websites for garden hoses in Baltimore!
The other term you are likely to hear a lot in SEO, is Search Engine Spiders, or simple Spiders or Web crawlers, there are lots of different terms. The search engines use precise mathematical formulas or programs to process data, these formulas are called algorithms. A ‘Spider’ is an automatic program (algorithm) that is run by a search engine system that crawls your site for information. A ‘Spider’ visits your website and crawls your pages, reads your Title Tag, the content of your site, looks for keywords, and follows the links your pages contain. It then returns that information to a central depository where information is stored and indexed. An index is like the contents page of a very large book, when some one searches for a particular word or term or phrase (Keywords) the search term is looked up in the index and information is delivered to the searcher. Millions of pages are indexed everyday and you want to make sure your website is indexed with a high ranking so web visitors can find you easily. SE Spiders are incredibly bright, they can not only crawl your page and see all the relevant data, they scan for relevant keywords, their frequency and location in the content of your pages. They can also detect artificially ‘keyword stuffing’ or spamming. A spider can also detect how often you update your website, after they visit your site a number of times, an algorithm sets up a revisit schedule. This is the reason it is wise to be consistent in the frequency of your posting, updates etc.
Start thinking about the types of singular words and 2 or 3 keyword phrases that best describe what you do, who you are, what you are offering, and most importantly the types of words you know people are using to search for what you are offering. Jot down a couple of keywords/phrases to the time being, the aim is to return to this worksheet as you progress your SEO keyword research.
It’s all semantics really. The first, and best place to start with SEO is with words, keywords and phrases. These words are collected and evaluated by SE’s such as Google to ascertain what your website is about. So where do we start when deciding on our keywords, the words that sum up what you do and who you are. Decide on your word mapping tool – there are a lot of keyword research tools online, you may want to do some research and investigate which tools work best for you. I personally find Google’s tools the easiest to use. Deciding on the words to use Grouping your keywords Avoiding ‘Keyword Stuffing’
Google Ad words is your new best friend. The tools that Google offers is unrivalled and most of it is free. If you haven’t already signed up for a Google mail account, then I suggest you do when you get home or back to work. A googlemail account enables you to access essential emarketing tools such as Google analytics, and Google adwords. But it also runs a powerful keyword research tool. MORE ON GOOGLE AD WORDS _ TIP SHEET
Google adwords offers you a whole host of fun SEO things to do. But for the purposes of Keyword research, we will need to use the Keyword Tool, under the reporting and tools tab.
The keyword tools enables you to search by keywords or by website. I always find it easier to allow Google to do some of the work first, and input your website into the search engine first. Here I have used a heritage museum in Durham as an example, but obviously you would input your own website here. (In fact at the end of the initial keyword research phase, it is good to check to see what types of keywords your competitors are using, for instance, looking up keywords from other heritage based museums, such as this. You might find that there is a keyword relevant to you, which has been overlooked previously). So, this particular example shows us that ‘School Trips in the UK’ is a high competition keyword, with 590 monthly global searches, and 480 local monthly searches. (My local is Highland.) If you click on the highlighted keywords/phrases it will automatically take you to the Google search page, so you can see what this search will look like and where your website features. The highest ranking keyword here is ‘School Trips’ with 40,500 global monthly searches and 14,800 local monthly searches. What this means is that ‘School Trips’ is an important keyword for your website, however you couldn’t rely solely on this word to guarantee page visitors, you need to match this keyword with a number of other keywords relevant to your website in order to increase your Google ranking (your placement in the Google search). You are looking for a list of 50 – 100, which you can then narrow down.
Every word you use MUST be relevant to your organisation, products, services and content on the website. There is absolutely no point in using the words ‘Cat Toys’ or ‘Garden Hose’ if your website is about a heritage museum. To start to narrow down your list from 100 to a more manageable and relevant number, we first look at the popularity of the keywords you have selected. Again we return to Google Adwords keyword tool. In this case I input some keywords instead of the website tool. These keywords were: Museum heritage museum scotland highlands exhibitions heritage exhibitions art exhibitions school trips scottish heritage As you can see they have indexed these words and then suggested a number of alternative keywords as well. On deciding your keywords you want to consider first the relevancy of that word, and then the popularity of that word. In this case museum might have a low competitiveness, but is a very popular search term, with 16million hits a month globally and 2.2 million hits locally. The popularity of a keyword is the number of searches performed for each relevant keyword and are the variations of the keywords that are searched most often. Competitiveness relates to how easy it is for your website to get to the first page of an organic search result using this keyword. As you can see here, if I were to use ‘Museum’ and ‘Scotland’ as my two keywords I would find it hard to get my website to the top of an organic search result. However if I were to include variations of these keywords, such as ‘Heritage Museum’, ‘Highlands’ and even ‘holidays in Scotland’ I might have a better chance of getting into the top ten websites recommended by a Search Engine. This is where the element of semantics comes into play, it might appear to be a trivial exercise at first glance, listing variations of your keywords and phrases, but this is the more critical tasks an organisations can take to increase its organic search ranking.
After narrowing down the list of your keywords, then you need to group the words be themes. Select one primary keyword along with 4 or 5 keywords/phrases. You can then assign these groups to individual landing pages throughout your website. So in this case I have grouped together: What and where I am – which I would most likely assign to my home page. A Tourist Theme – which I would assign to my home page and my what’s on page Schools – I would assign to my School Trips/Workshops page What I do – which I would assign to my what’s on page and exhibition/events pages. Grouping your keywords enables you to: Have a predetermined set of keywords to use when you are creating or redeveloping your website, adding a new page, or section to your site. Cutting down the time on researching new keywords in the future. Have a more comprehensive overview of the words and phrases that your own visitors (online and offline) might be using to search for what you offer. Enable you to think about the types of words and phrases visitors use to describe what you do, which can come in handy for other marketing activities, such as writing good copy for the press, media, or for marketing copy. Enable you to think in a more structured approach to how your website is mapped out for online visitors. (Can you group your keywords effectively now for your website?)
We have a list of keywords, so what do you do with these now? First a warning, we want to avoid designing our website for Search Engines and not for people. Remember we first need to persuade audiences then the traffic. Google is very adept at understanding when a website or blog as designed entirely for SE’s, using SEO to simply acquire a high Google ranking, without any relevancy or purpose. You might have come across sites which on reading you find that the use of language is gibberish and there is no relevancy to the keywords you used in your search. Google spiders can now understand which websites are simply ‘Spam’ sites or when websites have stuffed their sites so full of keywords that it no longer reads properly, for the user. This approach, keyword stuffing, will not help you, Google will not rank your website highest simply because you have the right words in place, you need to make sure you are using them in the right way. So the next part of this presentation will look at where you really MUST have keywords, there are hundreds of SEO techniques, but the following are what the online world of SEO deem the most important, the essential elements of any websites SEO strategy.
