Weaving an Effective Web Experience: Part 2 How does your site compare?
Blackbaud recently conducted an assessment in an effort to help nonprofit organizations evaluate their current Internet marketing efforts. In this second look at the results, we’ll delve into the “Visit Value” section. With more than 500 respondents, the questions in this section focused on a Web site’s “sticky” properties — if it feels fresh and trustworthy, and offers information and experiences that make a return visit likely.
Here is a look at how nonprofits are using, or not using, these principles:
Is your Web site content updated at least monthly?
Responses: Yes 67%; No 33%
If your site content is not updated frequently, it gives the impression that the site isn’t a trustworthy place to find information. Updating your site regularly, even if nothing significant has changed, gives visitors confidence that someone on your end is invested in ensuring that the Web site is a reliable source.
Do you offer members-only sections for certain visitors to your Web site?
Responses: Yes 18%; No 82%
If you plan to ask for someone to join a giving club or membership group, a great way to provide extra value is to offer the person dynamic Web content based on that affiliation. For example, if you offer membership, a benefit of membership could be access to special reports, events, photo galleries, and more. Your Web site also can be used to share documents that are only relevant to certain groups, such as board members, all based on a secure login.
Can your supporters interact with each other through your Web site?
Responses: Yes 9%; No 91%
The phenomenon of social networking has captivated the next generation of donors. More than 2 million people now have LinkedIn pages, and that number has grown 172 percent in the last year alone. More and more people are looking online to find others who share their interests and passions. By providing a forum for the people who are most passionate about your mission to build relationships with each other, you allow them to simultaneously grow more loyal to you. Plus, you provide yet another reason for them to frequently visit your Web site, where you can market your events, volunteer opportunities, advocacy campaigns and requests for donations each time they stop by.
Do you have dynamic content, such as headline news, that is updated on your Web site automatically?
Responses: Yes 22%; No 78%
Providing dynamic news updates, and incorporating RSS news feeds into your site is a “really simple” way to make sure it is constantly changing and provides value to the visitor.
Do you allow supporters to create their own pages on your Web site?
Responses: Yes 4%; No 96%
Just as people want to network with one another and build communities online, they want to create places on the Internet that represent who they are. In fact, a staggering 55 million people now have MySpace pages, up 93 percent in the last year. Providing a platform for your supporters to share their stories and speak on your behalf is a wonderful way to spread your message exponentially while showing them how much you rely on them.
With the ever-changing and constantly growing selection of social-media tools and sites available, Internet consumers have developed discerning palates for their Web experience. By incorporating these five ideas into your Web site strategy, you can provide visitors to your site with an enriched experience that will keep them coming back.
Charlie Cumbaa is senior vice president of products and services at Blackbaud, Inc. To learn more about Internet fundraising and ePhilanthropy, visit www.blackbaud.com/resources/white-papers.aspx
Visit the Prospeak section of fundraisingsuccessmag.com to read future columns about Blackbaud’s Internet Assessment. Read Part 1 of this report in the September issue of Fundraising Success, or to view it online, click www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/r?s=73919