You might have this more or less clear idea that being visible on Google, Yahoo or any other search engine is important for your organization. This idea that has been created and is being exploited in the for-profit sector mostly does not apply to the non-profits.
Are you really competing with tens and hundreds of other community groups in your town that do the same thing as you do? Doubt that. Most of community agencies and groups are either unique in their geographic area or in the work that they do. Just this uniqueness in content and activities presented on the website makes it possible to jump up high in Google or Bing listings very fast. This is called “organic” ranking and most non-profits do not need all the extensive time, consultations and investment to be “visible”. Covering the SEO basics is good as basics are in anything you do.
Basics of SEO
Basics of optimization are a part of any basic website development. You create titles and subtitles that truly represent the most important elements of your message; you always give titles to your images; you make sure that links to your pages contain titles of those pages and can be searchable by engines; you include a site map; you integrate social media if you can into your website and you create and add meaningful content that people come back too! Following what like-minded organizations are publishing and getting into commenting and meaningful conversations is something to think about if there is people on your staff that can take this role.
Search Engine Rules are Changing
Some rules are going out of practice, such as over use of important or Key Words in your titles or text; not repeating often the same content or text that links to your site; not spamming other sites with useless comments or articles, etc. Those practices are even being penalized nowadays. For example, Google uses its analytics to measure how long people stay on the pages of your website and if they come back to it to regulate your ranking. How often you publish content and how often you repeat yourself can as well influence the authority of your site.
This is where the authenticity of your web activity is important. As much as you are loyal to your mission in your off line work, you should be true and honest in your online activities. SEO for non-profits and community groups is really that simple! The difficult thing is getting skilled and dedicated to your working life on the Internet!
- Introduction to SEO(http://seo.grassroots.org/guide)
- 6 Best Practices for Modern SEO (directorymaximizer.com)
Why don’t we start by saying – there is not 100% protection from hacking. Adult videos on the Sesame Street or hijacks of government sites – there are numerous ways to make a statement or profit from web attacks. Open source Content Management Systems are developed by communities of software engineers, and hackers, and despite constant attacks they manage to keep the pace and a relative security. Are the free CMS more vulnerable than the more expensive options? For most small organizations that is the price they wish to pay.
You will always find on CMS sites like Joomla or WordPress the latest stable versions of software and the latest test versions, both for download. We make sure we are working with the latest stable versions when we help you create your sites. However, in many cases our partner organizations are acquiring their first experiences and do not have a long term vision nor stable budgets to think of all the aspects of web strategies. They would be happy to learn how to update and manage their site, how to work with photos or pdfs, and would forget that their Content Management System needs maintenance and care. Improved and more secure software versions appear every couple of months and as we said, CMS-based web sites are not entirely free! Besides paying your hosting fees, you need minimal investments to do regular backups and update your CMS.
Basic Maintenance We Do
DAG Nova offers two types of basic maintenance to its partners.
1) More than 100 hours per year of volunteer technical support and site maintenance for those that do not have stable funding nor entirely developed web strategies.
- That includes two backups per year and resolving problems as they arise. Pretty much in reaction to what is happening.
2) Maintenance for a minimal cost up to 500$ to those partners that are able to budget it annually.
- This support includes quarterly backups, regular upgrades of the software, including technical support up to 200$ per year.
- Another couple of hundred dollars can be added here for “migrations” to a new stable generation of the software, if necessary, and for installation and maintenance of anti-virus packages for CMS. Prevention is always better than only reacting to problems.
So, hacking incidents have been in some cases an important “teachable moments”, and a step toward building a more complete web strategy. We will continue supporting you and learning together. Did we mention that social media strategy can as well be developed before things “happen”?
- Costs You Cannot Escape (dagnova.ca)
- Will paying for website maintenance save time and money? (marketing.yell.com)
- Importance of Upgrading CMS Software (www.digitalpacific.com.au)
I have been looking for a decent presentation of the Cloud computing for some time, and have found an interesting one through TechSoup Canada.