One quick and easy way of determining how user-friendly and crawler-friendly your website is, is to determine your keyword density. We have filled out headings, meta tags content, alt image attributes etc with our essential keywords, now let’s put it to the test and find out just how good our SEO has been. Basically to determine your keyword density you want to take the number of times a keyword or phrase occurs within your text and divide this by the total words of that text. A density of 1% to 5% is considered acceptable. This resembles the natural flow of regular speech. When it increases to 10-20% it becomes incomprehensible and ‘spammy’. Here we have a fictional example of an introductory message on the home page of a museum. The museum’s marketing manager decided that the word ‘Museum’ is their main keyword. Read through this and let me know what you think about this introduction.
The text above is made up of a total of 126 words, with the word ‘Museum’ repeated 11 times. This calculates as a keyword density of 8.7%. Approaching the Spammy end of the keyword density spectrum. In the next part of the presentation I’ll outline the essential areas that you can use your keywords to get the most out of your SEO strategy. On the whole these keywords will not be seen by your online users, but will be seen, read and indexed by SE spiders.
You can find all the information you need to know about your SEO and other’s SEO from viewing the source code of a page.
To view the source code for any website, simply click on View in your website browser, and select Source… This will allow you to view the HTML coding of the website, what you need to pay attention to in the source code is the TAGS, including title, description and keyword. In most, if not all CRM systems, entry boxes for Headlines, as well as your titles, descriptions and keywords will be made available to you, you do not need to edit any of the HMTL data directly.
This is the source code for the British Museum. We are looking for the TITLE TAG. You’ll find the title, description and keyword meta tags in your source code. A meta tag describes the type of data your inputting, it serves as an information label. So the meta title tag describes the Title of your website. The title being the data. The title tag is the most important of the 3 meta tags, this plays a large role in indexing your site. The title is the first thing Search Engines see when determining what the page is about. It is the first thing that potential visitors see when looking at a Search Engine listing. The title tag as it appears for the British Museum is ‘The British Museum - Welcome to the British Museum’.
So our title tag appears here in the title of the search result. If it is possible to add in a keyword or two, then excellent, but avoid keyword stuffing. Most importantly you need to include the name of your organisation or the title of your webpage.
The title also denotes the title across the top of your web browser, which helps web visitors to know what and where they are.
I’ve already mentioned that there are 3 key meta tags, and we have already discussed Title Tags. The other two important meta tags are the Description and Keyword Tags. Now, it is debateable as to whether SE spiders use description tags for their rankings at all, but these are important as your description is listed in your search results. The description is what your users read to decide whether to click through to your website or not. Let’s continue with the British Museum example… Here under meta name=description we can read ‘Welcome to the British Museum website. The Museum houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts and is free to all visitors. Search highlight objects of the collection and view current research projects. Find information about visiting, including admissions and opening times, events and exhibitions, gallery guides and teaching resources.’
And on our Google search we can see that the first 2 sentences of the meta description has been pulled through from the source code on the website. ‘ Welcome to the British Museum website. The Museum houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts and is free to all visitors.’ Why do you think that the British Museum choose these two sentences as the most important in encouraging people first to click through to their website and consider visiting the museum? As you can see here there are different descriptions for each of the British Museum search result options. If we choose to select the What’s On link… It reads ‘Exhibitions and events at the British Museum including Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, Picasso to Julie Mehretu, Buddhism across Asian and other touring…’
No obvious place on the website that the SE drew the text from immediately, But when we look at the source code…
It reads under meta description: exhibitions and events at the British museum including Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, Picasso to Julie Mehretu, Buddhism across Asia and other touring exhibitions.
The meta keyword tag – due to keyword stuffing many Search Engines disregard the keyword tag, but it doesn’t hurt to include them. Like the Title and Description Tags, you will be presented with an opportunity to insert keywords into your source code through your CRM. As you can see from the British Museum website they have used keywords to give SE’s an idea of what can be found in the British Museum: London, Britian, World, Eqypt, Asia, Greece, Roman, Africa, Oceania, Americas, Prehistory, Europe, Prints, Drawings, Coins, Medals, Free, visiting, 1753, research, collection, picasso, julie mehretu, buddhism. But there are still plenty of other places you can use your keywords.
The heading tag is a very important element in helping users, web browsers and SE’s know where the major key points of your content are. Heading tags label your headlines so that SE’s can recognise it as ‘important’ on your web page. The heading tags will make your headline bolder so it will stand out. You should always have a main heading, or headline, for every webpage. In terms of SEO we are making it easier for SE spiders to determine what your webpage is all about. The SE doesn’t have to guess, your heading will denote the main topic of the page, along with your title, description and keywords. In this case the heading tag has been used for the ‘Visiting’ headline, and the functions along the lefthand side are also characterised as headings.
So for instance when you are setting up a website with this open source CRM system, Moonfruit, they ask you to specify both the Title of your website and the Description – which they highlight is primarily for SE’s.
Adding Alternative Text or Alt Attributes for images serves 2 purposes. For SEO – a brief but descriptive alt attribute places additional text to your source code when SE spiders are indexing your page, so this is another area you can use those keywords. But it is not an opportunity to stuff this alt attribute with keywords, as the second purpose… helps the visually impaired and blind to access images using a screen reader, while they can’t see the image they are able to know what it is on the page, by reading your alt attribute. When you are adding images to your website through your CRM you will be prompted to give a title, description, alternative text, etc while you are uploading or after you have uploaded the file to your CRM. Always think about how your Alt Attribute can be used to help people understand what they are seeing and how this might help SE spiders to understand what this page is about.
Links are very important to your SEO strategy, and we will look at link building after this section. At this point however, assigning title attributes to your links is another great way to use up some of your keywords. Title attributes on links appear when you hover your mouse over a link, like images. Title attributes on image links are essential but they are equally as important for text links. Much like adding alternative text for images, when creating a link on your web page your CRM system should prompt you for Link Text. Use this descriptively also, here for the link ‘Coming Forth Day by Day’ under the Event Highlights box, the title attribute reads ‘ View more details about the performance’. I now know as a visitor to the web page where I am being redirected to and what I can expect when I get there, before I decide to click through to this link. Likewise with the title attribute for the image link Picasso to Julie Mehertu, the title attribute text reads ‘More about the exhibition Picasso to Julie Mehretu: modern drawings from the British Museum Collection’. You can see from these two examples how image text can be used differently, there is less description for the text based link, as this gives us and the SE’s more data to determine what and where the link leads to. While the Image link gives a greater description, as the image will not be understood by SE spiders or people with visual impairments.
XML sitemaps are used by SE’s to index your site. A sitemap is a way of organising a website, identifying the URLs and the data under each section. Previously the sitemaps were primarily geared for the users, however Google’s XML format, introduced in 2005, is designed for SE’s, allowing them to find the data faster and more efficiently. XML also summarises how frequently a particular website is updated, and records the last time any changes were made. This allows SE’s to make more accurate rankings and searches. Through the XML protocol, which has now been adopted by Yahoo and Microsoft, XML will become a standard feature of all website creation and development. SE’s rank a page according to the relevance of its content to particular key words, but until the XML format, there were instances when the content was not properly picked up.
