Connect with us

MARKETING

A Quick Guide to Nonprofit Website Redesigns [+Best Practices]

Published

on

It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a quality website for nonprofit organizations. All of an organization’s outreach, marketing, and ads need to drive an audience to take action like donating, finding out about services, or signing up for information.

An effective website allows these actions to happen quickly and seamlessly, making the path to conversion for any of these actions feel effortless.

On the other hand, subpar websites actually distract audiences from the goals you want them to accomplish, confusing visitors with navigation that obscures the most relevant information or overloading them with too many calls-to-action.

As digital marketing experts, we have a basic process we use as a guide when we start new nonprofit website projects, ensuring that the end product is clear, easy-to-use, and ultimately, effective.

Let’s dive in.

The 6 Phases of a Successful Nonprofit Website Project

1. Discovery

During the discovery phase, your project team will define its goals and understand existing strengths, opportunities for growth, and audiences.

Identify Your Goals

The first step in building a better website is recognizing that you need one, and determining goals for redesign efforts. Sometimes you can look at data to determine if your current site is meeting your expectations.

Understand Audiences

Tools such as Google Analytics can help you determine which actions or content are getting more or less traction with audiences to optimize accordingly. Implementing audience surveys can also provide insight into what parts of your website may be resonating better or worse with your key groups.

Evaluate Content

Sometimes the issue may have to do with the visual presentation of your brand elements –– your site may just need a general facelift or improved accessibility. Marketing agencies can help audit and review your current site in more detail to provide you with specific recommendations to guide and prioritize your goals for your new website.

Site Audit

In a full site redesign, research may be required as a first step to inform strategy and design. This might involve doing an in-depth audit of all of the existing content for your current site, as well as research and documentation about any other technical platforms (like CRM systems or fundraising platforms at your organization). This also might entail doing deeper research into your audience groups and mapping their specific needs at various stages of their journey interacting with your organization.

SEO Audit

An SEO audit is an important step to capture insights for your site rebuild, ensuring audiences can easily find it via search. An SEO audit involves taking an in-depth analysis of all the factors that affect a website’s visibility in search engines. Doing this audit gives complete insights into the website, overall traffic, and individual pages in regards to site health and overall domain authority.

Here are just a few things to consider during an SEO audit:

  • Does your site support a breadcrumb structure?
  • Does your navigation make sense?
  • Is it easy for users to find important and relevant content on your site?
  • Does the content reach the right audience and target important keywords?
  • Is there correct metadata throughout the site? Title tags?
  • Are there server errors on your site?

While these may seem like simple and mundane tasks, they are crucial steps in ensuring your site and brand increase organic visibility. Overall, completing this task can help assure that you are reaching your traffic goals and can make any changes necessary in the website redesign.

2. Strategy

Once your discovery is complete, you can move to your strategy phase. Here, you and your team will dive into planning how all of your content, including copy, images, videos, and any other assets, will be presented across the new website.

Content Strategy

Once you have a handle on who your audiences are, and how you’d like them to engage with your information, you can dive into your content strategy — or the way you’ll organize and develop content for visitors to engage with on your site. This might include revising your site map (otherwise known as a list of pages in a hierarchical order for your website), and navigation so content that’s relevant to a particular audience is grouped together, and in a way that will make it easy for them to find the right piece of content at the right point of their journey.

During your content strategy exploration, considering all stages of an audience’s user journey is critical. How are people new to your site engaging, and how can you make life easier for return visitors?

As a nonprofit, you’ll want to share different pieces of your story with new versus existing supporters — for instance, with new visitors, you can share background on your nonprofit, and with existing supporters, you can show them the impact and results of your nonprofit so they can see how their contributions matter.

Information Architecture

Once the overall content strategy is in place, you can start to solidify the role, or story, each individual page will play. Bringing the most important messages to the top, and allowing for less urgent pieces to cascade down the page, builds your loose information architecture that will help UXers and designers bring your story to life.

3. UX and Design

As you move into your user experience (UX) and design phase, you’ll bring all of your discovery and strategy to life with visuals. By keeping your audiences top of mind during this phase, you’ll be able to meet their needs in the most effective way possible.

