5 Content Rules to Follow for Effective Nonprofit Websites

Content Rules for Websites

Even if you feel like you’ve hit your content marketing stride, it’s important to pause and take stock every now and again. Being a great marketer goes beyond writing well about your organization. According to our content rules, it also means you’re crafting new content regularly, making sure it adds value for your audience, and using it to move people through the inbound marketing process

We’ve whittled down our most important content rules to just five simple things to keep in mind when working with content on your website.

And don’t forget to check out our free guide to nonprofit website content!

Content Rule #1: Keep It Fresh and Updated

No one likes stale and outdated content. Explore ways to be topical and current with your content by finding opportunities to weigh in on important issues, update your stance from a different angle, feature a new program and provide additional resources.

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), consistently publishing good content is one of the many factors that Google considers when ranking your site. Your blog is the perfect spot to push out content on an ongoing basis. For your other pages, consider reviewing different sections or high traffic pages every quarter to make sure they have the latest information.

Content Rule #2: Make Sure It’s Not an Ego Boost

You’re doing good work, but your content shouldn’t be all about you. Supporters, community members, reporters and those you serve are looking to learn about the benefits and services your organization provides and how those things make a difference for others. Donors want to know what kind of results they will accomplish through you. Really, this content rule boils down to providing really good customer service: anticipating the needs of others and making people feel appreciated.

The About section of your website is a traditional place to describe your mission plus who it serves and how it helps address the big issues. Similarly, an Impact page is a chance to show meaningful results along with real world stories. If you have an “Our Services” area, don’t forget that the content there should primarily serve your audience and their goals before being a virtual pat on the back for your good work.

Content Rule #3: Let Others Do the Talking

Stories mean the most when they are told by people who have experienced your work first-hand. Sharing content that’s about you but not by you is a way to humanize your organization and help more people make an emotional and personal connection to your cause.

Consider adding a “community stories” category on the blog and including inspiring quotes and testimonials on your Impact, partner, program or donate pages. When possible, include a face with each name by using photos or a short video clip.

Content Rule #4: Be Cohesive and Build Connections

Good websites have a natural flow no matter where a visitor lands. Make it easy for people to move through your site by thinking holistically about your content and ensuring that it’s cohesive. If you notice that it’s pretty easy to link to other places in your site when you’re adding or editing content, that’s a sign that you’re already doing a great job with connectivity.

This is something to work toward throughout your whole site. If that sounds a little too daunting, start with one section at a time to inventory and find connections across your content. Your efforts will be rewarded! Cross-linking to related pages makes visitors happy (meaning they’ll stay on your site longer), and it tells search engines that you have a strong network of relevant content.

Content Rule #5: Engage and Encourage People

Your content should encourage an interactive community. Instead of serving as an online brochure, use your website as a tool to translate the digital experience into something real and more concrete. In addition to “donate now” and “sign up for newsletters,” could you ask people to comment, share a story, request information, or take a tour?

Just like cross-linking, you’ll benefit from having call-to-action (CTA) phrases throughout your site. Keep your audience focused by featuring one CTA per page–maybe two if they both work toward the same goal. For example, on an Advocacy page, you might first ask your audience to contact a public official to provide them with the latest facts about your cause. Secondarily, you could ask people to raise awareness by sharing the new statistics on Twitter.

Evaluating your content based on these five content rules will help you maintain a fresh and relatable website that motivates visitors to dig in and take action. The rules can also be applied to social media, emails and print materials, so challenge yourself to stick to them during whatever content marketing project you tackle next.

Do you have content rules that you’ve made for yourself or your organization? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.