1. When you create a web site,
whether it is a new site or the recreation of an old site, think about
your investment in your current stationery, brochures and other
logo items in print. Changing could be costly until you are ready to
replenish your inventory of those items. The web, by comparison,
is relatively easy to change. If you are moving toward a new
image, spend your money on the costly print items first, then change
your web image. Remember that web content is more important than
branding. Create high quality content first. Then, work on
2. Photos and graphics can be
added at any time. Yes, they can be important to communicating
your message and your image. But, they are somewhat like the
jacket of a book. A better jacket is a good thing, but it does not
change the importance of what's inside.
3. It is important not to use
the web in a way that tries to copy the depth your other mediums of
communication. The purpose of a well designed non profit web site is to:
So that they will,
Join as members
Support your work as volunteers or
Be continually informed about
current projects, activities, and your organization's needs and wants
Communicate with you at their
Input data for your research,
studies or activism without FAX, phone or snail mail
Allow you to communicate with them
at minimal expense in a way that continually draws them back to you web
site, so that they can see current information about what you are doing
Have information regarding
sponsors, partnerships and supporters
Have links to educational and
common interest sites that help create a better understanding of the
need for your mission
Have access to downloads of larger
documents that will be helpful to folks interested in trying to do
better and support your cause
Create confidence for prospective
partners that your organization is
THE place to go if they want to know how to participate in the
scope of your work
Provide information about your
local chapters or sub- groups that keep them closely connected to the
core of your mission and message. If they don't have their own web page
you can make one for them on your page. If they promote this as their
own site it will draw oodles of local folks to your page, which is what
4. Web content should be
dynamic - it should change as often as you have something important to
communicate. If you wish, think of it as a electronic newspaper.
The core of your message, your mission statement, etc. should be a
constant so that you create a common understanding of the purpose of
your group. Other information, like newsletters, schedules of
events, things of seasonal interest, changes in political events, and so
on, should be updated as often as necessary. You want viewers to
come to your page for news and information. This is what they
want, and if you give it to them they will come often. Rather than
mailing or emailing newsletters, publish the newsletter on your web site
and send an email providing a link to the newsletter on your web site.
The examples are endless.
5. Don't wait for perfection
or a totally finished product before you publish your web site.
The first and most important thing is get a reasonably good page
structured ASAP so that we can do your search engine registration, so
that people can find you. This is critical and sooner done the better.
Some search engines take up to three months to post new URL's (universal
resource locators - your domain name). Also,
Google has a new aging delay. Let's talk on the phone about this.
Make the creation process a group
project. Let everyone participate: board members, officers, staff,
volunteers, everybody. Create excitement and synergy!
6. Well designed forms can
reduce administrative time and expenses and telephone expenses to deal
with issues such as:
Information requests, membership
Updating your database(s)
Adding and removing names from your
email distribution lists
Making appointments and scheduled
Enlisting members and volunteers
Scheduling speaking engagements
Coordinating events and planning
The list is endless. Instead of
playing phone tag or wasting time with phone mail, let people
communicate with you at their convenience. You can then respond at
your convenience. Email is essentially free and fast, and works well
assuming you use it regularly - at least once a day.
Form information can be distributed
via email to more than one person, so that a limited staff can delegate
certain tasks automatically to designated volunteers. And, you
have back up so if one person is out of the office, someone else will
know automatically what needs to be done. For a good example of
how this works, check out the all volunteer group, Friends of South
Cumberland State Recreation Area, Inc. at
7. If you have an old page and
are changing your domain name, arrangements can be made with the
programmer of the old site to put a redirect routine on your old domain
name so that visitors to the old web site will automatically be pointed
to the new web site. Thus, you will not loose any viewers as a result of
the domain name change and previous search engine registrations.
Want a great way to manage email lists?
Read about MailList King. We can teach how to
set it up and have in running in 1-2 hours.
If you have other ideas on how you use the web to the
benefit of your organization that you would like to share with others,
send your ideas. You ideas will be posted to this site, with our
without credit as you choose, and if you like, we will add a link to
your page. That's what being connected is all about!