Web site tips

3 Ideas for Rethinking Your Web Site

1. Rethink who you're trying to reach.

Does your plan say you want to reach "all members", or maybe "all parents in Australia". Target audience descriptions are often horribly general. Try tightening your focus. You may want to focus on better supporting your activists; or the type of parents who already call your organisation (ie. highly motivated). If recruiting young people to your cause is the focus, think carefully about what kind of young people tend to join up, draw up a profile, then rethink your content to meet their needs.

2. Talk to your staff.

A web site should extend the reach of an organisation, which means its people. So talk to them first, looking for ways to use the web site to save effort or do more. Quiz them on what they spend their time doing. You might find, for example, that your reception staff handle hundreds of calls from school students. Could you divert these to the web and save staff time as well as postage sending out information? Or perhaps member retention is this year's objective. So what do your front line staff say about why people don't renew, or otherwise leave the fold? How could can you use the web site and email alerts to address this? Once you've talked with staff you can think about using focus groups and surveys to talk direct with representatives of target audiences.

3. Email gets them in.

Web sites are like storefronts; you have to get people to turn up. Some retailers make sure they sell one or two essential daily items - newsagents selling the paper for example - then use the opportunity of that visit to interest people in other goods. Others have to advertise and promote. If you want people to turn up at your site, you'll need an email list to send regular info to. Send them short bits and redirect to longer text on your web site. They key is to collect those email addresses now.

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