Your Web site manager is a busy person and doesn’t have the time or patience to have a long back and forth with your Web site changes. Here are THREE things you can do to help the Web site update process flow smoothly.
THREE: Organize your request around the Web site you have, not the one you dream up
Quite often, we get a Word document with a note attached saying “post this to our Web site.” Aftering opening the document, we find ourselves saying things like, “where?” , “in what context does this belong?” and “has client even looked at their Web site?” We generally add a few colorful expletives as well.
Give us some indication as to where you want the content and how it flows with the rest of your site. We can’t read your mind and really do want to live up to your expectations. A URL and screenshots are always appreciated.
TWO: Involve the Web site team in the planning process early
Too often, we get a “fully formed” program, complete with sign up forms in Word, beginning with the following, “We had a meeting with the staff and have created this program…” or some like language. And, they want it up and running tomorrow as they are already selling the program.
Check with the mechanic before speeding down the track; the lugs nuts may not be tightened down! In short, your Web team is there to save you money, time and stress. A well-designed program that includes tools such as forms integrated to your back end database, cron jobs, automated emails, etc. are some of the features that a good Web team can bring to the table. If the Web team is the last one in the chain, most likely the program will have a feel of being attached to your Web site (and your organization) with duct tape and baling wire.
ONE: Write news releases that are Digg-able, Google-able and in general, shareable
Too often, we get news releases that are not written for the on-line world. Even if they are destined for a print publication, assume they will end up on line.
When writing a news release, use a title that grabs in no longer than 60 characters and then write a summary in 250 character or fewer, including the following: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Sound familiar? Those are the 5Ws that you learned in essay-writing in grade school. And they still apply. Even though the world went and got itself into a big ol’ hurry and digitized, news is still for people to read. And people want to know the 5Ws very quickly.
Why the character limits? Twitter is only 140 characters so you need a title that will fit along with a link and #hash reference. Most reposting services like Digg, Delicious, Linked In, etc have limits of 200-350 characters. And, when your news is picked up by sites like Alltop.com, you want the first paragraph to contain enough information to get the reader to read the whole release. In addition, most of adult America has some form of shortened attention span and will only spend time skimming. All the important stuff needs to be in the top paragraph.
And while you are writing, make sure to include a list of tags you want to include with your press release.
Your Web site is your front door
Your organization’s Web site is no longer something “over there.” It is the front door, the face of your organization. When prospective (or current) clients and members go looking for your services, you can bet they have already been to your Web site. If it is sloppy, unorganized, outdated, hosting too much information or has a feel that it has been “glued together,” they will notice and assume your organization is the same way. But, if it is tightened up and has a sense of purpose, direction and vision, they will turn the knob and come in.