We quadrupled our blog traffic, can you? Simple guide to content marketing for nonprofits

With each nonprofit client that comes through ArcStone’s doors, we encourage them to either start a blog or give their existing blog more attention. Now, we wouldn’t risk wasting nonprofit’s already slim budget and tight schedule if we didn’t truly believe in the value of content marketing. But at points, it’s hard to convince clients that this effort is really worth it.

That’s why today, we are going to tell you a story: the story of how we implemented the strategy we encourage others to and as a result, saw an increase of 4x the traffic to our blog in just two years. Our story can serve as a general guide to content marketing for nonprofits.

Where we were with our content marketing strategy

Before we dive into the glory of the here and now, let’s rewind and be real with where we were at. Like many of you, we were posting at most 2 to 3 times per week, whenever someone felt inspired to do so or had the bandwidth. In addition to this lack of posting frequency, we weren’t monitoring engagement.

We knew we should do more, but we just weren’t allocating time or attention to it when there were other, more immediate business goals to which to attend.

For the total month of May 2015, we saw about 600 blog views.

2 years later we’re seeing over 2,800.

The simple content marketing strategy we implemented that your nonprofit can, too!

Many of you have likely thought, “we should blog more” and encouraged your team to help write when they can. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually do much to help your nonprofit. You need a nonprofit content marketing strategy that will keep you focused and consistent.

Here are 11 essential + manageable tasks to add to your content strategy that will take you to that next level.

1. Set goals:

Rather than risk finding ourselves right where we started in a couple months, we decided to set some lofty, yet manageable, goals. One of ArcStone’s digital strategists, Jenna, and I sat down and decided we’d post five blogs a week and then come review the results after six months. We also determined we’d spend more time on designing images for this content, promoting it and then checking in on our Google Analytics each week.

2. Create audience personas:

As a team, we took the time to map out distinct audience types. For your nonprofit, this likely includes a few different types of donors, volunteers, community members and other users. Once we had each audience member in mind, we were able to brainstorm content that could speak to each of them. Get going on this aspect by using our Nonprofit Audience Persona Ebook »

content-marketing-audience-personas

3. Designate blog ownership to a leader/editor:

One way many content strategies collapse is a lack of consistent execution. To avoid this, we assigned one final editor/project lead. Though we would be pulling content written by several team members, I was given the role of ensuring the content was ready to go and implement correctly into our CRM. This also helped us ensure our brand voice was prevalent across all posts and the formatting looked right.

If you have any trouble structuring your team or your content development workflow, take a look at Lisa’s, VP of Marketing at ArcStone, post on Content Team Roles »

content-strategy-roles

4. Utilize a (free!) content management tool:

We recognize that it can be hard to get the whole team on board with yet another tool, but we promise this one is worth it! We use Trello to implement and track all our content marketing efforts. You can read the full review here but we’ll also show you some snippets on how to make it work for your nonprofit below.

free-content-marketing-tool-for-nonprofits

5. Organize content by strategic categories:

A blog with just a list of all posts can be overwhelming to users. If you’re a donor, you may want the latest report on where their money went whereas a volunteer wants to hear about the next volunteer opportunity. Make sure these users can get the content they want when they land on your blog. Better yet, make sure that when they click on their blog category, that section is filled with good content for them to look through.

Trello makes it easy to label all your content. Here’s an example of how we segment ours within the tool. Each month we try to have each color represented across the calendar at least a couple of times:

6.  Assign due dates:

Without a due date, it’s easy to push things off for a later date. We used the calendar “power-up” tool in Trello to track these.

content-strategy-calendar

7. Focus on collaboration:

Through the communication capabilities in Trello, we were able to tag each other on cards and have conversations about posts when necessary. Being able to keep these conversations organized in one place is helpful as it allows you to stay organized and if need be, look back at the conversations later.

trello-free-content-management-tool

8. Promote:

Though we’d like to believe, “if you build it, they will come” it’s not entirely true with content marketing. In fact, Lisa wrote a whole post on why this is and how you can make up for it with promotional and SEO work.

This being said, couple your awesome new production strategy with a content promotion strategy.

Across social networks, we posted not only on ArcStone’s account, but also some of our team members’. This not only reached a larger audience but showed the personality behind our team.

