Q: Do you have any tips for successful web sites?
A: Tips for a Successful Website for Any Organization, NGO or GO
By Soren Breiting
Most NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) don’t understand these important aspects of a successful website. Even many governmental organizations (GOs) could improve their sites by following these tips.
1. Everything should be viewed and evaluated with the eyes of the visitor: "What’s in for me" as the main benchmark for a successful website. That is pertaining to the copy and to the content what ever directed to members or non-members: "You will here find ...." is a better and more inviting statement at the home page, than: "We are the main organisation of ......"
2. Most visitors on the Internet are searching for information, so please provide them with that.
3. Concentrate content on themes, because that will give you an easier way to the attractive top search positions at the main search engines and to be included in some directories, (Google, MSN, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, Open Directory, AltaVista etc.). Site-Build-It is probably the best approach to fulfil that requirement.
4. Make navigation easy and transparent on all pages.
5. Have a search facility, best on all pages. www.FreeFind.com offers a free and useful service. I use it on a number of websites, for example about photos: www.azfotos.com .
In addition to the search facility for the visitor it gives you a record of what people have actually been searching for.
In that way you can prioritise the stuff available for people on your website when you revise your pages. Google is also offering a search box, but only with the pages they have indexed, and you cannot get any record of the searches.
6. Try to organise the content of your website quite "flat", meaning the visitor does not have to dig too deep into your website to find what he/she is searching after. Most visitors will at best not go further deep than to the 3rd level. This is the same with "spidering" bots of search engines.
7. Have your contact information visible on your home page (first page), including address, phone, fax, email, may be even postal giro, bank account etc. - All to make it more easy for people to find the kind of information they need about your organisation. Avoid to write the email address, use a script to hide it from email harvesters and spammers.
8. Make it easy for visitors to find information on people, their phone numbers and email address and keep them updated. Do the same for departments of the organisation.
9. Keep each resource in only one place and make many links to them around on other pages..
10. Make it visible when you have provided new material at the website.
11. Make your website SIMPLE and quick loading. Avoid heavy graphics, flash movies etc. They will not help your visitors, but only help them click away. If you use graphics, you have to optimise them for the smallest amount of file size. GifBot, http://www.netmechanic.com/GIFBot/optimize-graphic.htm , can do it free and online. Else use one of the picture editing programmes available with the function like ‘publish picture on the web’.
12. Keep your web copy short e.g. use a new paragraph for every 4th line. Make bullet points. files.
13. Manage to have at least your entrance page with a simple domain name, like www.iucn.org or www.ensi.org or www.nature.org
14. It is not enough to have a good virtual address by having an intuitive domain name on the internet. You also have to be registered properly in search engines and directories. The best way is to have other important sites to link to your site. In some months your site will be picked up by the spiders of search engines. For the directories it is best to do it manually, start with dmoz.org and yahoo.com
15. Make it easy for people to link to you. Provide them with a variety of text links, banners and logos and with simple instructions concerning the html code.
16. Encourage visitors to bookmark your site.
17. Exchange links with other relevant organisations. Include your important key words in your link text you ask them to use.
Implement these 17 tips and in half a year you will have many more visitors and they will be much more happy to come back to your organization’s website.
Soren Breiting has worked with a number of national and international websites for NGOs and NOs. Find more tools and tips at http://www.ALLeMarketingtips.com . Soren is also the editor of the ezine Stock Photo News http://www.StockPhotoNews.com - The first Modern eZine combining Stock Photography and Marketing.
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