Many Non-Profits have a hard time establishing a frequently visited web presence. There are many attributes that contribute to this but perhaps the most important is the relation of different content types (i.e. - Video, Blog Posts, Articles, Research, etc).
Most people visiting a website, whether direct or through search, already know what they are looking for. In that process, they want as much content pertaining to their inquiry. Your ability to deliver will decide how often they return to your website. This is particularly true when your non-profit is focused in a well-defined mission such as breast cancer, military topics, or the construction industry.
While I could give a detailed technical brief on how this is accomplished, perhaps it's more important to discuss what is not going to serve your non-profit/association well as you continue to grow. Here are a couple quick bullets to get you in the right direction.
- You shouldn't be responsible for manually linking related content. Technology has come to a point where you can define key terms that are the underlying connector for all of your content. This is referred to as "Taxonomy" and it can be multi-tiered to any depth your heart desires. Of course you want to make this as simple as possible for the visitor/member of the website. Automation of this process can vary based on the archives of content you have or quite frankly the level of automation and control you want associated to the content insertion process.
- Related content shouldn't be confined to any one type of content. Limited platforms that are custom or older often don't have the ability to associate different types of content delivered in different formats. Even though an underlying taxonomy may exist; you can't link your short clips, video, or blog posts even though it might be related to a recent research study your group produced. This is very annoying. Make sure you utilize a content management system robust enough to make these inter-relations such as Drupal.
- Cleary Identify what type of content it is. Now we're focusing on the presentation of the related content. It's a huge benefit to your readership for them to distinguish the different types of content that you feel are related to what they are reading. If you have four distinct types of content through the website, combine like items and separate the others out into their own "blocks" for viewing. For instance, if they are reading a featured article on the web from one of your magazines you may have two blocks presented to the reader on the left or right of the content (this is entirely dependent on your sites design and layout). One could combine two different but similar types of content such as “Related Blog Posts and Articles" and "Related Videos". On the video block you could include a small thumbnail with the title for the related items so that the reader can instantly recognize that it is media based content without having to do a detailed investigation.
Actions and Results
The result is that a little pre-planning on how you'd like to inter-relate your content goes a very long way. Leverage a platform like Drupal and don't waste money reinventing the wheel. If you have a platform that requires you to create this capability from scratch, chances are you need to upgrade your technology platform anyway.
It's very probable you'll get much better feedback from you membership and if you’re tracking with Web Trends or Google Analytics you'll most likely see your bounce rates decrease significantly in the range of 10% -15% right away.
If you having trouble getting your membership engaged, please don’t hesitate to contact Unleashed Technologies. We're here to help non-profits grow for the fulfillment of their mission to the community they serve.