Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lesson 3: Content is King

'Content is king' as the saying goes.  Without formatted content, a website is a jumbled mess of ideas that lacks cohesion and exhibits no sense of direction.  What's important is to always keep the target audience in mind. 
  • Who are we preparing this content for? 
  • Who will make use of the online resources? 
  • How can we make access easy?
Keep this in mind ... when a visitor arrives you have between 6 to 10 seconds to grab their attention long enough to keep them navigating your site.
  • Your site must be visually appealing.  If the home page is too busy with too many graphics, the visitor may leave because your approach is too fragmented to retain the reader's attention. 
  • Your site must be professional looking.  If your site is a tool to help fundraising, your site must project a high degree of trust and confidence.  Take a look at other club and organization websites in the not-for-profit space that are trying to meet the same goals as yourself.  In your mind's eye ...what works and what doesn't?
  • What a visitor first sees must keep them engaged.  If you can keep them for more than 10 seconds, chances are that they will navigate your site until they find what they are looking for ... and you will have met your goal.

The 3-Click Rule

The general guideline that I like to recommend is that each piece of content is no more than three clicks away from the home page.  That means careful consideration must be given to navigation, menus, categorizing information, and organization.  Does it make sense and does it look like it makes sense?

When Leaving Your Site ... Don't Close the Door

Even links in your site must be carefully thought out.  You do not want to create a link that moves the visitor away to another site unless you force them into a new browser window.

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