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?
Read with interest an article published on how Social Media has affected collaboration among Software Developer communities.
It’s being called the “Agile Age.”
What’s interesting to me is that it’s been my experience that the methods used by developers and engineers eventually percolate down to the rest of us. For instance, in the 80’s as an engineer myself, I was utterly dependent on BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) for support. And then BBS’s showed up in all sorts of places — Gardening communities, Radio Controlled Model Airplane nuts, every area of interest had one.
And I can see some of this happening again in Social Media– as a consultant, I’m ever more aware that my work depends upon diverse resources, near-instant responses and all of this across a variety of appliances (from desktops to tablets and phones.)
Social Media and Responsive webs are making this all possible.
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.
If you’re unable to attend, you can follow the proceedings online at the site during the event. As we go, we’ll post photos, perhaps short videos, new questions and answer them – 2-4PM Wednesday June 25th.
CherryIntermedia.com is an InterWestIT live-blogging web property. Search Engine discovery is discouraged, viewers arrive by invitation.The discussion will continue through August. Event posts will be archived and removed after 8/1/2014.
Thank you for enjoying it with us. You’re welcome to share the Event Blog with others who may be interested. Discretion appreciated.
This event and associated website, the subject matter to be discussed — all revolve around what can be accomplished with free (or very inexpensive) tools online.
A certain segment of readers prefer this channel, and we are responding by clarifying this aspect of our Web Presence.
Unfortunately, this abandons all of the search history and page ranking afforded the prior brand. Check this out by Googling “CherryIntermedia.” One would think that Facebook would be “smart enough” to redirect the traffic, to the new brand. But alas, evidently not. I’m still looking to see if there might be a means to accomplish this, but it doesn’t look good…
Appreciate the observant comments on this in the past. Tons, actually. It was an experiment to see if any of this really mattered. Results indicate they do!
We’ve encountered the same issues in the past and managed through them with Client brands — the results have changed with time of course. This report has meaning only at this juncture — if you’re reading this at some point in the future, you’d be wise to re-investigate the redirection issue before rebranding.
The other day I reasoned in a post that during the first 20 years of the internet, top careers emerged based on the technology itself. I cited the path of “Oracle Systems Administrator” — but this can be applied to Cisco products as well as Microsoft, among so many others.
It’s important to begin at a high level and drill down on this subject because history is worth learning from… bear with the review?
An inference is that the next 20 years will draw upon machine layers and we should expect careers to emerge that will ride atop the technology. Heard this all before? Doubt it?
To an extent the News Industry has already experienced these changes. Reporting is no longer what it was 10 years ago. Editing certainly has changed and delivery perhaps the most.
Businesses will experience a similar change. In the past — a static web site with contact information was perhaps a sufficient, credible presence on the internet. Periodic “refreshments” even “forklift” upgrades were funded and written off as “capital” investment.
This means that a Corporate Web Presence investment moves more from that static asset category into one operating in EBITDA. It’s a huge implication — and one that will require skill demonstrating value continuously. Not just once in a while, and when the pain is so great the Company has to react (like do a forklift upgrade to a website.)
Social Media is being developed by the big Channels as much as search was colonized by Google. You’ll notice that Google has taken Social Media very seriously. They’ve developed competing products.
So in a future discussion, I’ll delve into where the opportunities lie. But to summarize — the near term situation is “Break – Fix.” And the longer term involves sophisticated strategy and management of client Web Presences. And in there — is a next generation of services for SMB IT Consultants.
Also in a future discussion — what the heck is SMO? Social Media Optimization? Against what metric?!