Everyone doing business with the public today should have a website, and that goes double for non-profits. Like commercial businesses, non-profit organizations rely on public interest and their ability to meet the public’s needs in order to survive.
If you’re creating a web presence for your organization, or revamping an existing one, consider using a blogging platform as the foundation for your site. A blog platform is essentially a user-friendly content management system that allows you to create anything a regular static site has, but is far simpler, easier and cheaper than just about any other system.
Here are a few more reasons you should be thinking “blog” when considering your web options:
Blogs Are Sticky
One of the primary metrics of effectiveness of a website is what is referred to as “stickiness” – a sticky site is one that attracts constant traffic and holds onto that traffic once it arrives. Good design and intuitive navigation are helpful, but real stickiness requires compelling, targeted content.
Marketing studies show that it often takes 5-7 exposures to any marketing message before someone says yes and buys your product or service – and fundraising, event announcements and requests for volunteers are just as much marketing messages as commercial sales copy is. But if all you have to offer is a static site with infrequently updated information, what incentive does your wandering visitor have to come back to be exposed to your message enough times to get them to act?
None, that’s what.
However, by its very nature, a well-maintained blog continually updated with valuable content invites people to return regularly to keep up to date. It engenders a sense of community between the host and the extended readership while creating the sort of emotional buy-in that increases responses to any calls-to-action that may arise. And features like RSS subscription and email notification let your readers know when new information is available without leaving their desktops, motivating them return to read more.
Search Engines Love Content – Especially When It Changes
Since blogs contain far more, and more frequently updated, content than static sites, and are therefore more frequently scanned by search engines, having a content-rich and frequently updated blog translates into far better search engine ratings and greater site visibility than a static site. And a blog’s ease of editing allows for keyword changes to be implemented at a moment’s notice across the entire site, further boosting the chance of your site coming up in a relevant search.
Another advantage blogs have over static sites is that not only can you link to other related sites of interest, but other sites are much more likely to link to you, assuming you provide valuable and interesting content for them to link to. Link-backs from well-placed, relevant sites are search engine gold. Simply put, the more interesting your blog is, the more it will be linked to and the more it is linked to, the better your chances of making it to the top of a search results page.
It’s So Simple, Your Child Could Do It (And Probably Already Is)
In the realm of non-profit organizations, few except the most successful can afford a full-time IT specialist with the sort of training it takes to design, build and maintain a regular static site. With its familiar input interface and ease of use, a blog is the ideal web platform when creation and ongoing maintenance of the site will likely be attended to by a string of motivated, but untrained, volunteers or staff members.
With a blog-based site, much of the work is done for you by the platform itself. If need be, the initial set-up and design can be done by a professional, but many platforms are so easy to set up that even the terminally clueless can do it. And even if you do opt for a professional set-up, once that infrastructure is in place, updating the site couldn’t be easier and is well within the abilities of a basic computer user. More advanced tasks may require more specialized skills. But even these are easier to do on a blog than on a standard static site, and help is often available on the web.
As you can see, a blog platform is a great way to attract visitors to your site, engage them at an emotional level and keep them coming back for more. And to top it all off, blog platforms are easy to use and very cheap, sometimes even free – and that’s always good news to who’d rather be spending their time and money doing good than running the shop.
Soni Pitts is a professional freelance writer and copyeditor. In addition to her freelance work, she collaborates with other writers on such projects as Wordbrains and the upcoming Web Content Awareness Day event. Need copy? Email Soni at writer [at] sonipitts.com for more information.
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