To create your own XML sitemap and keep the SE’s informed of changes to your site, check out this free online sitemap generator.
Content relevant to your main page or your site topic is THE most important SEO aspect of your pages. If the readable text on the page isn’t relevant to the target keywords all the SEO work you’ve done so far will be futile. This is where your keywords really come in handy, you want to use your keywords, but remember keyword density, it still needs to be readable. The key is to make it relevant to your title, headings and description. This will really determine whether people actually stay on your website as well.
Links are essential to boosting your SE rankings. The algorithm Google uses for determining page rank takes into account many different elements and is constantly changing, one item is the number of links pointing to your website. The more websites with links to your own pages the greater opportunity of getting up into the first Google search page. You can use websites such as wholinkstome.com for a full and free links analysis, but an easy way to get started is by using the extension link:www.yourwebsite.com in a Google search. As you can see from this example there are a couple of links from within the British Museum website that appear here, but there are also a number of other sites, including CBS news, the BBC, Guardian and Wikipedia. Try this little trick out when you get the next chance and see who is linking to your website.
The point of linking SEO is to have as many different websites and as many different web platforms linking to your website or to specific items on your website. The more links to and from your site will up your rankings, but remember your links need to be relevant, valid and of good quality. You can’t just link to anyone and you don’t just want anyone linking to you. To find out first who is linking to you a good place to start is http://wholinkstome.com/
Obviously you can control which sites you link to, but in order to guarantee relevant and high quality links from others websites you need to be proactive. CLICK By devising a template ‘Link Request’ Letter, you can easily send out requests for links to websites you think would benefit from linking to you.
Technically not SEO but it is a growing factor in getting your websites noticed. Be careful not to abuse social media by constantly pushing people to your site, although a healthy social media strategy will determine your use and expectations. We will look at social media in more detail later on in the day.
1. Ignore the Spam! You will find that there are a lot of SEO scams out there, and a lot of these will end up in your inbox. if you are looking for additional help from SEO specialists, make sure you approach reputable companies, You don’t need to submit to 1,000 search engines or 500 directories. You can’t buy 2,000 quality links for £50. And no reputable SEO can guarantee a number one ranking on any search engine for keywords that matter. The kind of SEO company you want to hire doesn’t send out spam. 2. Don’t wait too long to implement your SEO strategy , it might seem like a long, arduous, complicated job, but in reality it is a matter of planning, organising and submitting data, if you tackle this now, then in the future you will only have to update and improve, you build on SEO, no need to start straight from scratch each time. And do get involved in the process, we have only briefly looked at the possibilities of SEO, there are lots of highly reputable websites and blogs with hints and tricks and step-by-step instructions, your CRM may be able to offer you help too. 3. You don’t need to submit your URL to Search engines any longer, this ended a couple of years ago. All the SE’s now actively send out their spiders or crawlers to index your website. 4. Avoiding using flash – SE spiders can’t read flash, like images, and therefore there is no SEO. 5. Avoiding targeting overly general keywords. Remember there are millions of other websites out there that will be using the same keywords as you, so it’s best to rely on a variety of different keywords taking more priority over general keywords, in our case the most general word… Museums. 6. lastly, don’t ignore the usability of your website for your visitors. A quick DIY usability test – need 5 to 10 users who have never been on your website, and if these are your target visitor groups, even better. Ask them to perform a set of tasks on the website; tasks that you’d expect your average visitor to accomplish. Observe and monitor and record everything.
Another great way to generate good, quality links to your website is to add your museum and its events to web directories. There are hundreds of different directories out there. Think about the types of sites that your visitors might be using to gather information about the museums sector. Think again about the type of person that might be, for instance enterting your data into a directory with a solely museum focus is likely to attract visitors who are actively seeking to visit museums, or perhaps academics, researchers, those looking for information on their genealogies.
Where as entering your information into directories such as Trip Advisor would be geared more towards the tourist market, those looking for something to do while on holiday in Scotland. The extra benefit of Trip Advisor is that web users and your visitors can leave feedback, hopefully to encourage other people to visit your museum in the future. Like with all advertising, eMarketing also requires you to think about the groups of people you are targeting and where they might be able to access information on your museum. By applying these SEO tactics you will not only make your website more understandable for SE’s, enabling them to index your website correctly, but it will also make it so much easier for your visitors to find you too.
What is the main function of a museum… to tell stories. And what better way to find out new stories from your audience then through social media? Social networking is really all about that, telling stories and building connections. Creating social media platforms tells your visitors and your audience that you are open to new technologies and that you want to talk to them, that their ideas, comments and thoughts are important to your museum. You are opening the channels of communication. Social Media is not a fad. It represents a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. Technologies such as social media can be a powerful tool for cultivating a community around your museum, it is community that will keep your museum alive. These technologies offer you new ways to reach out to audiences that you never had access to before, it can provide your audiences with new experiences in engaging with your museum, and creates new connections. At present most organisations are engaged in one-to-one conversations, using Social Media for event listings, reminders, reaching larger or new audiences and for promotional messages. It is not really used for high levels of dialogue engagement. There needs to be a focus on that two-way or multi-way conversation.
There are so many social media tools available, which can often be distracting when looking at the roles and benefits that these applications can provide. In this section we’ll focus on the underlying themes in social media, the 4 C’s: Content, Collaboration, Community and Collective Intelligence. Together these 4 themes constitute the value system of social media, and while the tools may evolve and the buzzwords will change, the value system embedded in these 4 C’s will remain. The first C, Content , refers to the idea that social media tools enabled everyone to become ‘creators’, by making the publication and distribution of multimedia content free and easy. Collaboration refers to the idea that social media facilitates the aggregation of small individual actions into meaningful collective results. Collaboration can happen on 3 levels: Conversation, Co-creation, and Collective Action. The third C refers to the idea that social media facilitates collaboration around a shared idea, over time and often across space, creating a community around this shared idea. Collective intelligence is the idea that the social web enables organisations and businesses to gather together individual actions, but also to run software and analytics to extract meaning from them. Collective Intelligence can be based on implicit and explicit actions and often takes the form of reputation and recommendations. If you are interested more in the themes of social media there is an article within the resource pack.
Understanding the themes around social media will help when developing the way you want to work with social media. As a new and evolving media and technology it is important that you utilise these tools for your overall marketing strategy. Currently there are approximately 400,000,000 active users on Facebook, 77% of active internet users read blogs, 100,000,000, video’s are viewed daily on You Tube and there is an average of 3,000,000 tweets a day, the power of social media is outstripping other mediums of communication, particularly with online users now preferring social media and social networking as a means to stay in contact with people over email. All social media applications function on the same underlying themes, of content, collaboration, community and collective action. We’ll look at some of the more popular applications here such as Twitter, but it’s important to bear in mind that there are hundreds of social media and networking applications available to suit your needs and how you want to communicate and interact with your audience and customers.
