7 Steps to Adding a Blog to your Nonprofit Website | Miratel Solutions

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7 Steps to Adding a Blog to your Nonprofit Website

As part of my Social Media Summer Series to improve nonprofit fundraising and engagement, my most recent posts were 10 Website Tips to Maximize Nonprofit Fundraising and Engagement Opportunities and 5 Tips to Improve Engagement on Nonprofit Websites. These posts were built around the important role a website plays and featured tips to help optimize its performance. One of the tips was to incorporate a blog to complement the main website and that is what I will be exploring today.

A blog can strengthen supporter engagement to further position your organization as champions of your cause and these 7 tips will come in handy if you are considering, or in the process of, launching a blog:

  1. Do your Research. Make a list of your favourite nonprofit and corporate blogs and review while taking notes of what you do and do not like about them. Pay attention to the layout, the balance of text versus images, how the brand is represented, where the call to action is placed and categories of topics included. While reviewing, keep asking yourself how your notes can or cannot be applied to your brand. This will help you start to visualize your blog and will make choosing a design theme/template easier.
  2. Decide On A Blogging Platform. For the sake of this blog, we are assuming you have an existing website and will be adding a blog using a self-hosted platform. If you already are paying for hosting, you might as well take advantage of the extended brand and SEO options of a self-hosted platform versus a free one. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the three major players with WordPress being the current king of the blogging platforms. All offer a large variety of design themes/templates, are easy to install, user-friendly and customizable to grow with your needs.

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    Image courtesy of onlineblog.com

  3. Pick a Theme/Template. Now that you have the information from your research and you know which platform you want to use, you can start looking for a theme or template. Each platform has a wide selection of both free and paid (under $100) themes. You can do a Google search for your chosen platform followed by either the word “theme” or “template” (ex WordPress themes or Joomla templates) and you’ll be able to begin your search. This is really where your research notes will come in handy as there are so many to choose from and having an idea of the design and layout elements you like will help narrow it down. Keep in mind that the brand impression and imaging on your blog should be somewhat consistent with your website. Use the same logos, icons, call to action buttons, tagline/slogan and other design elements. You want your blog to strengthen what your website sets out to accomplish – not conflict with it. Every brand impression counts towards loyalty so you’ll benefit from consistency.
  4. Installing and Managing your Blog. Survey your staff and volunteers to determine if any have the necessary skillset for the install and ongoing management of the blog. The popularity of personal blogs might make finding the necessary skillset easier than you may think. If none of your employees or existing volunteers have the knowledge base you can hire someone to install and customize your blog (and teach you how to publish a post and some basic monitoring and trouble-shooting – make sure that is part of the deal). If you cannot afford to pay for the assistance, you can recruit specific skill-based volunteers via your own network or using an online community dedicated to connecting nonprofits with volunteers with specific skills like Catchafire, Idealist or VolunteerMatch.
  5. Organizing Content Outline. Choosing what information and categories you want to write about can be a bit daunting as the options seem limitless. Select categories that will make producing a steady stream of fresh, relevant content do-able (you can adjust down the road if necessary). Categories can include your organization’s latest local and (inter)national news/happenings/events/campaigns/success, recent developments or breakthroughs in your sector, interpreting the latest industry report/research or a story from someone who has benefited by your charity.
  6. Encourage Contribution. Invite everyone from all departments within your organization with an aptitude for writing to contribute to the blog as a writer and assign a content editor. Each post will require research, writing, editing, finding images and other media, publishing and sharing though social networks. If you are incorporating SEO into the mix, that adds another layer to the writing/editing.  Amassing a team of writers and appointing a content editor to manage the quality, consistency and accuracy of the posts is critical to the success of your blog. You want to make sure every post is well-written, appeals to your audience and a good representation of your organization. Depending on how frequently you want to post fresh content will determine how many participants you’ll require on this team but the more talent the better.
  7. Keep It Fresh. If the topic categories you select include options that represent a steady flow of current, topical content, it should be relatively easy to keep your blog consistently active on a regular basis. Prior to launching your blog, decide on the frequency that you intend to post and have 3-4 posts ready to go so you’ll demonstrate consistency right from the start. The web has many resources that can inspire new ideas that will help with creating unique and informative posts.

A blog has many more benefits to a nonprofit’s overall SEO and marketing plans and I will continue exploring blogging in my next post on Thursday with 6 Pointers for Effective Blogging for the New Nonprofit Blogger to help get your blog established. Feel free to browse through my Social Media Summer Series for nonprofits which includes a series on FacebookTwitterLinkedin and Pinterest along with other related topics.

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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery servicesdonation cagingdonation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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