User experience (UX) design comes next, often in the form of prototypes or wireframes, to provide visual structure for each page. Sometimes these wireframes also include notional copy, which are brief bits of text to indicate things like ‘Headline about our giving program goes here.’ This can be helpful to guide later copywriting efforts for site content.

Things get more interesting and fun as the new website’s visual and creative direction gets established. Designers can recommend a new visual approach to your brand elements, colors, fonts, and other style elements. When approved, this visual approach gets applied to page designs and layouts to arrive at finalized page designs.

4. Implementation

In your implementation phase, you’ll notice that the development processes vary a bit depending on the platform. As you and your team work through implementing your work, you’ll make some decisions that’ll impact how easy your site will be to maintain (through no/low-code platforms versus code-driven products).

Designs, requirements, specifications, and copy come together with development efforts to bring a new website to life. Today, organizations have a lot of great options to consider: No-code platforms such as Squarespace or Wix can make many parts of the development process so simple that developers aren’t needed and maintenance costs are greatly reduced, at the cost of some flexibility about what types of technical integrations they can work well with and how much customization can occur. 

Some solutions such as Hubspot’s CMS are tailored for HubSpot’s CRM tools and offer an out-of-the-box solution for organizations that want a powerful but easy-to-use interface. HubSpot offers more than two dozen themes for nonprofits to choose from, making customization and a sleek design and user experience available within minutes.

More development-intensive platforms like WordPress come with higher investment needed in the building process and long-term maintenance costs for things like plugins and hosting, but offer endless opportunities to realize a custom website vision.

no code and low code

5. Quality Assurance Testing

Once final content is entered or migrated into your new site, and an approach to blog posts and SEO considerations have been addressed, quality assurance (QA) testing can happen.

QA testing can check that the site presents well across all devices, meets accessibility standards, is optimized for speed, and is functioning according to requirements.

6. Accessibility

Creating a website that’s not only functional and well-organized but also accessible to all is becoming the standard. As nonprofit organizations, it’s even more important to be catering to all audiences, especially those you may be serving.

Remember that accessibility means accommodating for all disabilities, not just ones that are readily apparent. Over 13% of the U.S. population has a visual impairment. Making the mindful shift to ensuring your site is accessible consists of small changes, like using proper colors, H1/H2 tagging for screen readers, and providing alt text on all images and graphics. Checking these boxes goes a long way in helping everyone have a positive experience on your site.

Once your QA testing is complete, including your accessibility checks, you can make changes and find solutions, and then the site is ready for final approval to release.

Regardless of your platform, there are a few details (that are often forgotten) to always keep in mind.

Here are a few examples of great no-code and low-code nonprofit websites.

No-Code Nonprofit Website Examples

1. 50 States, 50 Grants

 It Gets Better: 50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 voices campaign was built using webflow. Although built on a template, the website still has great movement and engagement, and portrays a more custom website.

Issue Area: LGBTQIA+

Website Platform: Webflow

Website: https://www.50states50grants.com/ 

2. RiseUP Marketing Fellowship

RiseUP Marketing Fellowship is a purpose-driven marketing fellowship that works to increase diversity, access, and tangible social impact across the marketing and advertising industries.

Issue Area: Employment

Website Platform: Squarespace

Website: https://www.riseupfellows.com/

Code-driven Nonprofit Website Examples

1. OPS

OPS inspires, empowers, and connects a global community using high-impact films and visual storytelling to expose the most critical issues facing our planet.

Issue Area: Environment

Website Platform: WordPress

Website: https://www.opsociety.org/

2. Outward Bound USA

Outward Bound USA is the leading provider of outdoor education programs that allows young people to explore their personal potential, since 1962.

Issue Area: Education

Website Platform: WordPress

Website: https://www.outwardbound.org/

3. The Gerson Mission

The Gerson Institute’s mission is anchored in the education of food as medicine, reducing toxic exposure and creating a healthier world where Gerson Therapy is not just a viable option, but a pillar of treating chronic illness.

Issue Area: Health

Website Platform: WordPress

Website: https://gerson.org/

Common Nonprofit Website Pitfalls

1. Tracking and Conversions

All too often, organizations forget to transfer and/or set up their tracking on a new website. At the very least, make sure your Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are published when the website is released.

Chances are with most website rebuilds, elements and forms on the website have shifted. Buttons may have changed colors or placements and new pages may have been added. Any custom event or conversion tracking on your existing website will need to be recreated for the next website so that you don’t lose out on any of your tracking.

