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Top 10 tips #5 - Call to Action: make it easy!!

Posted by: on Friday, July 29, 2011

A call to action can either be a button or a text link you want your web visitors to click on. Easier said than done, especially if you don't apply the basic rules that produces better results. Often time on a non profit website, I see them hidden somewhere or just hard to find. Below are few rules to follow when your design the layout of your site:

  1. Make it clear & selft evident (Grandma test)
    Here is a way I teach people to find out if they did it right: ask grandma to look at your website and ask her to point out where or what to click on to renew/purchase/get more info. If she tells you where they are within 10-20 seconds, you nailed it. Anything above 20 seconds is starting to be a concern, if more than a minute before grandma finds the button, then time to start over. FYI: the test works just as well with Grandpa!!
      
  2. Donation in one stop checkout
    Studies shows that a complicated or multi step donation process will increase your chances that people will abandon the transaction by more than half. So fast & easy is the way to go. One stop check-out is the best way to go: Donation button should be self evident (i.e. Grandma found it in 2 seconds), when I click on it, a simple form should appear asking me how much I want to donate, then ask for contact info & credit card info, then click/process & done. I see too many non profit websites with complicated or multi step process to collect donations. Apply those simple steps and see your donations increase!
       
  3. No account sign up required
    A survey was recently conducted that showed that most people find it annoying to have to sign up in order to do something. They just want in, get their stuff & get out. This also results in many people leaving your site. The question should be: "do we really have to have them sign an account?"

  4. Use real people images vs. graphics
    Human face gets better results than a graphic anyday. People relate to others. In tests, the picture of Jason got as much as 50% more clicks than the graphic



  5. Short forms is best
    Organizations & business have the tendency to ask way too much stuff up front on their online forms, as in they are pre-qualifying people before they are even talking to them. You should really only ask the basic info required to know how to get a hold of them (i.e. Name, Phone, Email), your pre-qual should be done over the phone while starting to build a relationship. Asking too much on the online form will be a turn off for many.

  6. Get started vs Click here
    Some test were done that shows that buttons with "Get Started" vs "Click Here" will produce better results, in some cases 40% more clicks. The words on the buttons matter more than you think. Maybe "Click here" occurs as a form of domination and subconsciously is a turn off....who knows, but in any case words make a difference, choose the right one and you will increase your results.

  7. Choose the right color buttons
    Another test showed that a red button will consistenly get better results as the green one (see below). It's most likely because it pops out of the page better than a green one. A red button will also occur as most likely more important. Use the right color button and increase your results.

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Top 10 tips #4 - Optimize your content

Posted by: on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

 

A non profit website has to make all search engines happy. Search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo look at two things when they decide who to show on the first page. They look at the context and the authority. The context is what's happening on each page of your non profit website, and the authority is how important your website is on the internet.

Search Engine Optimization for Non Profit WebsitesBelow are few tips to help you optimize your website:

  • Define your keywords
    One of the mistake we commonly see if people trying to compete for highly competitive keywords instead of looking for opportunities. When you do an analysis, I would recommend you look for high traffic with lower competition and establish yourself there instead of trying with everybody else to compete for the top keywords. Look for the opportunity!

  • There are plenty of free & low cost tools on the market to choose from:
    • Google Keywords search tools (free)
      Great to identify your top 10 keywords.

    • Google Analytics (free)
      Will analyze your traffic and tell you what people do when they land on your site. It will also tell you what keywords lead you to your site.

    • ScribeSEO (starts at $17/month)
      This is one of the best value software and we highly recommend it. Install the plug-in directly into the text editor of your webpages, blogs, news articles, etc and click on the button to analyze the content. The analysis will tell you exactly what's missing to be 100% optimize, make the corrections and voila!! Our CMS is already configured to work with the plug-in and the set up takes about 3mn and is free to our clients.

