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Developing Effective Content for the Web

Lori Halley 16 January 2007 3 comments

Your content – and how you present it – is a vital piece of the puzzle in selling yourself on the Web. You may have a very nice looking and sleek site, but if the writing on it isn’t concise, easy-to-read and relevant, visitors might only take a look at it once and never come back. Here are a few ideas to attract visitors, and keep them returning to your Web site on a regular basis:

Tell your story and know your niche

Let your visitors know clearly what you represent: put up your mission statement, historical background, testimonials, and information about your staff and board of directors. Personalize it as much as possible. Tell stories about your accomplishments, but keep in mind the old saw: what’s in it for your users?

Also, be sure to make any information you post as media friendly as possible: put up press releases and content-specific items with relevant contact information on them. Submit your press releases to relevant niche-market news sites on the Web, if any exist.

Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When writing copy for the Web, you run a better chance of being discovered by search engines run by Google and Yahoo! if you use keywords that are specific to your organization. The easier you are to find in search engine directories, the more likely visitors are going to come to your site.

However, you should refrain from overusing keywords as this can drive people away. A good rule of thumb is that if your content sounds funny when you read it out loud, you’ve probably used a word a few too many times. Try to use similar words and synonyms, instead.

Allow others to share stories with you

Have a section of your Web site where they can share their stories with you. Consider creating a wiki, a photo-sharing site, or another means of allowing people to share information, dependant upon your needs. (Wikis are a great tool, for instance, if you are hosting a conference and you want your participants to sign up, make their own announcements, and later share information like PowerPoints they presented at the conference.)

Create two-way content: again, don’t preach to the converted. Show people that you are interested in sharing and working together with other organizations.

Experiment with new technologies

If you are willing to make an extra investment in time and money, try developing videocasts or podcasts to augment your message on your Web site. This may be a helpful strategy in targeting youth, in particular.

Developing video or audio content probably isn’t a make or break proposition right now, as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) reports that we are perhaps still a decade away from widespread adoption. However, as the technology to produce and listen to niche-market casting gets cheaper and more prevalent, these may become more and more effective way of getting your message out there.

Experimenting with these technologies also makes you look cutting-edge and participatory, which may help with your marketing and branding as well. Keep an eye on emerging technologies, to see if they may help your organization attract more donors.

For more information and ideas, please consult Todd Baker’s e-book Non-Profit Websites: Cutting Through The E-maze (in PDF form).

This post is from contributing writer Zachary Houle, who has been published in SPIN magazine, Canadian Business, The National Post and the book, TVParty!: Television’s Untold Tales. He was nominated for a U.S. Pushcart Prize for his writing, and also received an arts grant from the City of Ottawa in 2005 to complete a short story collection.

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 7:00 AM


  • philanthropyOz Blog » IT in the Nonprofit Sector said:

    Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 3:52 PM
  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Tuesday, 29 May 2007 at 9:29 AM

    Kim Krause Berg from the Cre8pc Blog has a great article about website usability (making your site easy

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Tuesday, 03 July 2007 at 6:14 AM

    Today marks a special day for the Wild Apricot team - it's a one year birthday for our product and our

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