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Rethink Your Organization's Web Site

Rethink Your Organization's Web Site

  • Anything you offer on your Web site, be it static content or an interactive feature, can and should be considered a service, and therefore held to the same standards you apply to any other service your organization offers. Read TechSoup's guidelines for making every page on your site count in Rethink Your Organization's Web Site.

    What has your organization done to add value to its site? Do you evaluate it regularly? Share your tips and ask questions here.
    senior editor, TechSoup
  • wcook,

    I get an application warning when I click on the link you have listed above. My system is set to block such applications without permission and having never seen this on TechSoup I am a bit weary. Does TechSoup have this article in plain html?
    Tim Keneipp New & Emerging Technologies Librarian La Crosse Public Library
  • (Emailed copy of article to tkeneipp)
  • Still curious as to why it was posted in this format and not HTML like most articles...
    Tim Keneipp New & Emerging Technologies Librarian La Crosse Public Library
  • Timothy and everyone,

    Just got word that the link to the article has been fixed. Here's the link:

    http://www.techsoup.org/howto/articles/webbuilding/page4253.cfm

    Yann

    Yann Toledano, Digital Marketing Strategist
    YTConsulting.com
    Host, Web Building Forum, TechSoup.org
    Twitter: @webmanyann

  • Glad to see that I was not loosing my mind!
    Tim Keneipp New & Emerging Technologies Librarian La Crosse Public Library
  • Hi,
    Just finished reading the article and I couldn't agree more. One of the greatest barriers we have had in re-developer our site is getting participating staff to understand the strategies and philosophies. They are/were very much proponents of "build it and they will come" or "post it and the world will come". It has taken much longer to change some of these attitudes than to build a dozen sites. I have emailed our United Spinal staff who are involved in any way with our websites and pointed them to this article.
  • Rethinking and evaluating your website should be an ongoing process. I recommend to my NPO clients that they do a quarterly (think oil change), an annual review of their site (think tune-up) and then do a major assessment of their site after their every major strategic planning session, 3-5 year cycles for most groups, (think overhaul). Not doing this on a regular basis often is what gets groups into trouble. By doing this a group, including board members, you can also increase understanding and ownership of your website while making sure it is on track to support the organization's current mission and objectives.
    Tim Keneipp New & Emerging Technologies Librarian La Crosse Public Library
  • One very simple thing to do is MAKE SURE YOUR SITE IS UP-TO-DATE! I don't know how many times I've gone to a nonprofit's site, been impressed by professional design and graphics, only to be appalled by a notice about a big upcoming event - in 2004. Or a calendar that only lists past events. Lack of maintenance of the site reflects poorly on the management of the organization.
  • Regarding posting directory information on your site, some thought should go into creating a secure area for this type of information. Unless it is public information already, providing directory information (members names, contact information, etc.) without giving them due notice of your intent first (opt-out), violates trust. Having users login using their credentials and a password would be a good thing.
  • re: directory information & secure areas... sometimes a good approach is to make some fields public and some fields only visible for registered users. With a roles-based content management system, it's possible to get even more specific... you can control whether directory information is visible to different user groups. For example, you might only want to expose the phone numbers of members to other members who are in a common subgroup, or working group, or demographic. So, for example, everyone in group A can log in and see the phone numbers (or email addresses, etc) of other people in group A, but can't see the contact info of people in group B. Needless to say, a sensible site owner isn't going to publish any information about members without permission from the members...
    Ryan Walker WebCommunicate.net Consulting for non-profits
  • This article is perfect timing, as we are just feeling website growing pains. Lemon Street Gallery is a non-profit artist's co-op gallery and community art-ed center. This being the case, we have a variety of potential web users: professional artists, community art students, and art buyers. Does anyone think that having more than one site is ever the answer, especially if the audience is fairly diverse?
  • Yes and no.

    If your audiences are really that different or you have a different message, then you can think about having a separate website. Firms such as Nike do this a lot, but they also tie the new sites into pretty heavy-duty marketing campaigns. As a by-product this also helps them measure the response to their campaigns more effectively, it's called marketing and NPO's should do it to. If you go down this path, be sure that you have the resources to pull it off, because it is very easy to forget or put one on the back burner when life gets hectic.

    Rather than having actually separates sites, you may want to consider creating what I call micro sites. These are sections of your website that are designed to reach a specific audience. This is a bit cheaper than having separate sites, but they all originate from one main page, that has to act like a traffic cop and be very intuitive.
    Tim Keneipp New & Emerging Technologies Librarian La Crosse Public Library
  • One inexpensive (most often free) way to create the feel of a "separate site" is with the use of a subdomain.

    E.F. If your site is "www.localarts.org", you may consider creating another site all together within the same domain name by using "classes.localarts.org" or "register.localarts.org".

    Using a subdomain is a great way to eliminate the "localarts.org/register/index.shtml" and help simplify the path to your site.

    Also, it saves having to purchase another domain name.

    hth,

    Marc Trimble Director west7th.net [b] West7thDomains.net Hosting for NP's and NGO's worldwide.