Search

Blog

Entries for May 2010

Blogging about Blogs: Self-Publishing in the Digital Age

Blogging is an absolute necessity in today’s web-driven business world. Long story short, you MUST blog. Luckily, it’s not a hard habit to pick up!

First, you must choose whether you want to launch a blog within your own website or use a free blog service. Both choices have pros and cons – launching a blog within your own site means your hits stay on your site, you have absolute control over design and content, and your blog is streamlined with the rest of your site. However, you’ll have to find a solution for updating and editing your blog that works for you, and it won’t be as plug-and-play as most blog services are. Using a free blog service can help simplify the blogging process, which can be helpful for new users. Many blog services have excellent templates so while design won’t be identical to your site, you can definitely get close. However, most free blog services support themselves with ad revenue, so you might have advertisements on your blog. Furthermore, users will have to leave your main site to access your blog, and the domain won’t match yours.

Once you decide what platform you want to use to blog from, you must think about what to blog. Always, as with anything you publish online, keep your goals in mind. Provide fresh content that is relevant to your goals – and provide it frequently. Blogs should be updated at least twice a month, but weekly or bi-weekly posts tend to be a good, manageable frequency. Make sure your content provides some sort of value to your audience, and has some relevancy to your organization’s industry, field, and goals.

Another thing to keep in mind while blogging is how to increase your audience. Blogs can be a great way to drive traffic to your site, as they can often receive unique hits of their own, and even gain their own followings. So search out where people are gathering and talking about the things you post. Find other bloggers and link to their articles, or find forums centered around some topic you’ve written about. If you can increase your blog’s traffic, you can also increase your website’s traffic!

Always include links back to relevant areas on your website. For example, when we here at MemberPath blog about things related to increasing your website’s traffic, we like to mention our TrafficGrow program, which you can find more information about here. This keeps your audience searching around the site, and points them to information within your own website that might be useful to them (for example, did you know that we do FREE TrafficGrow consultations? Request one now!).

Finally, empower your audience to spread your message. Enabling comments on your blog posts can spark discussions and get people talking about what you write. Get people fired up about your message! Every time someone says “Hey, I read this great blog post the other day…” about something you write is another chance to gain a new visitor to your site and possibly a new donor or customer!

So, to sum it all up: Blog. YOU MUST BLOG. Whether you blog on your own site or use a free blogging service, make sure you’re always thinking about how to increase your traffic and always linking back to your own site (and other sites!). And finally, empower your audience to spread your message. Happy blogging!

 

How do you use your blog to increase traffic to your website? Tell us about it in a comment!

Writing for the Web

May 13, 2010 by MemberPath posted in: Education & Best Practices

Web Effective Copy Writing

As more and more people turn to the internet for information, products, and services, the ability to write effectively for the web is becoming increasingly more important. These days, anyone with an internet connection and the motivation to do so can start a website or a blog – it’s not like print media, where journalists and writers go to school to learn how to write well, and magazines hire teams of copy editors to make sure everything’s correct. When you write for the web, you have to be your own copy editor, and believe it or not, it’s a whole different ball of wax than writing for print.

Writing for the web has its own unique set of difficulties and idiosyncrasies. One of the most important factors to keep in mind while writing for the web, aside from simple readability, is Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”). While writing content for your blog or website, you must keep in mind how best to optimize (See our blog post “Is Your Website Optimized?” for more information on optimization) your words.

One of the best ways to help maximize the effectiveness of your writing online is to recognize that many different people, not just people with a knowledge of your industry, might be reading what you write. And if you want a wider audience to be able to find you and your website, you need to cut down on industry jargon and use broader, more reader-friendly terminology. People often search with familiar language, so try to think of how you would say what you’re writing if you were just speaking to a friend or relative about the topic. For example, most people might search for “Nursing Home” rather than the industry standard “Assisted Living Facility,” so to gather more search hits, you might want to use the former rather than the latter. It can often be a fine line between political correctness and familiarity, though, so be careful and use your own best judgment based on knowledge of your field.

Another thing to keep in mind when writing for the web is to use keywords in headlines and page titles. Search engines such as Google place an increased amount of importance on words used in those areas of a web page, so be sure to be descriptive and accurate there. Be careful not to overdo it, though - maintaining clarity is much more important than trying to cram as many words as possible into a title.

