An open letter based on dialogue with an agency we did some volunteer work for recently…
So! You registered a domain and directed traffic to a WordPress or Wix (wherever) website. Perhaps you’ve even built Facebook pages and are thinking about Twitter.
You’ve established a toe-hold in the process… consider these thoughts as you pursue development of your Web Presence.
If you’re an NGO/NPO — you’ll always need to design from the perspective of Succession Planning. If you use personal tools, it will be clumsy to transition to the next volunteer or director. Generic identities built upon email forwards and list management tools online like MailChimp.com or EventBrite.com are indispensable.
For an NGO / NPO – the identity of the franchise drives development of all of the web properties and this branding needs to be consistent across all aspects of internet tools. NOT those of the leader — their personal style and character evaporate after they leave.
Facebook will require a bit of fitting before implementation and small bit of effort to connect, and then some instruction on publication / use. There are some “agency” best practices operating for NGO/NPO — that helps answer the successor issue. We shouldn’t be using personal page login credentials but be posting as the Page. — I know, confusing.
Learning the fundamentals of page and post attributes and using the media library, the CMS, and other page content / menu processes will require effort.
Content generation and refinement for the Static pages is not urgent, but it’s critical — long run. If your English isn’t excellent, you’ll want to find a good, fast copy editor.
If you’re considering a Twitter feed, same subset of issues as Facebook.
A weekly rhythm of posting should begin just prior to site “Launch”
In all these cases and others, the site needs to reflect your vision.
So, these Items require an investment of time. Put in the hours that will result in a significantly disruptive change for you – something people will notice and be moved to follow. Bear in mind, you’re moving from never operating a web presence to launching a really good one.
So what, in a nutshell, do you intend to accomplish with your site? Begin with that clearly in view, and you’ll move the ball forward.
I know your schedule is cramped. And as site owner, the initiative to push ahead / timeline is yours to manage. A consultant can help!
Launch: At some point you’ll want to consider what kind of a “Launch” you want.
“soft launch” is normal — just go live (toggle out of sandbox mode) and circulate email.
But also, your launch could be optimized into a full-blown media blitz, with count-down clock culminating in cocktail hour and live event push with a tight focus on snagging followers / subscribers in the moment. These can be really fun and generate buzz.
Embed an EventBrite widget sell tickets to fundraise — the app can be used to manage your email contacts list and capture new ones.
A couple of months is a good planning horizon.
By the way, your launch method can be a combination / some measure of both.
Email campaigns – there is a whole range of list management and contact / relationship tools you should begin to incorporate – principally owing to your diligent consideration of successor planning in the NGO/NPO space. Your personal contacts can’t be readily “handed off” — and retain any sense of history. This is an area you should find some time to address. A consultant can help.
Conversely, it’s worth mentioning – by realizing these simple facts – that you haven’t spent a great deal of money, and very few even know you’ve begun. Therefore, if the bubble of work required to satisfactorily accomplish an attractive / professional presence isn’t feasible — you’re not harmed so much if you just let things go.
But you could be harmed if your site is launched and is full of errors (text, for instance – nothing is more off-putting to contributors and sponsors than poor use of English.)
In some cases – consultants are asked to use their experience / awareness of your context and best practices in your space to set things up. Then folks live with it for a few seasons. A consult can be responsive to your needs and will / can continue to do so if you feed content to them, and help iterate improvements so that your vision is reflected.
We strongly suggest you find an intern / volunteer that can assume some or all of the content creation and maintenance aspects. Now is an excellent time to appoint that person into the role. Who within your membership has a son or daughter in HS or fresh out of college?
If for some reason clients can identify a legitimate reason the enterprise tools can’t work, or be extended… we’ll start looking at self-hosted or other combinations of services.
Well, in June Google announced that premium features will be added to basic accounts. These new features go into effect in a few days.
This is the text of the “go live” announcement we received this morning:
As we announced on June 16, the advanced capabilities and admin controls known as Google+ premium features will become standard for our existing business, government, and education customers. This change will take place the week of July 23.
After the change, these controls and capabilities will no longer be called premium features. The premium features setting will also be removed from the Admin console.