Benefits of social media to marketers. People find it easier to switch off or ignore traditional advertising particularly through traditional media environments such as TV or radio. Social media gives organisations the opportunity to interact with audiences through targeted communications which audiences choose to engage with on their own terms. Social media’s potential to Go Viral is one of its greatest benefits – if users like the content they will share with their own communities. Social media allows you to create an online community for your organisations and its supporters. Social media can tie in nicely with your other emarketing tactics – creating a holistic eMarketing strategy. Social media allows you to engage with an online community and allows you to connect your organisation with the right audiences. The interactions allow you to garner feedback from your communities. Feedback from social media sites helps to drive future business as well as marketing strategies. The range of media enables you to learn more about your audiences likes, dislikes, behaviour etc. Never before has so much information been available to marketers. Niche targeting just got a whole lot easier.
Before we start looking at how museums are using social media and networks, it is important that we consider the planning process involved. SM Plan – you wouldn’t plonk any old artefact into your museum collection, you plan for it, so why would you not do the same with Social Media? A 5 step Social Media Plan Stop, Look and Listen 2. Goals 3. Strategy 4. Launch 5. Monitor
It is important before you take your museum into a Social media space that you take time to understand the websites that your audiences use before you do anything else. Each website and Social Media network is different – users interact with each in different ways. You don’t want to appear like you’ve simply added a facebook or twitter just for the sake of it, people will see right through you. So it is important to first STOP. Don’t start setting up museum pages on every Social Media site you come across, take your time to learn about them and how your audiences use them. Using social media monitoring sites to find out what people are saying about you and where first, will allow you to priorities which sites you should focus your Social Media Strategy on. You should also look for conversations about other museums or organisations, businesses, and brands that you admire, offer similar experiences as you, or are nearby. First sign up as an individual to these sites and explore, experiment and test them out. Too often organisations jump in without understanding the way these networks really work.
One of the easier ways to find out what conversations people are having is by using a site such as social mention. This enables you to input any search query and for the system to search the internet for any posts, articles, comments or other item of content on the web that talks about your search item. Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web's social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc. Social Mention currently provides a point-in-time social media search and analysis service, daily social media alerts , and API .
You can select a mention and view it in it’s original format, this is a great way of seeing how the social media platform works, as well as offer you the opportunity of assessing how many other people are following this particular individual.
WhosTalkin.com is a social media search tool that allows users to search for conversations surrounding the topics that they care about most. Whether it be your favorite sport, favorite food, celebrity, or your company's brand name; Whostalkin.com can help you join in on the conversations that you care about most. Our goal is to deliver the most relevant and current conversations happening in the world of social media. How do we do that? Our search and sorting algorithms combine data taken from over 60 of the internet's most popular social media gateways. We take this data and display it to you through our carefully designed interface that harnesses the power of AJAX to give you a seamlessly well organized user experience.
Like Social Mention, you can click to view the original content, in this particular case, due to facebook’s privacy settings you might not be able to access the mention, in this case we are able to see her page and the actual status update, and have the opportunity again of seeing how many friends this particular person has. Checking out follower or friends numbers is a good indication of How influential this person might be. How many other potential people could be talking about your museum.
Start with goals and not Technology. Your likely to waste a lot of time if you jump in without asking yourself why. The TATE Social Media goal is based on their overall mission ‘to increase understanding and knowledge of art.’ This makes it far easier for the organisation and the members of that organisation to write content for their social media platforms.
Tate's mission is to increase public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of British, modern and contemporary art through the Collection and an inspiring programme in and well beyond our galleries.
So what might you set as your social media goals? Any suggestions? There is a page in your workshop that you can use to jott down some ideas for goals.
Pick one Social Media platform first, until you find your feet, and then you can expand. Think about how your audience would want to get involved. i.e. a 16 year old and a 60 year old will both participate in social media but in different ways, how they engage with the platforms, how they would sign up to the platforms, and what they would use it for. You could pick a particular target audience group to engage through your social media networks, to develop and engage this group. Social media platforms help you to facilitate conversations between individuals – once you get a sense of what people are talking about, you need to figure out who will talk on behalf of your museum. Social media is about people speaking to people, you want to avoid sounding like you’re marketing or on a PR mission. There is no point setting up a page and then ignoring it, it is detrimental to you and shows a lack of respect for a space that is important to some segments of your audience. You will also want to consider how you respond to comments. Responding to comments, whether positive or negative, will show your listening, that you want people’s opinions and this will build trust and social capital for your brand. Remember you want to sound human.
There are a lot of different social media and social network platforms for you to choose from, and if we were to look at each one, we would be here for another day. So I am going to look at the key players: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogging. The tips apply to every social network out there, and following part of the workshop will be based on case studies, or rather examples of what your sector is doing now with these 4 key platforms. Perhaps this will inspire you, perhaps this will confirm what you think, perhaps this will open up new possibilities…it is important to be open minded when it comes to social media.
Manchester Museum uses its facebook page primarily for posting Blog alerts. There are almost 1,000 people following the page, but little interaction. One thing I have noted is that there is little interaction or conversation on the Manchester Museum facebook page. Why do you think this might be?
Blogging obviously sits at the heart of the Manchester Museum’s social media strategy.
As you can see from their home page the blogs and twitter feed have featured prominently, facebook doesn’t make an appearance. They’re attention to social media has been directed to twitter and blogging, and they are using facebook as an alternative route to communicate this information to their audiences. By placing a link so prominently on the home page like this, means you value these elements as key to your marketing/promotion/communications strategy. This means that there would have been thought and planning involved by the Manchester Museum in deciding upon the best tools to use and the best way of communicating these messages to their audiences.
Links to their blog Promoting events Messages from visitors, potential visitors.
In this case there is a blatant advertising post here, feel free to delete these.
Much better at generating a discussion.
Right now Twitter is full of museums broadcasting events listings and press releases and in doing so they make themselves both as brands and institutions seem distant and uninviting. It is obvious to the communities who exist in this space that these institutions just don’t get it.
5 ways for Museums to use You Tube Meet the Artist, Curator, Historian etc. The TATE You Tube Channel is home to the ‘Meet The Artist’ films. They post films of artists talking about their work to coincide with exhibition openings, is a great marketing tactic and brilliant way to expand the gallery experience on the web in a way that adds to it’s audiences enjoyment of art. 2. Ask people what they think The Smithsonian Institute wanted the public to give them their opinion on what a museum in the digital age should look like. They posted a video on you tube asking people what they thought and received both text and video responses. 3. Have a crowd sourcing competition The Brooklyn Museum invited visitors to film a one minute video and upload it to youtube, as part of their Target First competition. 4. Extend the Museum As a physical space the museum has certain limitations. The Manchester Museum You Tube Channel extends what the venue can do with natural history, as well as other topics, with a series of films shot in costa rica. The Manchester Museum has approximately 340 videos on their channel, making them one of the most active institutions on this social media platform, the variety and quality of the films makes them stand out as an organisation we can all learn something from on You Tube. 5. Be Viral One of the greatest tools on You Tube is the ability to embed the films within blogs and websites. This lets people who like what you do, spread the word about your organisation.