There’s nothing worse than realizing a pixel isn’t firing correctly mid-campaign. Make sure you take the time to QA your site, test forms and buttons, and run reports the second the website is live.

2. SEO

Every company needs a strong marketing strategy, even nonprofits! However, most nonprofits don’t know or haven’t considered investing in search engine optimization (SEO) even though it can have one of the highest returns on investment.

How do you expect your supporters, volunteers, and advocates to find you if you don’t invest in your SEO and content strategy? Roughly, 53% of individuals say they always do research before they buy something to ensure they are making the best possible choice. This is no different for nonprofits.

Strong SEO is more vital for nonprofits than ever with the accelerated digital transformation due to COVID and the overall political climate within the United States. Many Americans are looking for ways to support organizations of specific social issues — highlighting the greater need for strong SEO.

3. Accessibility

According to the World Health Organization, one billion people — approximately 15% of the world’s population — live with some form of disability. And, roughly 75% of Americans with disabilities report using the internet on a daily basis.

It’s important to keep in mind accessibility in web design is best when planned ahead, but can be remedied in meaningful ways at any stage in a website’s lifecycle.

As mentioned above, there are small changes that can go a long way in helping everyone engage with your website, but a few of the most critical are as follows:

  • Ensure the colors of your text/backgrounds are friendly for those experiencing visual disabilities, including color blindness
  • When available, draft specific copy for alt texts on images and graphics to verbally describe what someone else would see
    • This also helps with folks who use screen readers, having a voice to describe what they’re seeing adds context and color to their experience online
  • Using the tab key to navigate your site to see how folks who are unable to mouse around will engage with your content can illuminate any areas where more work may need to be done.
  • And lastly, checking for discrepancies between a mobile and desktop experience can be a great last pass to ensure you’re up to par with accessibility needs

Ultimately, a website redesign isn’t easy, but it’s a smart and lucrative business decision when it comes to helping your nonprofit reach new audiences and increase impact. A strong website is critical for any brand, but particularly vital for nonprofits that are goaled on reaching and inspiring interested audiences.

nonprofit trends

Source link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MARKETING

Skills to Look for in a Freelance Software Developer

Published

on

Skills to Look for in a Freelance Software Developer

According to Statista, the number of software developers around the globe is expected to increase to 28.7 million by 2024.

Freelance software developers benefit companies because of the ease and speed with which they can be onboarded and used as project-specific resources. This blog will answer the most asked concerns about using contract services.

Benefits of Hiring Freelance Software Developers

When hiring a freelancer, your first expectation is impeccable skills and expertise, followed closely by cost savings, or vice versa. Here are the most popular reasons why companies choose to hire freelance talent.

Cost-efficiency

Full-time employees cost an organisation a salary, as well as added investments in training, equipment, perks, overheads of utilities and rented space, and benefits such as healthcare and social security.

Freelancers work remotely using personal resources; businesses reduce investments without losing quality.

Reduced Risk

Businesses reduce financial risk by working with freelancers on an hourly, monthly, or project basis. Setting a clearly worded contract that the freelance software developer agrees to and signs, mitigates financial risk and clearly stipulates ownership of intellectual property.

Expertise

Freelancers with niche expertise such as software development company in London, provide companies with the best talents for their projects. Hiring freelancers for different projects allows businesses to match the varying demands of each project, streamlines workflows and ensures productivity.

Global Talent

Businesses choose professional freelancers expecting them to complete any given task with minimum input from the organization. You can access talent from across the globe on platforms such as UpWork, People Per Hour, Fiverr, and Toptal, amongst others. Client reviews on such portals help in assessing proficiency and expertise.

Work Quality

A freelancer is as good as her or his portfolio. Successful freelancers achieve credibility by building long-term relationships and providing consistent quality. Freelancer work depends on referrals and good reviews, hence a potential contract employee’s work portfolio, and reviews showcase their abilities.

Skills of A High-Quality Freelance Software Developer

The first criterion for hiring a developer for your project is knowing what skill sets are needed. List your project specifications to customise your search and determine the expertise required for the project. Freelance developers may work on web development (front-end, back-end, or full-stack developers) or mobile application development.

