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8 Ideas To Promote Your Association's Website

Lori Halley 11 October 2007 9 comments

Did you know that most visitors leave a website within 10 seconds of landing on the home page? And they may never return to the same site. What's worse is going though all the trouble of creating a professional association web site that nobody comes to visit!

To keep your website visitors stay longer, you need to engage them. Here are 8 free tools to drive traffic to your website: 

Free Tool #1: Blog

Weblogs or "blogs" are websites that take the form of online journals, that can be easily updated for Web users to read. A blog is the absolutely easiest way to provide regularly updated information to your members. The key to a successful association blog is to make it fun and interesting. Fresh blog posts covering upcoming association activities and industry-related happenings keep members coming back to your site to check for new content. Visit Blogger.com to get started.

Here are a few examples of nonprofit blogs:

(And do not forget that Wild Apricot has a built-in blog module!)

Free Tool # 2: Podcasts / Vodcasts

Podcasts and vodcasts (video podcasts) are a great way to reach out to members and serves as a benefit to new members who may have missed that great speaker or event. All that is required are basic tools for clear audio, basic mixing and editing – and most of these tools can be obtained online for free. Check out Techsoup’s article on how to record, edit, and promote a podcast to get started. Turn to Britt Bravo's 7 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Podcasts for tips and ideas.

Here are a few examples of association podcasts/vodcasts:

Free Tool # 3: RSS

RSS stands for "Rich Site Summary" or "Really Simple Syndication". Simply put, it is a way to deliver frequently changing web content. By plugging links into something called an RSS feed reader or aggregator, your visitors can retrieve the newest content offerings from your website while saving the time it takes to visit each site. Many RSS feed readers are available, and they all allow you to display content for reading at your leisure. To find out more about RSS, read this article. Make sure that your website offers RSS feeds where relevant - typical examples are blog and news pages, event pages.

Free Tool #4: Polls

Incorporating polls into your web site is a great way to engage and connect with your visitors. Polldaddy.com provides its users with near limitless features at no cost. The service is ad-free and you can create a poll and customize it to fit into your site design. Check out polldaddy widget on Wild Apricot's blog (in the right column).

Free Tool # 5: Surveys

Similar to Polldaddy, SurveyMonkey.com gives you the ability to post free surveys on your Web page to help you connect with and understand those visiting your site. The free service allows users to add logos and banners, change colors and customize in many different ways. Basic subscribers are limited to a total of 10 questions and 100 responses per survey. The basic subscription is free. If you want to go beyond 100 respondents, and up to 1000 and gain access to many more features, there is a cost.

Free Tool #6: Tell-a-Friend link

Make sure that all your email newsletters and articles contain a link that can be used by the visitor to send to a friend. In other words, make your site forward friendly. Including a Tell-a-Friend link is a very effective way to get new visitors to your website.

Free Tool #7: Flickr

Flickr is an easy-to-use online photo-sharing site that uses tags to facilitate finding people and photos. Encourage your members to share their event and meeting photos by posting them to Flickr and tagging them with key terms related to your event. In addition, you can add these photos to your site, along with interesting and updated content – plus, photos are a huge traffic draw, so you’ll be guaranteed some extra member visitors.

Good Examples:

See also our earlier post: Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Flickr to Reach New Audiences

Free Tool #8: Social Networking Sites

Facebook and MySpace provide a tremendous tool for driving traffic to your website. Besides using them to keep in touch with your friends, they are very effective networking tool for associations and other nonprofits to create awareness and connect with their community. You can also use them to publicize an event, raise awareness for a cause, or promote your blog. With MySpace you can enlist and create weblogs and photo galleries, make unique designs to the MySpace template for a more personal look to their individual pages, and above all connect with other people.

Take a look at the Humane Society's Facebook page and MySpace page , which integrates multi-media, event management and more. Get started today to promote your association's website. Assign a few people to join and set up profiles, find out what communities there are and start participating. Turn to Beginner's Guide to Facebook  and Promote your cause on Facebook for the details and how tos.

There are many more ways to promote your website. If one of these tools doesn’t work for you find another, but do something.  And remember - the secret to winning more web traffic is by making your site informative and user friendly.

Which tools do you use to generate traffic to your site and engage your visitors?


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

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 3:25 PM


  • Nonprofit web design » Blog Archive » 8 free tools to promote your charity’s website said:

    Monday, 15 October 2007 at 3:53 AM
  • Alex Bell said:

    Monday, 22 October 2007 at 12:34 AM


    Very interesting information! Thanks!


    Alex Bell.

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

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 29 October 2007 at 6:06 AM

    Glad to be of help, Alex.

  • Dawn said:

    Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 6:37 AM

    Thanks...useful info!!

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 6:48 AM

    These were the most popular posts in Oct 2007 according to Google Analytics: 8 Ideas To Promote Your

  • David Nicolosi said:

    Thursday, 19 June 2008 at 2:21 PM

    Those of you who have tried Poll Daddy (or plan on trying them) may be interested in Poll Authority at http://www.PollAuthority.com. You'll basically get a very similar service and options with what I believe is a more stream-lined interface. The site is currently in Beta mode, but has a LOT planned in the coming months. As it stands now it's every bit as much as Poll Daddy.

    Give it a try or read more on our lens: http://www.squidoo.com/PollAuthority

  • Aaron said:

    Saturday, 02 August 2008 at 6:46 PM

    Polldaddy's update last year enables you now to do not just polls, but also full-fledged surveys. However, like SurveyMonkey, they charge if you want to include more than a certain number of questions and respondents, and also limit the number of surveys you can do in a year. If you want to do bigger or more frequent surveys but for free, you might check out surveybob.com (http://www.surveybob.com). It has a nice simple interface and 9 times out of 10 lets me do everything I want for my surveys. Hope this helps!

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

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 06 August 2008 at 8:59 PM

    Good, there's a couple more choices to add to the list! Any more to suggest, anyone?

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Monday, 24 August 2009 at 11:47 AM

    These were the most popular posts in Oct 2007 according to Google Analytics: 8 Ideas To Promote Your

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