When it came to Twitter, we posted 3-4 times a day, often tagging relevant accounts. This created some major upticks in traffic to our blog. social-media-strategy

3 times a week, we’d also post on Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. For LinkedIn we focus on more professional-oriented content and thought leadership, whereas Facebook we try to post more on office culture and community.

If you’re unsure of what social media platform is right for you, listen to co-owners of ArcStone talk through how you can determine this with The Nerdy Nonprofit Podcast.

Lastly, we sent out our newsletter once-monthly with the top-performing posts from that month. We found we were faster at getting these sent out since we already knew what content to use.

9. Analyze:

All this effort doesn’t get you very far if you’re not monitoring it. You may see a bit more traffic but it’s going to come and go at an unpredictable rate if you’re not making changes to your strategy based on it.

Learn some of the basics in Google Analytics with this post “Nonprofits Using Google Analytics—Get tracking the Right Metrics.”

10. Redesign (when the budget allows):

Once you have some significant insight on aspects like what type of content your audience likes and what areas of the site they go to after the blog, you can consider making design changes. We used heat-mapping tool CrazyEgg to see what parts of the blog users clicked on and paired that with our user behavior insight in Analytics to make strategic design enhancements.

nonprofit-blog-design

11. Keep trying new things:

Once you get started for a few months, the above tips will get you to a great place. However, in a year or so you’ll want to round up your team and come up with fresh ways to approach your nonprofit’s blog strategy. This will help you get your most creative juices flowing and aid your nonprofit in standing out amongst the crowd.


As proof that the above really can work, here’s a snapshot of before and after:

MAY 2015
MAY 2017
Blog Views /Month: 641 2,298
Pageviews /Month: 4,289 8,941
Sessions /Month: 1,831 4,985
% New Sesssions: 70.6% 85%
Organic Traffic: –––> Up 155%
Traffic from Social: –––> Up 74%
Newsletter Subscribers: ~250 ~1030

You can see that the increase in blog views also contributed to an increase in overall website sessions and pageviews, as well as traffic from organic searches and social media. What’s more, all this traffic also lead to 4x as many newsletter subscribers. It’s a lovely trickle down effect!

We hope your nonprofit sees the value in a well-executed content marketing plan. More importantly, we hope you are encouraged by the fact that we, too have a small team. This strategy is crafted around keeping things manageable and simple. Successful content marketing for nonprofits is possible as long as you stick to your strategy, monitor it and continually work to improve it.

Get help with your nonprofit’s content strategy from our team by reaching out here »

Nonprofit blogging mistakes you might be making (+ how to stop)

Besides ensuring you have user-friendly forms for donors and volunteers, the digital strategists at ArcStone would argue that having a well-executed blog is the best thing your nonprofit can do in terms of your website. Unfortunately, nonprofit marketers get so busy that blog posts get written hastily, whenever there’s a spare second. That’s understandable, and we don’t want that predicament to prevent you from writing as it’s better than not writing. However, there are a few negative trends we’d like to point out that, when avoided, could help make the little blog development time you have more worth your while.

1. Not scheduling your posts in advance (and not publishing consistently)

Given that you have many other spinning plates, it makes sense that you wouldn’t have time to plan out your content calendar. But time and again, marketing experts state that scheduling out posts and executing them consistently can create huge gains for your blog. What’s more, studies show readers see inconsistent publishing as a sign that a brand is “out of touch or not up to date” with their habits and needs.

There are so many FREE tools out there to help you stay on top of publishing. We tested and reviewed 3 popular content management tools and wrote a recent post on why we recommend Trello.

free-tools-for-nonprofits
Image Source: CoSchedule

2. Forgetting the importance of authenticity & your brand voice

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your blog. You post about your upcoming event or you comment on a recent occurrence in your field of work, however there’s so much more to write about than that. When people come to your site, they are trying to learn about you and your cause. They want to hear your unique voice otherwise, you’ll blend with the crowd and they won’t know why they should pay attention to you specifically.

Be sure you hone in on what your brand voice is and you consistently write with that in mind. For inspiration on topics, take a look at our go-to sources for when ArcStonian’s get writer’s block. You can derive inspiration from what other successful nonprofits are writing about; charity:water, Save the Children, St. Jude and Kiva all post a wide array of topics that speak to who they are and who they serve.

nonprofit-blogging
Image source: Save the Children

3. Trying too hard with your headline

Though it’s important you stand out and readers feel excited by your headlines, it’s more important your headlines do their job. A title’s main role is to tell readers what your post is about. Don’t get too caught up in being clever or humorous as that’s not the point.

