Effectiveness and Optimisation of Charity Website

Effectiveness and Optimisation of Charity Website

May 20th, 2015 @

How to enhance and expand digital capacity of charity website so it delivers both the brand and the offering to patients and professionals whilst encouraging visitors to the site to donate or volunteer.
Be sure to make your website full of passion. Most decisions are made through emotion. You might want to use compelling and inspiring images in your website. This will attract a lot of people.

1. Website Design: Think Outside In
Outside-in thinking emphasizes the need to look at everything you do from the customer’s perspective, and to manage your organization’s performance as a service provider or business based upon customer satisfaction levels.
Outside-in thinking ensures that your organization is customer-centric, not just customer-aware, and it gives you the ability to answer the following key questions:
• Who are our customers?
• How satisfied are our customers with the service and/or support we provide?
• Who are you really targeting? – particularly attitudinal rather than demographic types.
• What specifically do you want from them and what can you offer them?
• How can you make sure your organisation, not just your issues, stand out and are attractive to them?
• What could make you unique, better or different in their eyes?
• How could you be more relevant to them?
• How could you initiate and build a dialogue?
• What will the overall experience be like?
Organizations that can answer these types of questions are able to commit effort and resources where they will have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction, easily adapt to changes in customer behaviour and needs, and make targeted improvements to internal operations and offerings.
2. Make a good first impression
This first impression depends on many factors: structure, colours, spacing, symmetry, amount of text, fonts, and more.
It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person, and websites are no different. It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave.
Recently Google confirmed the 50 ms number in their own research. (report)
The website sections that drew the most interest from viewers were as follows:
The institution’s logo. Users spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this area before moving on.
The main navigation menu. Almost as popular as the logo, subjects spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the menu.
The search box, where users focused for just over 6 seconds.
The site’s main image, where users’ eyes fixated for an average of 5.94 seconds.
The site’s written content, where users spent about 5.59 seconds.
The bottom of a website, where users spent about 5.25 seconds.
According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology links to social utilities are also important. The fact that participants in the study focused on social-media icons for 5.95 seconds reveals just how important it is for your business to offer opportunities for customers to engage with your brand and other customers.(report)
Good first impression leads to longer visit duration. Web sites should make the 7 elements listed above look great.
There are several points to remember for charity website design:
The website should have a touch of authenticity. It is important that the website is believable and you run by a well organised charity. Every page should contain your postal mail address and phone number. Avoid adding a PO box. This is something that adds credibility and professionalism. Looking authentic and passionate is essential so that prospective donors will be proud to donate their money. For some, this is an important decision.
Most decisions are made through emotion. There should be used compelling and inspiring images in fundraising websites. This will attract a lot of people. Website should have stories of other donors, success stories. Position yourself on how you have help – be positive. This will inspire other people to give.
Finally, always split test. You need to know what images are working to convert the most donations and which words are working to convert the most donations to find out the best combination to generate the most donations.

What exactly is an accessible website?

An accessible website is one that can easily be used by almost anyone. That includes people who have disabilities or limitations that require the use of screen readers, different colour schemes, larger text, or access keys. It also refers to people who may be using slow internet connections, older computers, mobile devices and older browsers.
Websites should be designed clean and easy to navigate, meeting or exceeding today’s accessibility standards.
By using web standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium, will ensure the greatest range of compatibility with not only web browsers on computers but also on other devices, such as screen readers and mobile devices. Any well-built website should look exactly the same, no matter which web browser is used, and anyone, regardless of ability, should be able to use it. Google is also considering it as one of the factors in the algorithm.

3. Be Mission – minded
Mission Statement (What You Do): A one-sentence statement describing the reason an organization or program exists and used to help guide decisions about priorities, actions, and responsibilities. Good mission statements should be clear, memorable, and concise.
Vision Statement: (Desired End-State) A one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from an organization or program’s work. Design of vision statement should clearly communicate what the hospice charity is trying to achieve in a way that people can remember it and communicate this to others.

4. Fundraising donation integration
Online giving is an important part of donating for supporters, but with smaller charities and community groups tight on resources, how can they make the best use of what they already have to maximise online donations?
PayPal is often a default option for registered charities who can’t afford the resources to have a fully operational payments system connected directly to their bank.
JustGiving is a global online social platform for giving. The firm’s headquarters are located in Bankside, London. People can give in eight local currencies, so you can receive donations from all over the world. No monthly fee. No obligations. Try it for free.

