Revised with new information October 16, 2017


A free resource for nonprofit organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations,
public sector organizations, and other mission-based agencies

Jayne Cravens, www.coyotecommunications.com

 


Marketing A Web Site:
Suggestions for Nonprofits, NGOs, Government Agencies
& other Mission-Based Organizations


 
"If you build it, they will come" does not apply to Web sites. How will you get people to visit your marvelous online information if they don't know about it?

One simple way to drive people to your site that too many organizations don't do: as noted elsewhere, the full name of your organization needs to be on your home page and on your "about us" page, even if the name of your organization is incorporated in your logo. The full name of your agency should appear somewhere on your home page, as text, so that your web site can be found by search engines, and therefore shows up when someone uses a search engine to find your organization.

Your location and keywords are also important to have, as text, on your home page and your "about us" page. For instance, if you are an animal shelter in Forest Grove, Oregon, or Washington County, Oregon, you want people looking for an animal shelter in that city or county in Oregon to be able to find you, via a search engine such as Google. But they can't if you don't have these words on at least your home page and "about us" page: Forest Grove, Washington County, Oregon, animal, shelter, dogs, cats, strays, adoption, etc.

Ensuring that you have your organization's full name, the acronym your organization uses, and appropriate keywords on your web site helps with search engine optimization (SEO). Updating content frequently also helps with SEO, because it keeps search engines crawling back. Adding relevant keywords to a web page's title tag and meta description, will also improve SEO.

In addition, you need an ongoing, integrated approach to market your web site and get more visitors: promoting the web site at a nonprofit organization, NGO, school or other mission-based organization is everyone's task, from the person who answers the phone to the executive director. The more valuable your web site is for your organization's donors, volunteers, other supporters, potential supporters, clients and the general public, the more effective your marketing efforts will be. Also, you don't just want new visitors; you want RETURN visitors.

In reading this advice, notice that the most effective marketing strategies for your web site actually don't have as much to spending money as they do with a mindset that must permeate your organization -- every staff member must feel ownership in the web site and see exactly how it serves not only the entire organization, but his or her department or division of work in particular.

People find a web site for a nonprofit organization for a variety of ways:

Offline Marketing

Offline marketing of your web site is JUST AS IMPORTANT as online marketing of your site:

 
Online Marketing

More than half of a charity's ranking on Web search engines is based on links outside the organization's site, according Eric Werner, an interactive marketing specialist at Northridge Interactive, speaking at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference, who noted, "Search engines treat those links like votes." In addition, 22 percent of a web page's ranking on search engines like Google and Bing is based on the words in the hyperlink on both the group's own site and others. These two facts are as true now as they were when they were made. Therefore:

Monitor, if you can (via tracking software, online questionnaires, etc.), the number and type of people visiting your site, what pages they are visiting most (other than the home page), what days of the week or month most people are visiting, what they find most valuable, etc. This can help you see how successful your marketing efforts are, and where adjustments need to be made.

Keep Visitors Coming Back

Don't just market to new visitors; market to return visitors as well! There are a number of ways to do this:

The key to successful Internet marketing is to accept that it is a never-ending, integrated process. New web sites and online discussion groups emerge and disappear regularly. You need to track with regular searches new sites with whom to link and new lists on which to announce your organization and its service. To market efficiently and effectively online your entire staff has to immerse itself, at least to some degree, in using the Internet regularly as part of their work.

Other marketing resources:

Other resources from other web sites:
 

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