Smaller charities often struggle with making the most of their websites to get their charity seen online; they don’t have the budget to employ web managers or marketing specialists like bigger brands but they often don’t have the in-house experience either to do it themselves effectively. So what can they do?
To give yourself the best chance of getting your website seen (by seen we mean, appearing on the first page of Google so you can be found by more potential supporters), here are just 6 website changes that you can make yourself.
Clearly define your audience
You’ll be surprised how putting in the time to think about the ideal person that you want to attract to your website can help you make positive changes to your site that will bring you the results that you want.
You can’t write relevant blogs or social media posts if you don’t know who you are talking to, so construct a basic customer profile (gender, country, lifestyle, personality type, motivations etc) to help you make a more effective marketing strategy that appeals to these motivations.
Make clear calls to action
The easier your website is to navigate and the more clear you are about what you need from your supporters, the more people will help you. Make it as easy for them as possible and you’ll see an increase in support.
On every page, make clear calls to action, especially on your homepage, where you directly ask for what you want; more donations? More sign-ups for volunteer work? More engagement with a fundraising campaign? More people following you on social media?
Write with keywords in mind
You may or may not have heard about SEO when it comes to websites and Google, if you haven’t, don’t worry. Put simply, SEO means Search Engine Optimisation and this is what determines if and where your website and its content ranks on Google.
Remember when we said that you need to know your audience? Once you do, you can do a simple keyword search to see what your audience is looking for. You can then make sure that your content, both on your website and in your articles, are full of these keyword phrases so that more relevant people can find your content, get to know your brand, and hopefully convert into loyal supporters.
Let Google know that you are there
Without getting too technical, there are a few changes that you can make to your website to ensure that Google indexes it (i.e. you appear in the search results for a certain keyword).
First, add the XML sitemap to your website so that Google can use this to deem which of your pages are relevant for indexing. Second, register for free directories such as DMOZ as this will help get your website indexed. Third, add an HTML sitemap that visitors can use to navigate. And lastly, put your charity on the map with Google Maps and optimise all of your page titles and meta descriptions with the keyword or phrase that you want to be found for.
Track your performance with Google Analytics
It’s all well and good doing the research and applying the changes but you can’t just assume that this is enough to get you the results that you want. In marketing, you need to know how these changes are working for you so that you can readjust them if they are not.
By using Google Analytics on your website, you can track what keywords are driving the most traffic to your website, what content is the most popular, where your traffic is coming from (Google itself, social media etc) as well as the complete demographics of your audience.
Make sure you have a data capture process
Not everyone will be ready to sign up for volunteering or will be willing to donate to your charity every time they visit your website, especially if it is their first time visiting, so make sure you have a way of keeping in touch with these supporters until they are ready to help.
The easiest way to do this is by making an appealing offer in exchange for their email address; this is a data capture process. For example, “Keep in touch with our progress on providing villages with water by signing up to our monthly newsletter.” Once people have signed up, they will then receive useful and relevant content from you every month and they will donate when a relationship has been built and they feel invested in your cause.
So there we go, 6 simple website changes that you can make to get your small charity seen online. Hopefully, these will help you to get the results and the level of support that you deserve.