Meet the Artist, Curator, Historian etc. The TATE You Tube Channel is home to the ‘Meet The Artist’ films. They post films of artists talking about their work to coincide with exhibition openings, is a great marketing tactic and brilliant way to expend the gallery experience on the web in a way that adds to it’s audiences enjoyment of art.
2. Ask people what they think The Smithsonian Institute wanted the public to give them their opinion on what a museum in the digital age should look like. They posted a video on you tube asking people what they thought and received both text and video responses.
Smithsonian Museums’ Call to Action.
What is crowd sourcing? Crowdsourcing refers to using lots of amatuers (your audience) to accomplish a set of goals for an organiastion. Crowdsourcing relies on volunteers primarily. These are usually fans or devotees to your organisation, or people who enjoy getting involved in finding solutions to problems. Businesses have recognised the value and benefit from utilising the pool of talent and imagination of it’s audiences/ customers, then always relying on professionals. Basically the way crowdsourcing works is simply by reaching out to an existing community, which might be your facebook community, your twitter or in this case your Youtube community, and asking them a specific question, setting a challenge or asking them to participate in something. Rather then hiring a group of professionals, this time you can take your ideas to your public, which provides you with a much richer and deeper engagement with your audiences. Using small prizes as an incentive for ideas from a large pool of ideas is a great way to motivate crowdsourcing.
In fall 2006, the museum invited film students to develop an film a short public service announcement for the Museum. This was very successful, and the following year invited their visitors to submit their own cinematic explorations of the museum. They offered prizes for first, second and third place, with the winners sharing in a visit to an artists studio, the top ten won free memberships for a year, and all top ten finalists films were screened during their Target First Saturday event.
4. Extend the Museum As a physical space the museum has certain limitations. The Manchester Museum You Tube Channel extends what the venue can do with natural history, as well as other topics, with a series of films shot in costa rica.
5. Be Viral One of the greatest tools on You Tube is the ability to embed the films within blogs and websites. This lets people who like what you do, spread the word about your organisation.
Blogging is another great free marketing tool, and a popular social media application. 77% of active internet users read blogs on a regular basis. Why do we use blogs? To build base of regular readers, subscribers and customers Human face for your business Engage with your readers Produce new content and SEO Traffic generator for your website Cost effective marketing tool. The things to talk about Your news Stories about people in your organisation Offering expertise Views on the marketplace Videos of your business or people Information about your business such as exhibitions, trade shows etc Product or service reviews Sector interviews How you work with your customers Case studies and customer testimonials
Wordpress There are hundreds of blogging platforms available for you to use, some for free some at cost. I am going to use wordpress as an example, not only because it is one of the leading blogging platforms, but also because of how integrated and streamlined the platform is to use. First there is the wordpress.org website – where you can download the software to start blogging.
Who is blogging?
The beauty of blogging is that you don’t have to be the one writing all the posts all the time.
How are you then going to handle your interactions. It is essential to think about the type of response you as an organisation will give to comments, feedback, criticisms, suggestions etc that will be left on your social media platforms. You have to talk back, responding to comments is essential in keeping that two-way conversation between your organisation and your audience going.
For instance how would you react to this post, if you worked at the Brooklyn Museum?
Negative or Positive people really like customer reviews (and they tend to trust these more then other reviews). According to one study by Internet hosting site 1&1, 4 in 10 UK shoppers rely on independent online reviews or recommendations before buying items. And 1 in 4 consumers look for customer service commitments on the store’s websites. The way people shop has changed radically and consumer behaviour certainly applies to the heritage and cultural sector. So what happens when you do receive a negative comment either on your website or through your social media networks? Embrace it! Turn the negative into something positive. This is a fantastic way of showing you have nothing to hide and realistically you can’t prevent negative comments from happening and getting out into the Ethernet nor can you please everyone. So embrace it. The advantage to being online and social is that you can respond instantly to any negative criticism, and by responding yourself you can engage in a dialogue with the commentator in the open for everyone to see. So if you can rectify a customer’s complaints or bad experience do so, and make sure it’s relatively public. Or perhaps you can highlight more positive aspects of the customers complaint, or of your business/organisation. What you want to encourage is for your positive and supportive customers/audiences to be compelled to comment themselves on the negative criticisms. Tips for handling negative comments Continually monitor online conversations for mentions of you, your organisation, your product or service. This will enable you to respond quickly to enquiries for information, to head off any potential problems and to correct misperceptions and errors. Be proactive. Consider how you can improve what you do before anyone has the opportunity to criticise it. Acknowledge their point of view and perhaps get them involved in providing a solution. After they see the effort that you have made, they may very well become an advocate. Word travels fast on social networks, so respond quickly. Having an online presence enables you to address the situation immediately, and to share its actions with key audiences before misconceptions and incorrect information can circulate widely. Don’t remove negative comments or criticisms from social media networks, do that and you’ll undermine all the good work you’ve done so far, it will only aggravate the commenter, or move the conversation elsewhere. Some comments do not warrant a response. For instance ‘Trolls’ are internet users who’s primary goal is to incite arguments and trash brands. In these cases responding only exacerbates the situation, prompting the troll to continue. Something to watch out for, but unlikely to occur. Don’t forget that a hasty reply to the commenter will have obvious implications for this particular person, but all your fans and followers will see this too. Consider this, if you have put the time and effort into cultivating an interactive relationship with your fans and followers then you may find that you don’t need to respond at all, your loyal fans will defend you. There is nothing more powerful then a customer, or audience member, responding to a complaint instead of you or your organisation.
The most important element of your social media strategy is actually the content. You can use any platform you like, facebook, twitter, blogging, podcasting, videos, but at the end of the day if you haven’t thought of the content, what you are actually going to say and do, then it is worth nothing.
You wouldn’t open an exhibition without marketing it, so your social media plan should include how you will make audiences both inside and outside your organisation aware of what you are doing.
Monitor your progress against your goals. Don’t operate in isolation from the rest of your organisation, make sure everyone is aware of what you are doing.