Front-end freelance developers

Front-end software developers design websites and web applications and manage the graphical interface of websites. They use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and technologies like Foundation, AngularJS, Bootstrap, Backbone, DOM, and EmberJS to create layouts and graphics.

Back-end freelance developers

Back-end developers handle server-side processes such as website security, speed, databases, servers, application logic, and APIs. Back-end developers are typically skilled in Java, Python, and PHP, as well as SQL, Git, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Full-stack freelance developers

Full-stack freelance developers handle both the front and back ends of the website. They are responsible for everything from project planning to website coding. Front-end frameworks include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and backends employ NodeJS, ExpressJS, Django, Flask, and C++. Full stack programmers manage database systems (such as SQL SERVER, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Oracle Database), version control, and web hosting.

Mobile app developers

Mobile app developers develop, create, and test mobile applications for iOS and Android operating systems. Mobile app developers have programming language skills such as NodeJS, PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails. They must also be proficient in back-end frameworks, database management and security, and hardware interaction. They need expertise in UI/UX design, security, and the Internet of things (IoT) for mobile devices.

How to Locate the Best Freelancers  Online

Talent portals such as Upwork, People Per Hour, and Fiverr showcase many talented freelance software developers. Here are steps on how to hire talent from an online opportunity marketplace.

Set a Hiring Budget

Look for similar job postings to learn what are the current hourly rates for the work you require. Define a reasonable budget. Beware that a freelance software developer may have higher hourly rates than regular employees.  

Clearly Define Project Requirements

Freelancers can be effective resources when you provide clear details about your project requirements. Be sure to mention the following

  • Allocated Budget
  • Payment terms
  • Project start and end dates
  • Clear job descriptions
  • Project expectations

Shortlist and Assess Freelance Software Developers

Top software developers typically work harder and achieve results because client reviews are essential to their ongoing success. The details you post make it easier for them to determine if they fit your requirements. Once you begin receiving qualified responses, choose according to their ratings and reviews, your interview process, and any sample project to build software and check their skills.

Six Factors to Consider when Hiring Freelance Sofware Developers

Hiring a freelancer revolves around their technical skills, certifications and education, attitude towards work, and ability to deliver results. Here are some crucial pointers to help you find the most appropriate fit for your project.

Technical Expertise

Freelancers must be able to handle the technical requirements of the project. They should be well-versed in software stacks, coding, development and task management software, version control tools, and deployment processes. Freelance software developers may charge more for specific technical abilities such as mobile app development, web development, or project rescues.

Experience

Freelancers who have worked on similar projects will have come across pain points and solutions. Any relevant experience enhances their expertise for your project and boosts their ability to strategise toward productive outcomes. Note that a freelancer’s experience typically increases their pay rate.

Cost

Experience and expertise increase a freelancer’s worth, but their services must provide value for your money. Knowing current hourly or project rates ensures that you are connecting with the right candidates. Freelancers that accept less payment may be new to the market and want to create a client base. Or, are choosing to supplement their income with multiple projects, which may reduce their work quality.

Professionalism

Education and certifications improve a freelancer’s pay scale, but they do not signal a freelancer’s abilities. The easiest way to gauge work ethic is from social proof such as client endorsements and their portfolio. A professional freelance software developer will openly share these details, with their client’s approval, of course.

Reliability

A reliable freelancer will have a long-standing client base, developed by consistent efforts and proven results. The more repeat customers a freelancer has, the better the chances of them being dependable. The following actions demonstrate the integrity of any freelance work and can be testified by customer reviews.

  • Following instructions
  • Regular updates
  • Quickly responding to queries
  • Willingly accepting critique
  • Meeting deadlines consistently

Location

One of the best features of acquiring freelance talent is access to global resources. Ensure that your communication skills match. Also, check that the culture and holidays in the freelancer’s location do not conflict with project development. Location can also affect fees, where freelancers in the USA charge the highest as compared to their Asian counterparts.

Conclusion

Finding and hiring the right freelance software developers is easy when you have the necessary checklists in place. Software development work is complex, make sure you are vetting your candidates carefully to get the best fit for your project. Good luck!

Source link

Continue Reading

MARKETING

State of Content Marketing in 2023

Published

on

State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



Source link

Continue Reading

MARKETING

27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

Published

on

Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

(more…)

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish