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Blogging for Nonprofit Website Optimization

In the process of blogging, you might start to wonder how you can expose your content to more people and achieve increased website optimization.  

Social sharing on sites like Facebook and Twitter can be beneficial, along with any interactions from your supporters, but when it comes to your nonprofit outreach, social media can only take you so far.  This is especially the case if you don’t have a major following on these channels, as you’ll want to find alternative ways to expose your content to more people.

This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into the picture!

A primary reason for any organization, nonprofit or otherwise, to begin a blog is to ultimately bring in more traffic, leading to more customers or supporters.  SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s content, resulting in search engines (like Google, Bing, and Yahoo) listing you sooner in their search results.  

For example, if you’re a nonprofit that helps homeless pets, then you’ll want your nonprofit’s website to appear right away when someone does a search for, “where to adopt pets” in your area because you want people with this goal in mind to find you and support you. Seems obvious enough, right?   

Why does appearing on the first page of a search matter?

A Google statistic estimates that less than 10% of people will go beyond the first page of a Google search.  So, if you’re not on page 1, you could be missing out on 90% of the people who could have made it to your website based on their search.  And if you think anyone will advance to the 2nd or 3rd page, ask yourself how many times you’ve done that when conducting online research. 

Steps you can take to blog for website optimization:

 Use Questions and Feedback

What are the questions your target audience (i.e., your supporters) are asking and are you addressing those concerns within your blog?  

Referencing the aforementioned example, if someone did a search of “how to adopt a dog”, you would first need to have that information available on your website in order to show up in a search result.  

People typically look for educational information first before looking to commit to a purchase, or in this case an adoption or donation, so consider the types of questions people have asked you before.

Was there a pattern for the types of questions people asked most frequently or did you receive duplicate feedback?  These could be things people wanted to figure out on their own via search, but the information simply wasn’t readily available to them online.  It’s your job to help them out with that! 

 Create a List of Topics

Based on the prior step, create a list of the most popular topics that have come up for your organization.  If you haven’t had much feedback, research other nonprofits that are similar to your own and see what questions they’re answering within their content.  You can get ideas this way, but make sure to create your own unique content based on these ideas!

If you already have a decent supporter base and have access to their email addresses, consider sending them a survey requesting their honest feedback, questions, concerns, and so on.  You can then find patterns from the survey results to help formulate your content topics.

 Write Your Content

If you chose your topic correctly, meaning that it’s relevant to your industry or cause, then you shouldn’t have much trouble writing about it.  As far as blogging guidelines are concerned, refer back to our Nonprofit Blogging Checklist and Blogging to Attract and Engage Supporters, which break down how to easily formulate your blog articles from start to finish!

 Apply SEO Best Practices

Many SEO best practices were already mentioned in our Nonprofit Blogging Checklist, but we’ve created a separate SEO Best Practices List tailored specifically to nonprofits:

Keyword Location

Make sure keywords for each blog article are located in the following places: URL, blog title, body content, meta description, and image alt tags.  Certain content management systems take the guesswork out of this process, like Yoast SEO for WordPress sites.

Unique Content Creation

Although you may be covering a popular topic, you need to own it by making it your own, unique rendition.  Unique, optimized content should be your goal and if you need help writing, why not make blog writing a volunteer opportunity?

Functional Links

Providing information is great, but expanding your reach with links makes your blog even better!  Make sure you’re linking to other blog posts or pages within your own website and using calls to action (CTAs) to help support your nonprofit’s current efforts.  For example, you could end a blog article with the CTA “Sign Up to Volunteer!” or “Learn More About Us!”.

You’ll also want to link to outside sources from time to time.  This shows that your nonprofit has done its research by including information that isn’t limited to the confines of your organization.

Mobile Friendly

Ideally, your nonprofit’s website should have a responsive design, making it easily viewable on all devices:  Computers, tablets, and smartphones!  The “friendlier” your website is, the greater your chances of attracting more friendly visitors. At the very least, make sure your online fundraising campaigns are mobile friendly so people won’t be deterred from making a donation from their preferred device.

Shareable Content

Make sure that your content can be easily shared on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and more!  This can be done by adding social media widgets to your blog like the ones below.

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