The most important aspect to consider when using facebook for your business or organisation is the fundamental purpose of facebook – to be social. Don’t forget that facebook was designed to keep people in touch in a light hearted, informal, interactive social manner. In order to be successful on facebook you need to think like a facebooker! The second most important aspect to remember about facebook is that when you leave a post all your fans will see this. Now I know this sounds like an obvious statement to make, and is the purpose of facebook, but remember this is happening in real time . So if you decide that Tuesday is your facebook day and you post 1 comment every hour for the duration of your working day that could amount to 7 posts, 7 posts which your fans will see all of on the same day, ultimately you’d be bombarding your fans with information, and I’m afraid that doesn’t go down well. You need to be consistent, reasonable and exciting when posting on facebook. I would recommend posting a minimum of once a day and unless there are a number of incredibly exciting items you want your fans to know about, then a maximum of 3 a day.
The office for national statistics statistical bulletin focused on Internet Access in 2010. This is what they found about internet activity. Based on a 3 month period….
eMail campaigns are becoming a fast and effective tool for marketing and audience development strategies. The benefit of email campaigns is that you can really target and structure your mail outs, which is often costly and difficult through print. You can target your emails in a variety of ways, for instance to key groups, to certain demographics, to those in certain geographic locations, or through attendance. There are hundreds of online email campaign systems you can subscribe to for free, which will allow you to design, send and track your email campaigns. Email campaigns are a viable way to grow and expand your business or organisation. So what are the benefits of email campaigns? You’re able to communicate important news to people who wouldn’t otherwise know about it. It will keep you on the minds of potential audiences, customers or participants. It can make your sales process easier and more productive if you are an online or offline seller. It helps to get people to know you in a light and informal way. It helps start conversations with your target audience.
Contrary to email campaigns of yester year, eNewsletters or eBulletins do not have to be a formal affair, rather a short and to the point email can be just as effective. So what should you write about in an email campaign? What should you share? New products, events, services, activities, etc What you are offering people. Discounts or special offers you might be running. Recommendations of products, services, activities etc. News of new partnerships or collaborations, new projects etc. Articles, blog posts and other information resources. Exhibition, event, activity launches. Surveys or requests of feedback. Things to watch out for. Make sure you are sending emails in moderation and when you have something valuable to say. Give people the chance to opt-in before you start sending emails and make sure there is a clear way for people to unsubscribe. If your sending too many, too often and unsolicited emails then you are only hurting yourself.
5 tips 1. Focus on one message per email, unless it is a newsletter. If your email is full to the brim with information it’s unlikely your reader will read everything. Also, make sure the message of your email is in the subject line. 2. Customise your message, with email campaign systems you will be able to do this automatically. Try to use the recipients name in your message for instance. People are more likely to read it if you personalise it. 3. Include a call to action in each email you send. You should clearly spell out exactly what you want your recipient to do. Make your links obvious and call attention to any special directions you provide. It is okay to be repetitive, include you call to action at the top and mention it at the end as well. 4. Use a template. Take time to customise your email, reflect the colours, fonts and other elements of your brand. Using the same email template for your messages will help your recipients recognise your business or organisation and generate greater feelings of trust. Also provide a plain text version of your message, basically an email stripped of special formatting. 5. Watch your stats. Email marketing services provide campaign statistics and analytics, this monitors the email accounts that open, click, bounce or unsubscribe to your emails. This will let you know what works and what doesn’t work. Are more of your activity announcement emails getting opened then the newsletters you send round? Should you then stick to activity announcements? To begin with try different formats and link placements to gage your success.
Once you have considered all your options and have a clear strategy in mind, then you need to pull everything together.
Which ever system you use to document your marketing tactics it is always a good idea to jot down the implementation of your eMarketing strategy. This will then enable you to think about how you are linking your tactics together.
Linking everything together so you can see clearly which tactics support which is a great way of being able to keep on top of multiple marketing tools. Select which emarketing tool will sit at the heart of your strategy, it is always a good idea to have a central hub of information, somewhere that you are always trying to get your visitors to go to. Traditionally this tends to be people’s websites, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be your blog, your facebook page, a profile on a directory, which ever tool you choose this should sit at the heart of your strategy, with everything else closely and clearly linked to it. But don’t forget that each emarketing tool can also have important links to one another too. For instance the external links that I am building could make for good content in my eNewsletters, or create an opportunity for these organisations to promote themselves through my enewsletter. My social media platforms tie directly in with my SEO and also contribute to eNewsletter content. And my analytics data helps me to develop both my SEO and website design.
Web Analytics is a great way of capturing data about how your audience and website visitors interact with your online presence, which can be filtered into your wider marketing strategy. Web Analytics collects and reports on internet data to enable you to understand and optimise your website and your visitors web use. Once you’ve got your website you’ll want to know who’s visiting it. Using analytics allows you a better insight into what your visitors and readers are doing on your site and what they are looking for.
It’s important to have a plan for reviewing your web analytics so that you can get the best out of your analysis. What your analytics will tell you Your data will allow you to recognise trends in your web traffic. For instance: Do most people visit your site at particular times? Which pages are most popular? Do your readers browse more than one page before leaving? What is the average length of time your readers stay? Do your readers come from search engines? What pages are primary exit pages for your site? Who is linking to you?
One of the most powerful website analytics tools available to you today is Google Analytics, with the relatively simple addition to your website code it is possible to monitor not only how a visitor finds your site, but how they interact once they are on it. This is in no way a definitive list of the information Google Analytics provides, however you will be able to see data on: The frequency and total number of visitors to your site through an online dashboard. The average number of page visits made by visitors, The bounce rate – the number of visitors who once landing on your website immediate leave, The number of pages viewed by visitors, and their average length of stay on the site, And the number of new and unique visitors to your site. Google Analytics are also able to breakdown where your visitors have come from, from referring sites, search engines, and direct visitors. Due to the amount of data that Google analytics generates it does come with a bit of a learning curve, which can be intimidating at first, so this section is designed to ease you into the application. How to translate this into insights? Once you’ve collected the data and have the analysis you should consider how you can improve your website. For example if you find that there is one particularly popular page that you were unaware of, you might consider adding more links to other pages or documents on your site from that page. Or if you see that most visitors arrive at your home page and then leave then you know that there is room for improvement on the home page. Consider holding a focus group with some of your web visitors (if you have their email addresses) or by asking friends or colleagues to consider how you can entice visitors to go beyond your homepage. You should always be seeking to inspire your website visitors. Making changes to your website should be a continual thing and your changes should be exciting for you and your visitors. Finally web analytics is an on-going process. Once you’ve made a change you should really track its success and effectiveness and evaluate through your web analytics.
Depending on the website service you use you will either have to manually paste the code into your website, or as demonstrated by moonfruit.com the creators have made it super simple. Just copy, paste and click OK. To enter it manually into the HTML code once you find the code snippet, copy and paste it into the bottom of your content, immediately before the </body> tag of each page you are planning to track. If you are planning on adding your Google analytics to your blog again depending on the service you use you may have to enter this manually or the creators will have streamlined the process by integrating with Google analytics, like wordpress. Google analytics offers so much information, that too cover it all here now would need an entire workshop in itself. So I’ve compiled a tip sheet to give you a better understanding of what everything means.
