Do I Really Need a Website for my NGO?
You work so much for your cause — Doing good & supporting your community. Now it’s time to spread the word and share what you do.
A well-built website can:
- Grow impact, and increase awareness about the cause & NGO
- Increase number of visitors to the NGO’s website
- Get easier access to stories & facts that people can connect and engage with.
- Convert your website visitors to members or donors.
- Ensure your website meets your target market needs: users looking for support, members, volunteers & donors.
- Trust & reputation building: showcase projects, share accomplishments & activities, transparency & disclosure.
Users will visit your NGO’s website because they want to:
- know your core mission & values
- network with like-minded individuals
- access specialized educational resources
- instantly join & become members
- donate / support
- see an engaged community
- volunteer / provide free service
- know where their donations are going
- receive updates about projects & activities
Here are 3 things to consider when building your NGO’s first website
1- NGO Website Design
WHY IT MATTERS: The right design elements help engage website visitors. The website design is the first impression & one of the first aspects a website visitor will notice and remember. It takes 50 milliseconds for a visitor to form an impression of your entire website.
WHY IT INCLUDES: typography, colors, images, and other branding details
- Simple easy-to-read layout
- Welcoming design, friendly visual content
- High-quality images – avoid blurry/pixelated pictures
- Simple, readable font that contrast with background
- Consistent branding, a great recognizable logo
- Search functionality that is easy to find
- Big clear call to action button: Donate, Volunteer, Join
- Content that motivates & engages users to take action
- Responsive website to supports all devices
2- NGO Website Content/Pages
WHY IT MATTERS: The right pages will attract members & donors. 74% of visitors feel disappointed when the content of web pages are outdated or don’t reflect their interests — unfortunately a bad experience means that a website visitor will leave and won’t come back.
WHY IT INCLUDES: features that a page should include and the of content created in each that users want.
- A page showcasing current & upcoming events
- A page including members & participants testimonials
- A page that provides news / blog
- A page that includes industry reports / valuable content
- A page that includes an online form for new members
- A page for members-only
- A section featuring donation / online payment feature.
- A page that provides a “snapshot” of key financial info.
- A page that provides all contact information
- A page that provides all info about mission & vision
- A homepage that shows a summary & a clear CTA
3- NGO Website Optimization & Features
WHY IT MATTERS: Optimization attracts visitors, coverts visitors to become members & supporters, and increases overall engagement with your organizations activities and website.
WHY IT INCLUDES: tactics that increases the effectiveness of a website.
- Make sure your website is mobile friendly
- Add a personalized touch to all communication
- Add popups for users who spend time reading your content
- Perform A/B testing
- Clear resources: tools, information, assistance, direction
- Add an analytics code, and the Facebook pixel.
- Identify keywords to rank for. Apply SEO strategies.
- Test different content, collect emails & send newsletters.
- Create relevant content to fit goals, audience & tone.
- Train your staff to update your website.
Remember these website requirements are general. You can always optimize further your NGO’s website depending on the nature of its work. An NGO website for AI or STEM education will certainly differ than that for human rights!
There are hundreds of NGOs in Lebanon. Recently I came across couple NGOs in Lebanon doing great work on the ground but those activities and achievements are not reflected on their website. Thus their impact is being limited and they are missing out on getting support from volunteers & donors.
So here’s some advice to NGOs in Lebanon wanting to create a new website or wanting to revamp a current website.
1. Make the Cause Clear
Make sure users can clearly understand who you are, your cause and mission.
2. Integrate Your Website with a CRM
Integrate your NGO website with your members database, will simplify contacting donors, volunteers & members.
3. Your NGO Website MUST be Mobile-Responsive
Mobile is the future. Users should easily navigate your website when using a mobile device or tablet. Check if your website is responsive.
4. Include Social Elements
Having the social sharing features incorporated into your website will increase engagement.
5. Add a Subscription Element
Adding a subscription feature to your website will help you share your news & events.
6. Update Your Website Content
Your website should always be updated& authoritative to build trust & reputation.
7. Branding Consistency
Your website is all about your NGO & it reflects & reinforces what the NGO represents.
8. Highlight Your Events
Keep your events calendar updated. New members will love to to join.
Your NGO website needs to look good, this is a fact and not an option. You need to stand out.
A Full SEO Checklist to Get Your Content Ranking
Writing a blog post is similar to writing articles, which requires valid information, skills and a certain structure to maintain interest in the content in addition to different SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques to improve search engine rankings.
General Post Structure:
1) Introduction: Introduce your subject in general and prepare for the idea discussed in the body
2) Body: Should include multiple clear paragraphs, each section introducing a new idea.
3) Conclusion: Wrap up your article with a brief summary of your article.
4) Article details: Minimum post length 300 words
5) Interlink your articles: You can add links to old posts added on the site previously. For example, if your topic is about Facebook ads, and you have already written an article about the importance of Facebook, then you can add a link to that post which helps decreasing bounce rate of your blog.
6) Do not use hidden text
7) Keyword list (Before writing your post, write a list of keywords to be included in your article related to your topic)
8) Add reference links (to high ranking sites)
9) Include signal words: Also, First of all, Finally…
10) Add CTA (Call to action) ex (popup->Subscribe) or end the article with: Register or Subscribe.
11) Images should be optimized: File name, image Alt attribute, Image Title attribute, Description… you can install “seo friendly images” plugin.
12) Install “Yoast WordPress SEO plugin”. Then, below each post, it is necessary to fill up all sections: general tab: Snippet Preview, SEO title, meta description, focus keyword. After doing so, check Page Analysis tab to review what is missing in your post.
13) Make sure layout is responsive
14) Post URL should be relevant
15) Use Title, heading & Subheadings:
only 1 Title <title>main heading | website name<title> appears in title bar. (less than 70 characters)
only 1 <h1>
16) Primary keyword to be used in both tags
<h2>Secondary Heading 1</h2>
<h3>Sub-section of the secondary heading 1</h3>
<h2>Secondary Heading 2</h2>
<h3>Sub-section of the secondary heading 2</h3>
17) Social sharing icons are available & making sure to each post is published on all social media
18) Subscribe to blog section.
19) Comment Field is available but make sure to approve the comments before posting to avoid spam
20) create blog author profile rather than showing posted by …@socialmediatag.com…add author bio and a picture
Below is a sample of a well structured post:
One thing to keep in mind, when posting articles is not to focus entirely on SEO but rather producing the best content for users and sharing it on different social media networks. Check the 2015 social media map here.