If you use Hangouts on Air (HOA), you might’ve noticed that enabling premium features disables HOA. To continue using HOA, just do one of the following:
Before July 23, proactively enable premium features for your domain, then re-enable HOA.
After premium features become the new default, enable HOA. Visit the Google Apps Help Center to learn more about Google+ premium features.
The fees are minimal. $5/mo per account to start. Amazing, right?
Okay but here’s something you should consider – Google is advancing the end-to-end messaging security thing. Right now if you communicate within Google’s servers, your email is secure. Our understanding is that it’s transparent — but message encryption/decryption is already in place. That’s a big thing.
So if your enterprise is hosted at GHS, you’re starting from secure. That’s step one.
I always appreciate when my clients or others — take time to build pages in their websites that describe services, offers and products. For the rare (sometimes exceedingly rare) diligent site visitor, the effort conveys quite a bit of information about you and your business.
So we appreciate the effort it took to generate all of the information, and the process you went through to develop each idea. And so there the value exists — that you’re organized and are telling a well-developed story.
Somehow you’ll have to remember to keep them “fresh”, but that’s another subject.
If the content had been produced as Posts, rather than static pages — and published over time, you’d have had incurred some benefit in Social Media. Followers, almost certainly. But also cross-links and the Search interplay among those channels. You can still do this — Post about these subjects and you should! — and link your posts back to each of the pages, etc. This is an excellent beginning … this method works well.
As static pages — the material has essentially no value on the internet. Perhaps, though – as reference material for interested parties who you invite directly (like by giving a business card or directing to a url in a phone call) – they might find them compelling.
Eventually static pages will be crawled by search ‘bots, indexed and featured in results — but you’ll discover that they are so down-ranked as to never likely receive organic traffic.
Here’s the deal — After coming to the site via one landing page or another — people seldom visit more than 2 or three static pages in any given web. Among those: About, Contact & Services receive 75% of those clicks. With the emerging prevalence of mobile appliances this is exacerbated and time on-site further diminished.
Strong calls to action on each page are critical. Putting a phone number right up front isn’t a bad idea. I recently conceded this issue, myself. And this has mostly to do with an increasing volume of mobile visitors who’s attention is even more reduced.
What do you want the visitor to do? “Call” of course — but some of the other words (like I use on this site) — Learn, Get, Explore, Demystify (came from a friend, I recall) are helpful.
You’re to be commended in one very important area — that each of these pages is a natural “landing page” for narrowly defined pay per click advertising.
So: You’re well positioned to benefit from a certain level of sophistication in a Google Adwords marketing campaign. Google always has offers are available — often you can begin for free, to see what happens. Once recently Adwords gave away $300 for new accounts. That sum might generate 150 quality clicks — perhaps 5 of which might net you a phone call. A hurdle many face is that your space is full of big spenders. There are means of getting around this, that’s why I said “Sophisticated.”
An investment in advertising might be a vehicle you should consider.
Don’t attempt this on your own, unless you have budget to spend that you need to waste.
Reading through my feeds, I see recent posts from various sources that Google, Facebook and others are beginning to realize that:
Server to Server encryption of Email messages is never going to be secure.
TLS (Transport Layer Security) – a minimal implementation that allows servers to converse and exchange messages more securely — is not adopted in a high percentage of email servers across the internet. Something in excess of 40% of Email servers don’t answer this protocol.
What can be done?
For starters: Personal Encryption.
See this Wikipedia Article for some remedial reading — we all need to understand this layer of engineering language. Relax, there’s lots of pictures.
I’m committed to bringing this topic to the blog on a regular basis. We’ll try to keep track of what’s being done, and how to easily adopt the best practices.
My forecast is that Services — Google to Facebook, many others will adopt a paradigm that supports personal encryption in various layers — including service to service. At least you’d know, if you’re sharing credentials and info between a Blog, Facebook and Google (as I do now) that those channels would be secure. This is big iron taking seriously our privacy needs.
I could have posted yesterday on this, but actually thought it wise to let things settle. Somebody might change their mind again, you know?
Just to be certain: The issue exists with MS IE v6 through 11 browsers. If you’re using this software, cease doing so. Wait of the patches to come out. Access the internet with Chrome, Firefox, Safari … until further news develops.