Your site usage stats are an excellent place to start as an overview to your website. I can see here that this example museum website has attracted almost 19,000 visitors in the last month, viewing almost 42,000 pages. But first off I am going to be most interested in the Bounce Rate, Average time spent on the site and the percentage of new visitors to the site. This will give me an immediate indication of how effective my content is, web design, and SEO. From this I can see that there is a rather high bounce rate, an average time of less then 2mins on the site per visitor, which are areas which could be improved. But the 70% new visits is very encouraging. But I can’t make any real evaluations based on this data alone, Google analytics breaks down the data it collects into 3 key areas: Visitors, Traffic source and Content. This is where Google analytics becomes invaluable.
Almost 19,000 visits and 42,000 page visits First off, looking at content, this enables us to see which pages perform well and which do not. Initially Google gives you a breakdown for your top ten pages, but you can download a full report of all your web pages. What you should be noting here is first the page views and second the average time spent on this page. Remembering that there were approximately 19,000 web visitors in this month viewing 42,000 pages, our top performing page ‘homepage’ receive a fraction of the total number of page views. Heading further down the list, the pages which I would consider most important, the ‘what’s on’ and ‘current exhibition’ pages, are not really receiving as many page views as I would like. These are the two pages which will hopefully attract online visitors to my museum offline, and my blog and ‘local things to do in the highlands’ pages are outnumbering these two in terms of visitors. To compound this the amount of time spent on the two pages demonstrates to me that there is something not working, 37 seconds for my ‘whats on’ page and 51 seconds for my ‘exhibition’ page, not a good sign.
The next section I would look at is landing and exit pages. This will give you an indication of how your users are interacting on your website. At the moment I am happy with my top landing pages, however my top exit pages tell me that perhaps people are not getting the information or the excitement they need to go deeper into the website. Seeing as my top landing page and exit page are one in the same, the home page. This will also explain the 66% bounce rate.
Traffic sources, this is a great way to find out how people are coming to know about your website. I am encouraged to see that visitors are finding me from organic searches, I can see that my SEO is working. With 75% of these visitors as new visits, this is very encouraging. It is good to see that my facebook and twitter tactics are drawing people to the website as well. Which is how I intended them to be used in the first place. And if you look at the time spent on the website, those who came from facebook spend twice as long on the website as those who come through google organic searches. However those visitors that come direct to the website spent the most time on the site, 6minutes.
Then there is a keyword analyse tool, Google is able to tell you the exact words people are using when they decided to visit your website. This is where you can check to see how well your SEO is working, but also in case there are some keywords or phrases that you are not using, which you could add to your keyword strategy. In this case I can see that My Museum, the title of my museum, is the top keyword used, and in 6 th mymuseum, all one word is also attracting visitors. In this case I might then want to consider how people might actually spell or type the name of my museum into a Google search. Adding in misspellings and different ways of spelling your museum or keywords, is as good as making sure they are all there in the correct English. This will be particularly relevant if you are attracting tourist audiences, as they might not know how to spell the names of your museum, local area, basically because it is foreign to them.
So what does all this actually mean. Based on this example information I could ascertain 3 key areas I might want to work on…
Pretty much every online application that you engage with now will offer you some form of analytics. Facebook offers you this in the form of ‘Insights’. On your page, in the left hand column, you will see under information a box labelled Insights. Clicking on see all enables you to see an overview of the way your followers interact with you on your facebook page.
You are given an overview of how many users have liked your statements, and how they interacted with you, on the monthly and daily basis. From these stats I can see that there is little if any interaction, I would probably want to look at why my comments are not particularly engaging. ADD NEW SCREENGRAB
There are currently two settings for the Facebook Insights page – the new format which we saw before, and the old. Now I am much more a fan of the old format, as it gives you a deeper insight into your followers. In this case I can see from this graph that my interactions have considerably dropped off, looking back over my facebook content I can see that I have not been posting as interesting or valuable posts, this gives me a reason for revising my social media strategy.
Like facebook, any eNewsletter solution you use will offer you an insight into how your mailing list has interacted with your content. With the basics; opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes, you can get a pretty accurate and clear indication of how well your enewsletter campaign is working. With this particular programme I can also download an excel document which will let me know exactly who opened what and what they clicked. This type of information can help you to identify your most loyal or active supporters. But can also give you an indication of the value of this enewsletter. In this case just under a third of people opened this eNewsletter, of these 45% of people clicked through to one or more of the links I included in the eNewsletter. So I can tell that the value was perceived by the recipient, which prompted them to open up the enewsletter, and that there was enough real value and content to encourage them to click through to my website. Let me ask you something, what makes you open up a eNewsletter? ENewsletter statistics only become truly valuable once you have sent out a couple of enewsletters, so you can compare and contrast your data. With this you will be able to determine what types of content attract people’s attention, if you experiment with design you will be able to tell which worked and which did not work, and lastly you can judge just how engaged your supporters actually are with your museum. The more people that open and click, the greater the commitment they have to your cause.
Once you have analysed and interpreted your data then you can call it a day, but only for then, because like marketing, emarketing is a continuous process. The information and data you are collecting should always be fed back some way or another into your emarketing strategy. To improve, grow and develop. You might be heading off into the sunset now, but remember tomorrow is another day!
eMarketing: be heard online an eMarketing workshop designed for the Highland Museum Forum
A Global Village What is the Internet? The world wide interconnection of individual networks operated by governments, industry, academia and private parties. Date Number of Users % of World Population December 1995 16 million 0.4% March 2000 304 million 5.0% December 2005 888 million 13.9% December 2008 1,574 million 23.5% December 2009 1,802 million 26.6% September 2010 1,971 million 28.8%
Getting Started: Website Development Thinking Caps On…
How do you envisage your website?
What do you hope to achieve with your website?
Who do you want to visit your website?
In other words what are your… VISION, AIMS, & AUDIENCE
Exercise One Workbook: ‘Vision, Aims, Audience’
Vision What do you want your visitors to think of you? What is the lasting impression you want to leave with your visitors? What are the long-term aspirations of your website? Conveyed through good website development & design
Aims What is it you want your visitors to do on your website? What do you want to achieve through your website? Conveyed through good website design
Audience Who are you wanting to attract to your website? Why should they visit your website? Where are they coming from? Conveyed through good website promotion & use of analytics
What makes a good website? Brand Key elements Little touches Ease
Capture and communicate the value and benefit your providing visitors. Make an immediate connection when visitors enter your site. Be consistent with your overall brand and communications. Create a beautiful, professional and highly- functional experience. Your Brand needs to…
The little touches that have high impact. What separates your website from everyone else’s? The little touches…
User Ease Organised and intuitive navigation structure. Multiple ways to access one piece of information. Making it easy for your visitors and for yourself. Manageability A Content Management System Ability to make changes and updates without the need of an IT expert. Is it Easy…
What online elements work really well for your web visitors? What would you change about your website now? Exercise two What first impression will your website make?