    • Website Grader (free)
      There are few tools on the market but the websitegrader.com is probably one of the easiest one to use. Simply enter your domain name, the url of a competing organization, your email address and it will send you a report of how your website is doing
Remember that optimizing your website is not very hard once you know what to do, but can be very time consuming. Large organizations will often time, have a dedicated staff to work on optimization only. I know of a person working for a large non profit organization where her job is to work exclusively on their blog and social networking presence on the internet. That's it. So considering hiring someone to help you with this may not be a bad idea unless you can spare 2-4 hours a week on optimizing your site.

Next blog, we'll cover Tip #5: Call to Action - Make it easy!!


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Top 10 tips #3 - Use quality graphics & images

Posted by: on Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top 10 tips #3 - Only use quality graphics & images on your non profit website

  • Use a small image or graphic to support the content
    Non Profit Website Quality GraphicsSince we are now aware that most people don't read all the content, a small image will most likely attract their attention. A small image in a good quality & resolution will help in keeping people engaged on your website. Only text is a recipe for them to move on. A rule of one small image per page is good, don't over do it with images all over the place.

  • They'll forget the words but will remember the images
    Spend a few bucks on getting nice quality images that were professionally taken. A quality image will have a much longer impact in their memory than any of the words posted on your site.

  • Remember to insert a description for each image
    Each image should have a description, also known as an "alt tag". This is very helpful with search optimization. All your images are indexed by the search engines and an description inclduing your name will only help you. You can also add an image "title" which will add a small box over the image when you mouse over it (try it on the image on this blog to see what I mean)

  • Make sure to use licensed images only
    Taking images from the web is "no big deal" right? Well, the day you'll receive an email from the owner of the images posted on your website claiming royalties and asking for damages, you will think differently. Note that some of these claims are bogus, nonetheless, you would better off simply paying a few bucks for images. We used iStock to purchache the image of the little guy with the camera, cost: $1.50 and we can use this how we want and are now protected with a license on the image.

Next blog, we'll cover Tip #4: Easily optimize your content.

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Top 10 tips #2 - Improve the Content of your Website

Posted by: on Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tip #2: Improve the content of your non profit website
  • More than just a few pages
    Improve the content of your website Did you know that some of the major search engines will not index a website unless it has 10 pages of content? Non profit websites with less than that, have little chances of showing in the search engines. An easy way to fix that is to start a blog which will add lots of content over time. You can also add helpful content for visitors: Top 10 tips...., What to do when....., FAQ's, etc (read: content, getting it right)

  • Tell a story
    Avoid the marketing speak anywhere you can, most people nowadays won't read it anyway. Try instead telling a compelling story: the why you do what you do. Everybody is most effective, best in class, outstanding service, excellent, affordable and blah blah blah. It would be refreshing and interesting if your non profit website had more of a human touch. (read: Four new signals with search engines)

  • Page titles & opening paragraph
    Page titles are really important with search optimization, they need to include keywords and be compelling. Same goes with the opening paragraph, most people won't read past that anyway, make it count.

  • Keyword rich
    Find out what are your 10-20 keywords for your organization. You can either hire a professional or use Google Keyword to identify the 10-20 keywords that best describe how someone would find you. Notice that I didn't say how you describe yourself, but how people will refer to you as. For example, the local chamber may use "City Name Chamber of Commerce" as a keyword but they would be missing the point. People would most likely be looking for "Business networking" or "Business growth" or several versions of this keyword. Once you have identified your keywords, add them to your page titles & opening paragraph....don't over do it, it will look weird. Be strategic.
    tell a story
  • Half page format
    Best format is less is more, people don't read anyway. Half page is plenty, include several bullets to highlight your offering/services/information and include one small picture to convey the words in an image.

  • Call to action
    Study shows that "Get Started" will get better results than "Register", "Click Here" gets more clicks that "Submit" and a "Red" button will also get more clicks than a "Green or Blue" button. I don't know why, it just does.
Next blog, we'll cover Tip #3: Use quality images & graphics
 
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