The World Wide Web has now been with us for 20 years, and during that time it has changed a lot: from Times New Roman fonts and clip art images to Web 2.0 social...
Having a credible, appealing and engaging website can dramatically improve the fortunes of your charity, business or church. This guide will shed some light with ten steps to getting the website you want and need.
The World Wide Web has now been with us for 20 years, and during that time it has changed a lot: from Times New Roman fonts and clip art images to Web 2.0 social apps like Twitter. What hasn't changed is that having a credible, appealing and engaging website can dramatically improve the fortunes of your charity, business or church. But how do you get from having nothing to something that will draw a crowd and deliver results? Worse still, what do you do if you've been landed with something that looks like www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com and have the job of sorting it out? This guide will shed some light with ten steps to getting the website you want and need.
#6 - Pretty vs. purposeful
Your site should look good. But its look should be built around the need to communicate a message. Start with your content and your site map, then decide how it should look. Too often I have seen websites that look pretty but aren’t useable. Make sure you or your developer understands basic principles of web design relating to – for example - fonts, headings, menu placement and eyescan patterns. Crucially, ensure you are designing something with a purpose in mind.
#7 – Think like your visitor
Who will visit your website? Will they be old or young, Christian or unbeliever, committed to your project or just looking? What might they want to get out of visiting your site? Church sites are so often built for church members, but what about seekers? What would communicate to them? Make sure you not only try to imagine how people will actually use your site but try it out on some real live guinea pigs before you launch. Think like your visitors and you’ll better serve them and attract more of them.
#8 - Think socially
Every website is (or should be!) a social website. Twitter and Facebook presences on your site are basic first steps. Getting someone who is comfortable in social media to run these accounts is important to a credible and engaging experience. Ensuring that Open Graph meta data is present on your site is crucial for Facebook sharing - so make sure it’s there. Social interaction should be built into your site. A really simple step is to add social sharing buttons to your website from Addthis.com or Sharethis.com and it’s as easy as copying and pasting the code. Most content management systems allow commenting on articles and this too can be an easy way of creating interaction.
#9 - Keep it legal!
#10 - Tell the world
Once you have this amazing site you should probably tell someone about it. Firstly, leverage any physical presence you have - church notice boards, leaflets etc. Also, build an email list using a free tool like dotmailer.com or mailchimp.com. Email is still the best way to call someone to action online. Ensure you follow basic principles of Search Engine Optimisation, Google can be your friend bigtime if you do some simple things - check out http://bit.ly/nmseo for more on this. Use your social media accounts and encourage people connected with you in any way to be an online advocate for the site. And lastly, Google Adwords and Facebook advertising both provide easy ways to generate affordable traffic on a cost-per-click basis.
Well that’s it! Hopefully the above will point you in the right direction if you are trying to be successful online.