Content management systems What is a content management system? CMS is a tool that enables a variety of technical and non-technical staff to create, edit, manage and finally publish a variety of content, whilst being constrained by a centralised set of rules, processes and workflows that ensure coherent, validated electronic content.
Some Examples… Consider… Where or What is your attention drawn to? Is this a good thing? What has interested you about this website? What do you think makes this an effective/ ineffective website? What impression do you have of the museum and the museum team? Do you want to visit this museum yourself?
Segment and Target Disseminate Information Sign up to Mailing List Group visit the Museum What do your visitors want? International Tourists Local Residents Secondary Schools What’s On, Directions, Local Information Upcoming events, Local news, Offers Day Trips, Workshops, Tours, Educational Value
Exercise three Workbook: ‘Matching Audiences and Offerings’
Do people know who you are well enough to search for you?
Do Search Engines know you well enough to recommend you?
What have you done to get noticed?
“ If I built it, they will come”
So What is Search Engine Optimisation? The process of increasing and improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website through natural or organic searches. A simple activity of ensuring your website can be found in Search Engines when people use words and phrases relevant to what your site is offering.
Search Engine Spiders… CONTENT META TAGS HEADINGS IMAGES LINKS SITEMAPS TITLE TAGS
Exercise four Workbook: ‘What are my Keywords?’
3. Grouping Your Keywords Museums Scotland Heritage Museum Highlands Holidays in Scotland Things to do in Scotland Scottish Tourism School Trips School Heritage Trips Museum Trips Schools Learning Exhibitions Events Showcases Displays
Keyword Density The Museum is ideally sited in the middle of the shoreline, and the museum has been visited by hundreds and thousands of people, including numerous school groups, since the museum opened in 1986. The entire museum is on one level and is an accessible venue for the disabled. The museum tells fascinating stories which have been discovered around the area and has many museum artefacts on display. The museum also explores the remarkable geological and environmental circumstances of the area. The stories told at the museum are international: particularly involving Dutch, French, German and Danish history, so visitors from abroad are particularly welcome. This museum is a unique museum with helpful, friendly staff and an excellent museum gift shop that is well worth a visit.
Keyword Density formula Number of times a Keyword or Phrase Occurs Total Words 100 ( ) X = KEYWORD DENSITY
The Museum is ideally sited in the middle of the shoreline, and the museum has been visited by hundreds and thousands of people, including numerous school groups, since the museum opened in 1986. The entire museum is on one level and is an accessible venue for the disabled. The museum tells fascinating stories which have been discovered around the area and has many museum artefacts are on display. The museum also explores the remarkable geological and environmental circumstances of the area. The stories told at the museum are international: particularly involving Dutch, French, German and Danish history, so visitors from abroad are particularly welcome. This museum is a unique museum with helpful, friendly staff and an excellent museum gift shop that is well worth a visit. Keyword Density
10 SEO techniques all great websites should use #1 Title Tags
Dear Ms. Alphabeth, [ always use the person’s real name if you have it ], I’ve greatly enjoyed looking through your museum website, especially the “Artefact of the Month” photos. I have a website on a related subject and I think it might be of interest to your readers. It’s “Museums in the Highlands”, this site provides a detailed lists of museums in the Highlands. The page is located at www.museumsinthehighlands.com [ use the exact URL that you want the site to link to ]. I thought a good place on your site to link from would be on your “links” page, here: www.examplemuseumwebsite.com/links [ use the exact URL that you hope the site will link from ]. Here is a description that you can use if you like: Museums in the Highlands The definitive list of Museums in the Highlands of Scotland. I hope you find this link appropriate and useful. We at Museums in the Highlands would certainly appreciate a link from your site. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Sincerely, Margo Museum Web Marketing Manager, Museums in the Highlands [ Use your full name, title, and if possible, use an email address from the site requesting the link.]
10 SEO techniques all great websites should use #9 Social media
10 SEO techniques all great websites should use #10 A Few SEO Tips
Ignore the Spam!
What are you waiting for?
They’ll come to you.
Flash = No SEO.
Don’t ignore me.
Linking from Directories http://www.museums.co.uk/
Keeping in Touch: Email campaigns 90% of people sent or received an Email. 75% searched for information on goods and services. 51% read or downloaded online news, newspapers or magazines 45% listened to web radio or watched web television 43% posted messages to chat sites, social networking and blogs 40% played or downloaded games, images, film or music 38% uploaded self created content to a website to be shared 32% looked for information on learning, education and training 21% sold goods or services over the internet 12% donated to charities online. Office For National Statistics, Statistical Bulletin: Internet Access 2010
Which of your target groups are these tactics designed for
How often will these tactics take place
Who will manage these tactics
How will these tactics support one another
What will your response time be to comments/ emails
Emarketing implementation plan eMarketing Tactic: My Museums Facebook Page Person Responsible: Marketing Manager Tool: Facebook Description: A social network to bring fans and supporters, visitors and friends of My Museum together, to share information, links, news, opportunities, and events with one another. Objective: Facebook page to create an online community of supporters, to communicate news, exhibitions and events, start conversations and discussions about heritage in Scotland and engage people in a light and friendly way. Required Completion Date: January 2011 Resources Needed/ Acquired: N/A Audience Group(s):
Local Teenagers (14 years to 19 years)
Local Adults (20 years plus)
Visitors to the Museum
Update Frequency: Minimum of 3 posts per week. Tactics Linked to: Website, eNewsletter, Postcards Response Time: Comments: Response within a day (week days) Response within 2 days (weekends) Date: DD/MM/YY Comments: 4/12/2010: Facebook page needs a good photograph for the profile picture. Date: DD/MM/YY Status: 03/12/2010: Attended a workshop on social media to understand how to establish an effective page. 04/12/2010: Set up a Facebook profile for the museum.
Exercise five Workbook: ‘eMarketing Implementation’
website SEO Keywords Page Titles Site Maps Social media Facebook Page Twitter Stream Flickr , Youtube, Blog Links Museums Tourist attractions Local shops Web Design Call to Actions Photos Visitor Comments eNewsletter Bi-monthly to visitors Bi-monthly for schools Analytics Monthly review – Google, Facebook, eNewsletter Emarketing Strategy
Once Everything is linked together…. Are you actually going anywhere?
Insights into Your Audience Web Analytics is a great way of capturing data, you would not normally be able to capture, on your online audiences.
How they got there and where they came from.
What pages they went to.
What they clicked, downloaded, viewed.
What they bought.
- How they interact with you.
How to use web analytics effectively Do most people visit your site at particular times? Which pages are most popular? Do your readers browse more than one page before leaving? What is the average length of time your readers stay? Do your readers come from search engines? What pages are primary exit pages for your site? Who is linking to you?