With over 160,000 UK charities all competing to inform the world of their worthy causes, raise funds online and build support, it can be difficult for a charity to get noticed. There are a few things you can do to your current website to help lift you above the crowd and make it as easy as possible for your supporters to find you.
1. Attract more visitors
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art of building, or tweaking a website to improve your search engine ranking and attract the supporters who are interested in your charity. There are many aspects to SEO and it can quickly become complicated but there are a few simple techniques that everybody can use.
Identify key terms
The first thing to do is to identify the key terms to target. More specific terms are often less competitive and bring in visitors with a better idea of what they are looking for. For example, target the term ‘Wildlife charity’ and you'll find yourself competing with thousands of other web sites; refine your term to ‘Barn owl conservation' and you'll find not only that there are fewer sites competing for the term, but also that the visitors finding your site using this term have a clearer idea of what they are looking for.
Include good page titles and descriptions
All too often, page titles and descriptions are overlooked and pages will be given short titles such as 'Home'. Using your key terms in a page's title and then repeating these in a short description will have a positive effect on your ranking.
Headings, links and content
Think about how you word headings, links and content to be more relevant to your subject and remember to use your key terms.
For a more in-depth introduction to search engine optimisation, read Mercurytide’s whitepaper on Introduction to Search Engine Optimisation
2. Write readable content
When optimising your site for search engines, a trap that many people fall into is to saturate their content with key terms and forget that content should primarily be written for people to read. When writing content, it is important to keep a good balance between ensuring search engines rank you highly and providing interesting and readable content for your visitors.
3. Lead them through the site
What do you really want your visitors to do on the website? A common mistake is to draw too much attention to every piece of content or action. This just creates a busy looking website that will annoy your visitors and lead them in circles. Instead, choose no more than three things you would like your visitors to achieve on your website, whether it’s donating money, reading your blog or getting in touch and make links to these actions stand out on relevant pages. As long as your site is easy to navigate and your content is well written and presented, they should be able to find anything else they need on their own.
4. Establish credibility
With so many websites around, it is important to convince visitors that you are a legitimate charity. To convince them of your legitimacy, supply a business address, contact details, regularly updated content of what the charity is currently doing and make good use of design.
5. Help your supporters to get involved
Use your website to encourage your supporters to get involved in upcoming events or to help to raise awareness of your cause. Add photos of other volunteers getting involved in previous events and details of how supporters can get involved in their area. Collect email addresses to build a mailing list and send professionally designed e-newsletters to inform people about news, events or just to remind them of your cause.
Or let the experts do it for you
Alternatively, you could simply enter the competition to receive a free website from design and digital company Mercurytide, who are partnering The Drum to provide a charity with a website worth up to £10,000.