ArcStone wrote a helpful post on how you can craft a title that is primarily descriptive, secondarily SEO-friendly and then if there’s room for it, clever: “Optimize your blog post titles for search, but don’t be boring.”

4. Assuming your readers have all day

This isn’t true for everyone or every post, but for the most part, people like when you get to the point efficiently. Sometimes, you can tell that in-depth full story. But when you’re writing a post on donations or volunteering, explain your point concisely and point your audience towards action quickly. When it comes to these posts directed towards taking action, always keep the goal of your post in mind and include a call to action.

5.  Neglecting to implement the SEO and user-friendly details

Writing the post is work enough, we know, but a blog won’t get far if you neglect some important additional steps. Each post should have alt tags, metadata and titles on its photos and in other areas. You can do so with some of the strongest, free SEO tools for nonprofits out there. Here’s a solid review of SEO tools done by Search Engine Land.

6. Ignoring dialogue

For many in the nonprofit space, community engagement is super important to the very mission of an organization. Community takes hold in many forums and your blog can totally become a catalyst for that. If you have a comment section, pay attention to it. If people comment on your posts on social, always respond. If they don’t participate in either of these, consider prioritizing this. There are tools that can help like Hootsuite and Disqus. We also have a post that reviews the best ways and tools to encourage conversations.

free-community-forum-tools
Image source: Lithium

7. Overlooking Google Analytics

If you take away anything from this article, we hope it’s this last point. Pay attention to your Google Analytics data! We see so many clients post content and then let it sit there. They don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. They don’t base their strategy off of this data. As our digital strategist, Jerod put it,

“Only you know your story well enough to tell it, but on the flip side, only your visitors know what they want.”

If you don’t look at what posts are getting the most attention, how long users are reading them and where they go next, you are not listening to them.

Need help getting started with Google Analytics?


We hope we didn’t overwhelm you with corrections. Instead, this is supposed to serve as a way to make the time you do have more effective. We want to highlight areas that are often neglected so that you know where you can make simple gains.

If you’re struggling to implement any of these aspects but you recognize their importance, ArcStone would love to work with you to come up with a more manageable content marketing strategy and set you up with the tools that will help. Contact our team »

Where should all nonprofit website or marketing projects start?

Looking back before moving forward.

It’s not the most exciting thing to do. However, the results have proven essential to nonprofits as they approach any website project.

Many nonprofits that come to ArcStone for help already have a website. They come to us because their site isn’t doing what they want; it isn’t drawing in donations or volunteers or effectively communicating what they need to say. Knowing this, we look over what they’ve done in the past and attempt to uncover exactly what will make it better in the future. This all is included in what we call a website audit.

nonprofit-website-design

What is a website audit?

First, let’s explain what an audit even entails. Essentially, it’s a look at what causes a good versus bad experience for a user on your website. Then it’s looking at how the site is performing technically. We look for issues, errors and missed opportunities so we can better understand where the site is at and where it could go.

What’s covered in a nonprofit site audit?

These very from client to client, based on need, but this is an overview of what all we typically review.

  • Google Analytics (GA) accessibility: Is anyone at your nonprofit reviewing your analytics? How easy is it for them to get to the data that matters to your organization specifically?
  • GA setup and implementation: Is your account set up properly? What tags are you using? Understand some of the basics on Analytics »
  • GA data quality and additions: If it is set up, what’s being tracked within your account? What information do you need to see that you aren’t? Learn about filters and conversions »
  • Metadata: Is your site using metadata? Does it follow best practices?
  • Responsiveness / mobile-friendly design: Is the site responsive? How many users are using mobile devices and is it working for them? More on mobile sites »
  • Site indexing and crawlability: Is your site being indexed and crawled?
  • Site errors: Are there any errors on your site?
  • Site speed: How does your site function in terms of speed? Discover how slow site speed negatively impact SEO »
  • Schema implementation: Do you have schema implemented?
  • Internal linking: Are there links set up within your site?
  • Manual actions from Google: Do you have any manual actions or violations?

So before you dive right in to a redesign, be sure to ask yourself some of these questions. Nonprofits have tight budgets, and you need to be sure you have a solid plan for tackling your biggest priorities efficiently. With an audit, it’ll become far clearer what these are.

