Blogging as signpostingSubmitted Sat Jun 21 2008 23:49:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)
I was talking with a friend the other day thinking of starting a blog of her own, and it got me trying to parse through the deliverable benefits you get from this sort of enterprise.
Community, active learning ... those things are great, and very real. But the one most quantifiable to a bottom-line-oriented boss is likely to be search.
Every post on a blog is a signpost that says, "here's a resource about X" -- for months or years afterwards when people punch the keywords into Google. It's an incredibly powerful, cheap and genuine search strategy and for any charity whose issue isn't solely indicated by incredibly crowded search environments like "Britney Spears panties". Every day, we see a steady trickle of traffic on topics we've covered here, both on-topic to our raison d'etre and off.
I got a weird but welcome example of that this week on my other blog. All of a sudden one day, I had huge traffic (by my paltry standards) coming to a single post -- but there was no identifiable link out there. It was all search. Out of nowhere, months after the publication, that post had its highest-traffic day ... and then, it dropped back into obscurity:
What the heck?
Turns out, it's a post about Strom Thurmond's romantic adventures with a condemned inmate ... and on June 19th, the day of the hit parade, Paul Begala referenced this affair on a front-page Huffington Post story whose (currently) 94 comments testify to the HuffPo's traffic footprint.
There's no link to little old me in the Begala story, more's the pity; but, just about anyone who searched it had a page of mine on the first page of results, and what with the salacious appeal of the lecherous old goat hooking up with a murderess on her way to the death house, it was searched a lot.
Not that I'm over there doing this specifically, but especially for an organization mulling a blog, or an existing blogger mulling what to post, one could do a lot worse than starting here:
I want this site to be found by everyone who goes online looking for _______
... and building posts around the various possible words and concepts that fill in that blank.
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Weird SearchesSubmitted Wed May 16 2007 10:07:02 GMT-0400 (EDT)
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Tuesday Tips: A Dozen Tips for Sprucing up Your WebsiteSubmitted Tue Apr 03 2007 10:53:44 GMT-0400 (EDT)
Have you given your website some design love lately? Here are some fast tips for taking your site to the next level. 1. Don’t forget the fold. Just as old-fashioned newspapers have a fold line, if a web page gets too long, people will have to scroll to see all of the content on the page. When designing your home and interior pages, make sure to put important items such as news features, donate buttons, and e-newsletter sign-ups above the fold, where they can be seen easily. 2. Be a creative conformist. The web works because key site elements appear in consistent locations across all well-designed web sites. While you want your website to have a look and feel that is unique to your organization, make sure you also follow design conventions. For example, people have come to expect that search bars be placed in the top right of a webpage while logos are most often in the top left position. Nine times out of ten you should stick with these conventions. Groups like Amazon play with these conventions, but again it’s generally wisest to plunk key navigational elements where people expect to see them. 3. Make your asks contextual. Don’t let isolated "donate buttons" do all the fundraising legwork on your site. Work donation asks into areas where you are telling the most compelling stories about your accomplishments. 4. Let thy people donate! When someone does click a donate button, reward them immediately with a donate form. Don’t make them click more or wade through a lot of copy before letting them help you. In fact, it’s highly recommended that the form be the default first page of your donate section.
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