Optimise Donation Page
Charity website will be focused around encouraging donations and drawing attention to the values of the charity. Donations are the heartbeat of a charity so it is important to use hospice website in the best possible way to encourage users to donate to worthy cause.
Charity website should have the word ‘Donate Now’ call to action on every page. Avoid using other terms. Be consistent. With just a click, the donor should be taken immediately to the donation page. There should be no steps in between as this can confuse the donor and will lose people.
Tips for donation page:
Provide various options
Although it may seem likely that the user has landed on this page to make an online donation, it shouldn’t be assumed.
Some users may not feel comfortable with processing a payment online so hospice should take this into account and provide details with other ways to donate. For example, there should be the address to send cheques to and who it should be payable to and if you accept telephone donations show the phone number clearly.
Also, user should have options for how much they can donate and how often. Include information for a one off donation as well as other ways to donate such as monthly giving, leaving a gift in a will and other appropriate information.

Reassure them
A donor should be made aware how much of their donation is going to the cause, if it is 100% of the money then make that clear on the donation page as that may influence how much they donate and how regularly.
Some charities also outline how a donation can help their cause so for example saying that a £20 donation pays for a child’s school fees is a good way of helping a donor understand how their donation has made an impact and can help them make an informed decision when choosing how much to donate.
5. Content Management System
With the increasing emphasis on the digital delivery of information, fundraising and services within charities, many are looking to implement CMS.
These days most websites are built using a CMS – which usually let you edit your website from any computer with an internet connection and it’s much easier to add in new elements like picture galleries, and comments threads. Logins can have different privileges. Dashboard – easily add and edit posts, have modules that add additional features to the ‘core’ installation. Content, by and large, is kept separate from the styling. The theme handles that. No need to know HTML – just type in like you’re using Word. The theme handles all that. Typing in the words is easy too, but if you want the text to be a bit bigger, or the caption under one photo to be different from the rest – then it can be a bit more restrictive.
As the most user-friendly and with the widest choice of ready-made ‘themes’ available is WordPress. It was traditionally a blogging platform but it can be customise to look as needed. It’s quite user friendly and once it is set up it’s pretty easy for colleagues to add content from wherever they are.
Free services like Wix and Squarespace are OK if you want something really simple that you don’t update much. But WP is better if you want them to include a donations form, or add any events or blogs – all with a choice of layouts and options and without ads all over them.
WordPress, as any other publishing platform, has its pros and cons; however, its advantages significantly outweigh its flaws. Critical elements that tend to make WordPress:
‘Open Source’ systems – which means that they’re free and that they are maintained and improved by a community of users and developers.
WordPress is extremely popular and its popularity growing very fast. This means that it is easy to find and hire people who are familiar how to maintain a WordPress site and therefore, it can prove to be an efficient solution for charities in terms of administrative costs.
Due to WordPress’ popular demand and open source license, there is a large web developer community that constantly generates new ideas and new add-ons (plugins) that get incorporated into the core software features and make WordPress develop by following step in step with the most recent technological advances.
WordPress constantly issues new software updates and allows to easily update the software on website without knowing programming. This can prove to be beneficial for charities who do not have a web design in house but want to make sure that the site is cross browser compatible, social media friendly and search engines friendly.
WordPress has a built in RSS feed that can be used for charity news or events.
In terms of disadvantages of using WordPress, I can only point out that it may not be as flexible as Drupal, for example, if someone tries to create a complex layout and add a lot of dynamic functionalities to the site.

Dynamic functions, which some of the WP templates include:
• the ability for users to make online donations,
• a fundraising events calendar
• eCommerce section;
• online auction;
• site reporting;
• integration with third party campaign email management.

6. Responsive Design
More and more of charity supporters are accessing the internet on their phones and tablets. All industry experts agree that this trend is only going to increase in the future as fewer people will sit down to look at websites on their computers or laptops.

It’s increasingly vital therefore that charity site works well on a smartphone or iPad without the user having to ‘pinch and zoom’ everywhere. Building a separate mobile version of the site is expensive, and then there would be two versions to constantly update. That’s why lots of sites use what’s known as ‘Responsive Design’ – where the design of the site ‘responds’ to the size of the browser being used. In practice that often means that columns of content will sit side-by-side on a large screen, but collapse down into one thinner, longer column on a phone. Navigation menus will also often adapt to be more useable on a phone (shrink your broswer window if you’re reading this on a computer/laptop to see an example).
Building a responsive design website is often more expensive and time-consuming as there’s more work involved in making sure that it looks right and works correctly on a range of screen sizes, rather than just one fixed width.