If you’re interested in learning more about ArcStone’s website audit services, please contact us.

How to find an SEO agency for your nonprofit

We’ve had several nonprofit clients reach out, asking why we didn’t warn them about an SEO issue with their site. We then explain to them, the reality is their site doesn’t have an issue, and instead an agency is merely trying to scare them into purchasing their SEO service.

Our VP of marketing Lisa told me about this scenario, and has pulled together some ideas to help your nonprofit avoid falling for this scare tactic. In the end, hopefully you find a quality SEO agency for your nonprofit.

Some of these emails are more threatening than others. The one below is pretty gentle in comparison to others but it usually goes something like this:

seo-agency-scare-tactics

You can pretty much bet on the fact that this agency hasn’t actually looked at your site. They merely used a template email and plopped in your nonprofit’s name. Don’t fall for it.

First you might ask, “why do agencies use this SEO email?”

The major problem is that this email works. SEO is confusing and can take a lot of time to fix, so when people are offered an “easy solution” or “quick fix” they often latch onto it.

This stems from the evolution of SEO. At first, people used “black-hat” techniques to hack Google’s algorithms. They even sometimes worked. But Google, as per usual, has out-smarted those and now penalizes people for those. As a result, there really isn’t a quick fix.

Why these low-quality agencies don’t help

SEO is many things, but it’s definitely not something you can hack. It takes time, content and a true understanding of your audience. If a company is sending you a template email to save time, it’s unlikely they will give your website the individual time and attention it needs to develop quality SEO.

If you really need help with SEO, here’s how to find a quality SEO agency:

  1. Check to see how they map out deliverables: If an SEO agency promises #1 organic rankings overnight, they’re not being honest or realistic with you. Look for an SEO agency that sets realistic, measurable goals.
  2. They should follow modern strategies and best practices: Make sure that the agency you choose, stays current. They should be aware of algorithm updates and changes in the industry and they shouldn’t use any black-hat SEO tactics that may end up damaging your nonprofit brand or reputation.
  3. They shouldn’t be solely trumpeting where they fall on a list: Be cautious of choosing an SEO agency because they were voted “Top SEO Expert” by an organization that you’ve never heard of. These are often paid listings and require no real skills or experience.
  4. Look for a Google Partner Certification: If they are certified, they’ll have a Google Partner badge on their site. This ensures that the agency is staying in touch with digital marketing tools and has an understanding of Google Analytics.
  5. Their style should emphasize trust, transparency and communication Style: A reputable SEO agency will answer your questions and be straightforward. They won’t play games or try to trick you into an SEO program. They will always try to meet or exceed your expectations. Make sure the SEO agency you choose understands your organization and takes time to listen.

The next time you get one of these emails, don’t panic. If you are really concerned about your SEO, this email can serve as a good reminder to research SEO agencies and find a good fit for you. Your nonprofit deserves the best, so hopefully now, you seek it out!

A nonprofit brand strategy that’s often forgotten: Branded SEO campaigns.

nonprofit-brand-seo-strategy

A buzzword like SEO is thrown around a lot when it comes to digital strategy. As a nonprofit communicator, you know you need to understand it, but you don’t often have time to dive deeper. You attempt to stuff some keywords into your website content but that’s about it.

Knowing your time constraints, I want to make sure you don’t neglect the second part of SEO – branded search – as it can help you more effectively than just keyword stuffing would.

How SEO and your nonprofit brand can work together

You may not want yet another priority on your list, but listen up: what’s wonderful about branded search or brand SEO, is it does two things at once. You get people to your website AND you build your brand recognition. Boom done.

You need to first understand how these two goals work on their own to understand how they can aid one another.

1. Branding

For one, you need to ensure people know your name. You want your nonprofit brand to be well-known and remembered so people come to you first when searching for help or opportunity to help. If you need to better understand building your brand, read this.

2. SEO

Secondly, you need to show up when people search “volunteer opportunities” or “best nonprofit for helping ____ (insert your cause here).” The route for this = SEO strategy. If you need to better understand SEO read this.

How branding and SEO work together

Besides just building up common keywords, SEO can build up your brand recognition. When people search your nonprofits name, if you don’t show up as the first result, you may want to listen up.

Brand + SEO = Brand SEO

Branded keywords are simply your nonprofit’s name. For the nonprofit, Feed My Starving Children, one branded keyword phrase is “Feed my starving children” and another is the acronym “FMSC.”

