Revised with new information as of January 6, 2014

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Marketing A Web Site:

Suggestions for Nonprofits, NGOs, Government Agencies
& other Mission-Based Organizations

"If you build it, they will come" does not apply to Web sites. Marketing your Web site is as important as designing it -- how will you get people to visit your marvelous information if they don't know about it?

You need an ongoing, integrated approach: promoting the web site at a nonprofit organization, NGO, school or other mission-based organization is everyone's task, from the person who answers the phone to the executive director. The more valuable your web site is for your organization's donors, volunteers, other supporters, potential supporters, clients and the general public, the more effective your marketing efforts will be. Also, you don't just want new visitors; you want RETURN visitors.

In reading this, notice that the most effective marketing strategies for your web site actually don't have as much to spending money as they do with a mindset that must permeate your organization -- every staff member must feel ownership in the web site and see exactly how it serves not only the entire organization, but his or her department or division of work in particular.

People find a web site for a nonprofit organization for a variety of ways:

They come back to a web site because they find the information they need, and they know that new information is going to be added to make a return visit worthwhile. There are a number of ways to prompt people to return to your site -- more on that in a moment.

Offline Marketing

Offline marketing of your web site is JUST AS IMPORTANT as online marketing of your site:

Online Marketing

More than half of a charity's ranking on Web search engines is based on links outside the organization's site, according Eric Werner, an interactive marketing specialist at Northridge Interactive, speaking at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference, who noted, "Search engines treat those links like votes." In addition, 22 percent of a web page's ranking on search engines like Google and Bing is based on the words in the hyperlink on both the group's own site and others. These two facts were true 15 years ago and they are true now! Therefore:

Monitor, if you can (via tracking software, online questionnaires, etc.), the number and type of people visiting your site, what pages they are visiting most (other than the home page), what days of the week or month most people are visiting, what they find most valuable, etc. This can help you see how successful your marketing efforts are, and where adjustments need to be made.

Keep Visitors Coming Back

Don't just market to new visitors; market to return visitors as well! There are a number of ways to do this:

The key to successful Internet marketing is to accept that it is a never-ending, integrated process. New web sites and online discussion groups emerge and disappear regularly. You need to track with regular searches new sites with whom to link and new lists on which to announce your organization and its service. To market efficiently and effectively online your entire staff has to immerse itself, at least to some degree, in using the Internet regularly as part of their work.

Other marketing resources:

Other resources from other web sites:
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