7. Search Engine Optimisation
You can build the site, but if you don’t build it right, people will hardly find it.
What is SEO? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via search results.
By coding sites with open and accessible standards, your site will be optimised for search engine indexing. Search engines such as Google rank pages based on the visible content of the site and number of other factors (around 200).
What’s the benefit of being indexed by an engine?
Primary source of finding information online with approx. 70% of searches result in an “organic” listing click.

Things to consider for SEO
SEO is as much about making the experience intuitive & valuable for users as it is for the engines. The engines are constantly refining their algorithms to deliver highest relevance. Trying to game the system is a very short-term tactic & will penalize you in the long run.
What does SEO mean in plain English?
Content results based on merit and contextual relevance and a way to distribute and promote deep content as a long-term strategy for building online influence.
What can influence where you rank?
Relevance of content
Internal file & URL structure (crawl ability)
Consistency of information presented
External links
Meta information
Brand credibility
What are the basics of optimizing your website?
Content… Relevant, useful & fresh.
Page and file structure and architecture
Meta data (Title, Image, Description, Keyword)
URL/ domain strategy
Anchor text
Linking – internal
Linking – external
Accessibility/ Crawl ability
Redirects (301, 302)
Site Map
Content development
Content drives the web, so keywords should be incorporated as appropriate, but not overstuffed with keywords. Charity webmaster should think about the end user & what would interest them – tailoring the content for them. Charity site should use descriptive phrases to link out, not generic terms like “Click here” and ensuring meta data matches what the contextual relevance is on the page.
Description tag is more important for users and conversions from the search results.
When charity adds content to the website, they should use keywords in not only the main text, but specifically in title tag and in headings. If charity is using a content management system, they should use the formatting for H1, H2 to break up the content.
For instance, if the keywords are `Children Hospice` then a page with headings such as ‘How our Children Hospice Works’ is more effective than ‘What we do.'”

8. Measuring success: What is your goal/objective?
Increased traffic to charity website
By traffic source
Improved outcomes
Increased referrals (online?)
Increased donations (online?)
Increased applications (online?)
Increased phone calls
Increased press coverage…

9. Social Media
What is Social Media good for?
Extending existing marketing and communications strategy.
Bringing up-to-date accurate information to where people are already spending time.
Listening to what audiences have to say.
Building partnerships.
Learning from colleagues.
Having a two-way conversation and supporting peer-generated content.

Uni-directional Communication:
Text & Graphics, Video, Animation, Music
Bi-directional Communication: Building relationships one at a time, Web 1.0
Ask for input via
Email links, Forms, Polls & Surveys
Is there “call to action”
Online donations, Online referrals, Subscribe to e-newsletter

Multi-directional Communication: Social Networking, Web 2.0
List-serve: Email messages
YouTube: Videos
Flickr: Photos
Blogs: Commentary
Twitter: Micro-blogging
Facebook: Updates about you!
Email:
Build your email list
Email List Building: How to Grow Your Email Database for Free?
1) Create remarkable email content if you want people to stay subscribed and forward your emails to their friends, family, and colleagues that aren’t already on your email list.
2) Encourage your current email subscribers to share and forward your emails by including social sharing buttons and an “Email to a Friend” button in your marketing emails. At the bottom of your emails, include a “Subscribe” as a simple text-based link so that those receiving the forwarded emails can easily opt-in, too.
3) Create multiple email subscriptions types that you use to send more targeted content to specific segments of your marketing personas. Email recipients are more likely to click through emails that have been targeted at them, so if you create multiple, targeted subscription types, you’ll increase the chance that visitors will subscribe to one of them.
4) Add a link to your employees’ signatures that leads people to a landing page where they can sign up for your mailing list.

Blog:
What is Blog?
Like a public diary online
Frequent short entries
Can be educational or opinion
Can include words, photos, videos
Invites comments
Twitter:
What is Twitter?
Like a blog but limited to 140 characters
Often entered via cell phone (texting)
Made up of “tweeters” & “followers”
Way to follow thought leaders
Way to announce events
Way to get others to promote you

Facebook:
What is Facebook?
Scrapbook of your business
Collect Fans (customers)
Post on your Wall about
Announcements of events
Topics of interest to fans/ customers
Respond to posts on your Wall


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