Even if you don’t need your nonprofit’s website to sit on the Iron Throne and rule the seven kingdoms, it needs to be protected from known and unknown forces that can threaten its survival. Website management is a never-ending battle. What better place to turn for advice than Game of Thrones?
DISCLAIMER: Minor spoilers ahead for Seasons 1-7.
Without armies and dragons, you might be feeling like website management is an impossible task. The lone marketing dire-wolves at small nonprofits often struggle to keep their websites afloat. And there are lots of “accidental techies” out there who reluctantly had this task added to their job descriptions.
But if Jon Snow has taught us anything, it’s the possibility of bringing something back from the dead. Here are eight lessons from Game of Thrones that can help you manage your website effectively and without any supernatural powers.
No One is Safe
This is the most obvious lesson, just ask the Stark family. No matter how good your website is at a point in time and regardless of the fact that a charity website is for a good cause—you’re not immune from trouble now and in the future. Something will always break, so the trick is catching it as early as possible. Sticking to a regular maintenance schedule can help you find broken links, form errors and other mistakes without losing too much ground.
Stay Ahead of Your Enemies
Just like White Walkers, there are serious and unpredictable threats looming just beyond what’s visible and known. This is especially true as your website technology ages. You are the Night’s Watch keeping an eye on the Wall. Make sure that you’re using the latest versions of your software and strongly consider using an SSL certificate for security on your site if you don’t already. Your supporters will thank you.
Use the Weapons at Your Disposal
Swords, crossbows, wildfire. Sometimes you have to make the most of what you’ve got! Luckily there are many free and affordable marketing tools out there to help manage your nonprofit’s website. For example, you can measure performance, design graphics, run a volunteer program and safely manage your passwords all without spending a penny.
Unleash the Inner Power
If you’re going to walk into the fire, make sure you emerge with dragons. Website management is more than just keeping the status quo. As your nonprofit’s marketing and programs mature, evaluate your main calls to action across your website. Could they be stronger? Is your site powerful enough for supporters to do things like request services, volunteer, register for events or make a quick online donation? Take the time to reflect on your goals and what tools you need to reach them.
Search for the Truth
Imagine how differently Game of Thrones would play out if people ruled with reason rather than subterfuge. If your website decision-making means listening to a Petyr Baelish or Varys whisper ideas into your head, you’re not serving the true needs of your community. Instead, set website benchmarks for your marketing goals and learn how to measure them in Google Analytics. Get to the truth of what visitors are doing and what could be going better.
Whether you want to become a lethal assassin or a maester, you have to train hard and absorb as much knowledge as you can—and you might not have a lot of time. If you’re feeling behind on the technical or strategic skills needed to manage your organization’s website, carve out space for professional development related to your website and connected technology. In addition to many free online options, look for local workshops and meet-ups to start building a support network.
Choose Alliances Carefully
Alliances that are convenient in the short-term aren’t built to last. Just ask Marjorie or the Boltons or the Freys. When it comes to choosing a website builder, integrated services or related software, look for options that best match what you need in addition to what you can reasonably afford. It won’t always be free or discounted (which comes with its own problems), but it can mean saving time and headaches in the long-term.
Don’t Dismiss the Underdog
Are you’re feeling overwhelmed or unqualified to handle website management for your nonprofit? Consider the resilience of Tyrion, Daenerys, Arya, Theon and the Unsullied and how they harnessed fear and doubt to build strength. Even better, there are no walks of atonement and shouts of “Shame!” as you learn. Take small steps and make minor improvements that add up over the lifetime of your site. You’ve got this.
Website Management, in Ice and Fire
You never know what might happen when you’re watching Game of Thrones. But when it comes to your nonprofit’s website, there are ways to protect yourself and get ahead of potential enemies. Effective website management boils down to knowledge, discipline and power—and we know you have it in you.
What tips and tricks do you have for website management? Any questions about what you should be doing to keep your website strong and healthy? Hodor? Let’s talk in the comments.