Why Facebook, Twitter and Google Are Your Non Profits New Home Page

Until now the prevailing thought among non-profit marketing folks is that your website’s homepage is the primary target in most campaigns. Hence the focus on design, call to action and content. That was then, when the web was all push – all about destination sites.

What is your homepage?

When was the last time you went to the home page of a non-profit you were interested in supporting? Maybe the first place you went was Facebook, after a friend shared something with you from the non-profit’s Facebook Page. Or maybe you googled the name of the non-profit after hearing about it at a party. Or maybe you clicked a link someone shared on Twitter. In all cases, your first visit was not the non-profit’s home page.

Frank Reed, of Hubspot writes: “So many factors go into the creation of that perfect ‘front door’ to your site that many companies forget that visitors don’t always enter through the front. Search engines have given your prospect the power to find your site based on what keywords you’re optimized for or based on what social channels you take part in.”

Building more home pages

Take a look at your web stats and Google Analytics. What words are people using to find your site? What pages are being visited the most? If you’re not happy with what you find, start optimizing each page on your site with the words you want to people use to find your organization. And if you want to get even better rankings, start blogging!

Google loves blogs

A blog does two things that helps your non-profit’s rankings on Google:

  • Google prefers fresh over stale. A blog enables you to regularly create fresh content for search engines.
  • Google lets links decide what’s valuable. The more inbound links from reputable sites a web-page has, the better chances it will rank high in google. And blogs tend to receive more inbound links than traditional websites. Especially when the content is fresh, remarkable and highly relevant.
  • Google loves specificity. A blog allows you to quickly create a single web-page (also called a post) around a specific subtopic. Think about these two search terms: “1952 Red Ferrari” and “Cars made in Italy”. Which one will have the least amount of competition of Google and have higher relevance to the user?

Read more about WordPress SEO in @remarkablogger’s post called “SEO for Beginners“.

Why Facebook, Twitter and Google Are Your Non Profits New Home Page

Referring Traffic

After search traffic, look at referring traffic. What sites are referring the most traffic? And are you happy with the amount of traffic you’re getting? Inbound links, Facebook and Twitter give me the most referral traffic. What about you?

Your homepage on Facebook

There are 350 million people now using Facebook. If don’t have a Faceobook Page that’s optimized for search and social media, now is the time to get one (I can do that for you if you don’t have the expertise or time).

Your homepage on Twitter

Your homepage on Twitter is the conversations people have about your non-profit. They share links to various sites – sometimes yours. Are you part of these conversations?

Why Facebook, Twitter and Google Are Your Non Profits New Home PageYour homepage on smart phones

Finally, make sure your site is optimized for smart phones. If you are using a WordPress blog, check out the Wapple plug-in. This makes your website more easily consumed and shared on mobile phones. The last thing you want is a potential donor at an event who can’t read your site on their iPhone.

Now over to you. What’s your homepage?

Learn how one nonprofit increased their online fundraising by 1,400%!

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Learn the tools, tactics, messaging, and website tweaks that created thier explosive result!

Comments

  1. While I agree that nonprofits should be looking toward popular, populated social media sites such as social networks and social media-powered sites such as blogs for their “new” homepage(s), the reality is that most nonprofits are still stuck in the weeds, the day-to-day swamp of keeping their heads above the sucking vortex of their legacy ways of communication.

    Most nonprofit workers are overworked/under-resourced and the very thought of directing their attention away from their yet-again overdue and over-priced print newsletter and stuck-in-the-90s web site can be terrifying. This is not at all a dismissal of nonprofit organizations and certainly not ignoring the ones that are adapting to social media tools incredibly well and to great benefit. But this is to point out that there are far more barriers to many nonprofits not quickly changing to new, better, faster, more effective tools.

    Not knowing about or not understanding them is only a sliver of the issue of adopting social media tools. Hiring someone to do this for them? Often cost-prohibitive and still scary because what happens once the Facebook and Twitter pages are built? Who will manage/maintain? Most funds run out before you even get to that part. Most nonprofits don't have anyone within their organization to be trained and to take over when the funding dwindles. So then what?

    1. I work for non-profits to provide either training or consulting so that they can best use the resources they already have. I also do my best to publish valuable content on this blog for their use (228 posts so far – 100% free).

  2. Nice post John. You touch on some things I personally have been thinking a lot about too, in particular about multiple access points where the first contact online with a company/organization may be. Do you know of any reports/studies that have surveyed online visitors to see where their first point of contact with the organization was?

    I can speak for my personal browsing habits as well as what I gather from site tracking that I monitor that there is definitely many first points of contact outside a core website. That being said, I also feel that in many cases when someone wants to learn more they still go to that core website to do so. The fact that people may be coming from Twitter and Facebook to the org's website to learn more about them is definitely something fun to consider when designing/developing home pages.

  3. Just one comment: a lot of organizations want to jump on the new tools you've mentioned above but haven't done the *much* harder work of identifying their constituencies, clarifying their message(s), and just plain getting clear about who they are. That's all necessary pre-work before getting a Facebook page, or setting up a a blog. I appreciate that these are good, valuable tips, but don't put the cart before the horse here!

  4. John – would you have a minute to post links to your posts about strategy? I know we're guilty of jumping into Facebook, Twitter etc. before having a good strategy in place – would love some direction on that!

  5. @alizasherman these are good real-world issues we deal with every day with our non-profit clients. Generating fresh content is key to success using social media tools, but a Facebook page, LinkedIn group, twitter just adds more stuff to an already overworked, underfunded group. The trick is to identify those things that once did, but no longer creates value and convince them to eliminate them (or spend less time/money on them). I'm not entirely sold that the newsletter does NOT create value, but the way most of them come together and are distributed is questionably inefficient and ineffective. Regardless, it is hard for non-profits to let go and step off a ledge with you, espeically when the skin you are risking is not yours.

    Most often, the answer is “more stuff” on the web site or a “circle the wagons approach.” We fight that every day. We focus on the operational parts of the social media tools and don't push the “conversation” and “engagement” stuff so much. Once they see how Twitter can automate traffic to a cause, landing page, etc, they are more apt to ask about the other stuff..

    @johnhaydon: BTW, the front page of a web site is still pretty important, if not critical. Our analytics show most of the entry comes in through there. While the outposts are important, the front door is still the most used. Unless you have data to the contrary, I'm sticking with “polishing the handle of the big front door.”

  6. Hi John, good post! A while back, I wrote a similar one entitled “The Facebook Page Is the New Website.” Now, I honestly don't think the website is dead – it has other uses – but I agree that certain social sites are a requirement now (Facebook included), for many of the reasons you mentioned. In researching my article, I learned that Facebook search traffic comes primarily from links posted within Facebook (though this may change with the new Google social indexing). I also found it interesting that Facebook is the second-most popular site to which users bookmark and share information socially. And, given that information about searches within Facebook, I think that it is even more critical to have a Facebook presence. If you are already on Facebook and hear of an organization, you're not going to leave it to look at an organization's website; you're going to look for their Facebook Page! (In case you're interested in the article, it can be found here: http://www.communityorganizer20.com/2009/03/27/…)

    1. Debra – I just read your post, written back in March 2009. Since that time, Facebook has grown from 150 million users to over 350 million users. And yes, whenever I get a shared link about a non-profit, I go to their Facebook Page first.

  7. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Alena

    http://grantfoundation.net

  8. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.