Next, you’ll want to keep in mind your overall keyword density and variety. Use important keywords multiple times throughout a content area – be careful to keep it natural, however, and not overbearing. Also, try to use different variations of key words and phrases where you can – that way you’ll be able to capture even more traffic as users search for slightly different things.

Finally, make sure different sections and pages of your website remain clear and consistent. Consistency is crucial, because you don’t want different pages of your website to say different things. This can be confusing to visitors and might frustrate them with your site and your organization – even worse, it might lead incoming traffic astray and cost your website hits.

These are just a few tips and tricks for improving your web copy writing. What techniques do you use to make your words stand out on the web? Tell us in the comments!

Want more help and ideas with increasing your site’s traffic? Contact us today for a FREE TrafficGrow consultation!

Is Your Website Optimized?

Are you optimized? “Optimization” can mean many things, but when we talk about it in a web development sense, we take it to mean something a little more specific. At MemberPath, we refer to a website as “optimized” when it does an effective job of driving traffic and visitors to the places and pages where you want them to go. When your site is optimized, you are utilizing the tools you have available to you online to their utmost efficiency in a way that successfully directs web users to your website. 

 

So how do you know if you’re optimized? For starters, there are 5 main questions that your organization needs to be able to answer. If you can answer all of these, then chances are you’re well on your way to being optimized!

 

1. What are the top 3 goals that your website supports for your organization, and how do you measure its success?

In order to have a successful web presence, you need to start with the basics: your goals. By having a strong knowledge of what your organizational goals are, you can utilize your website and social media to support those in the best way possible. 

 

One of the key characteristics of good goal-setting behavior is the ability to define goals in quantifiable, measurable ways. Being able to measure the success – or failure – of your goals is an essential part of optimization.

 

2. What other sites send the most relevant traffic to your website? 

Another important aspect of optimization is knowing where your traffic is coming from. This question, and the next one, are both answered best using a measurement tool such as Google Analytics. When you know where your traffic is coming from, you’re more easily able to fine-tune your website to cater to those visitors. Or, if it’s not coming from where you want it to, you’ll be better able to decide how to fix it and what changes you should make to attract the right traffic.

 

3. What search terms have you utilized on your website, and more importantly, how do you know they are the most effective search terms?

Google and other search engines are a powerful means of obtaining traffic for your site. Through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can figure out what search terms people are using to find your site, and then make sure to utilize them to the utmost in order to capture as much potential traffic as possible. Again, tools such as Google Analytics can help you discover what search terms are leading the most visitors to your site – and the results may surprise you!

 

4. Who are the top bloggers in your field or industry, and what are you doing to help them?

Bloggers are increasingly becoming a strong force in the web industry. Many people now turn to blogs for information, reviews, and even news before they turn to other sources. Bloggers work hard to build up a reputation in their field, and it’s a good idea to seek out the top bloggers in your industry who may have already built up a following of people who could be interested in your organization, product, or service. By linking to blogs from your website, you’re helping those bloggers gain more traffic from your visitors. And, in turn, this can catch their attention and they may link back to your site, giving you more traffic as well. Regardless of whether they drive traffic back to you or not, however, by linking to well-known blogs in your field you show your visitors that you are actively engaged in the community built around the common interest of your industry. 

 

5. What online forums and social media sites are people going to looking for information you can provide?

Finally, the last piece of the optimization puzzle is seeking out where your target audience is already congregating on the web. By figuring out where people are talking about your field, you’ll have a much better idea of where you should be targeting them. Is there an active forum about your field? Are people talking about it on Twitter? Or is Facebook where your target audience congregates? Knowing where your audience is will tell you where you should be – if they’re on Twitter, you need to be on Twitter. If they’re on Facebook, you need to be on Facebook. 

 

Optimization can be a tricky concept to grasp, but it’s extremely important for the success of your website. Want more help and ideas? Check out MemberPath’s “TrafficGrow” service, and contact us for a FREE TrafficGrow consultation!  

Our Team

The MemberPath Team has extensive experience working with nonprofits and their related technology.

Learn more about who we are...

We're talking!

Check out our blog, follow us on twitter, or join our email list! We're talking about technology and tidbits that affect the nonprofit universe!

Our Solutions

Get more information about what we do in our solutions or learn more about some of our succesful site launches in our case studies.

 

Login  |  Copyright (c) 2014 MemberPath