Before you take a walk in the Cloud with Tierney from TechSoup Canada, I just want to tell you that it won`t be your first time. It is another word for the Internet and computer networks.
Since you had your first free email account (Yahoo, Hotmail or), you began storing your information on the Internet. You didn`t need to install the email program on your computer as you did with Outlook, Opera or Thunderbird. You didn`t need to worry about the space on your disk to store years of messages and attachments.
Since you started uploading your photos to Flickr or Picasa, you could reach them and show them to anybody, from any computer and not worry that a hard drive crash would burn all your precious memories to bytes and pieces.
Since you used Dropbox or Google Docs, you avoided emailing yourself documents from home to work and back. Did you collaborate with people from different places who only needed Internet access to work on the one and same project and do not loose track of the latest versions?
Since you surfed YouTube or Vimeo when there was nothing good on TV. Did you upload your own creations for others to watch? You decide if your creations are public or private and you do not worry if other people will break into your treasure chest because those services are generally safe.
Since your first blog, or CMS-based web site that you comfortably log into, update on the remote server and publish with a click.
Working in the Cloud is comfortable
- You can access your data from anywhere and from any device with a web browser
- You do not need to buy software licenses for every computer and updates to new versions
- You are better protected from viruses and spyware; you just take care of your browser protection
- Your data is safely stored on multiple remote servers so you do not ever notice if some crash in one part of the world
Working in the Cloud is not completely free
- You still pay for your Internet access or hosting fees
- You have to maintain your computer or mobile device
- If you run a company or a business, you will need top security and performance and you will pay fees to a specialized cloud service provider
- Set up, application migration and use of some applications will require external support or consulting
Working in the Cloud requires caution
- There is always a question of who has control over data stored on remote servers
- Security is better than in traditional hard drive protection but not unbreakable
- Be sure to create different passwords for different applications and take privacy seriously
- Users having less and less expertise in and thus control over technology that they use
The future of public computing and universal access to technology could be in the Cloud, would you agree?
Tierney will be hosting a free webinar about the Cloud on October 27th. Register and you will find out more about cloud computing tools in action, such as Google Docs, Prezi, Smartsheets, Dropbox, Diigo and Netvibes.
- A Walk in the Cloud – Is Cloud Computing Right for You? (techsoupcanada.ca)
- Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web (google.com)
- Is “the Cloud” Overrated? (webpronews.com)
You wish to be a master of your website as much as possible! Do not fear. Keep learning and keep in mind that what people will look for is not always a flawless website but the proof of your authentic existence: that there are real people they can communicate with and that your activities are meaningful and inviting, offline and online! This is a topic that we will return to in different ways but we can start with some things you need to do to keep your website alive.
Once you have sorted out your communication objectives, audience, resources and expected outcomes, you can:
There are many reasons why you might decide to make a change – new Internet provider, another hosting service, different email address. You do not want to lose you Internet connection, important messages or access to the website as those are moments that can add stress to your work. Even though, you might not do all the steps yourself, one thing that can help lower the anxiety is knowing what to expect and some useful tips on how to go about it.
This is just a general overview of how you can easily work with Content Management Systems such as Joomla or WordPress. I have already said that the most important feature of the CMS is the division of control over the template of your website and the control of the content itself. Once your website template and components are set up, you can safely update and modify the content (text, images, calenders, events, etc.).
You already know how much you pay you monthly Internet bill, and we have spoken about the cost of the domain name, but what are the other costs that you cannot escape if you are to have your website. Surely website hosting and if working with the content management systems, the basic website maintenance.
The image of thousands of computers connected together in a network – is the simple image of the Internet or the World Wide Web. Connected through telephone lines, through cables and satellite connections, wireless transmission through radio waves – one way or the other, those computers are holding data and passing it around. As the time passes, more and more people are joining in and connecting in new ways. We will talk more about the cost of being on the Internet but first, how do we find information, people or organizations we want in this growing network? Or how do others find their way to us through the Web?
As an organization, you should have a web address and an email to go with it.