How to start a branded SEO campaign

  • Write more blog content specifically about your nonprofit, including the name in the title, URL, headers, content, etc.
  • Be sure at least some of your photos contain alt text and descriptions with your name
  • If you have time, guest blog on nonprofit blog sites (ehem, like this one!). When Google sees your name in other places, it sees you as more important and helps your own site show up sooner in rankings.

If you need to convince your Board or team members this is worth your time, here are some additional benefits of brand SEO.

  • “Branded traffic is better traffic” as co-founder of ArcStone Lisa puts it. When people are seeking you out specifically with their search query, they aren’t there by accident, just hurting your bounce rates. When they’re coming to your site via a search of your name, they will interact with it and perhaps even convert into a donor or volunteer. This fulfills your goals of conversions and even positively impacts how Google ranks your site. (Remember: low bounce rates, high conversions, high interactions = strong SEO).
  • Brand campaigns help build overall awareness. Think about it: each time your brand shows up on the first name of Google, people are seeing it even when they didn’t seek it out specifically.
  • If you have control over your brand SEO, you can reduce the potential for a negative reputation down the road. Hopefully you never run into a scandal or negative review, but if you do, it’s helpful to have your brand showing up for other reasons besides that one bad article.

If you’d like some help building out this strategy, reach out to ArcStone .

Start a nonprofit blog to increase engagement with your cause

When first helping nonprofits develop their marketing strategy, one of ArcStone’s primary objectives is getting them set up with a blogging strategy. Nonprofit blogs hold huge potential. They contribute to huge gains in several main goals such as spreading the word about your cause, reigning in donors, and getting people to subscribe to your newsletter. Our VP of Marketing at ArcStone, Lisa, recently wrote a post on how to get started with this process, which I repurposed for you all below.

start-a-nonprofit-blog

Before we offer tips, 3 reasons why to start a nonprofit blog

  • You know that search tool, Google? The one that gets people to find your nonprofit in the first place? When you have a blog, and frequently post on it, your site will be more heavily indexed. This means a higher chance of people finding your site. Additionally, research from marketing giant HubSpot, found that sites that have a blog also have 97% more inbound links. Again, this means higher online visibility.
  • Turns out, people actually trust blog content. BlogHer found that 81% of U.S. consumers trust the information they find on blogs. If you’re worried people won’t take your content seriously, think again.
  • If people are coming to your blog, you have a higher chance of engaging with them. Whether your messaging is about fundraising or volunteering, you’ll be able to speak to an audience you wouldn’t have otherwise reached.

We recognize you may already be convinced, but there’s a reason your nonprofit hasn’t launched a blog (or kept up with your current one). It’s challenging and it takes time to see results. Through the following 10 tips, we hope to help you start a nonprofit blog that is successful.

10 tips towards starting a nonprofit blog

1. Develop personas.

Nonprofits often struggle as they have vast audiences. The problem is, their content speaks to everyone at once. This also means they’re not really reaching anyone at an individual, engaging level. Jake, the liberal arts student who’s interested in volunteering will have one set of needs and goals. Whereas Mary, the finance professional who’s interested in making a donation to your organization will have her own. Whenever you start writing, know who you’re target reader is.

Use our infographic to develop your personas »

start-a-nonprofit-blog

2. Write for your audience.

If you want to pull in traffic from Google, you’ll need to write content that answers people’s search queries. If possible, use a keyword research tool such as SEMRush to find out what people are typing into Google. If you can’t afford investing in a tool right now, you can even just rely on Google Suggest. See below:

start-a-nonprofit-blog

Based on the search above, a popular topic for a blog post might be “Why volunteering is good for your health” as people are already searching for content regarding that topic.

3. Study your keywords.

If you’ve found a strong key phrase to write about, do some more research on what other wording you can use throughout your post. You’ll want to do this in a natural way so as not to “keyword stuff.” Learn more about SEO strategy here »

4. Determine your call to action.

Now that you know who you’re writing for, you have to decide what you even want them to do after they read your post. If you’re trying to get more volunteers like Jake for your next event, write a post on how volunteering is good for your health, and then include a call to action that asks him to sign up. Craft a killer CTA »

5. Map out a draft.

Once you have your audience, your goals and keywords, include it all in a draft. This will help you stay focused on your nonprofit’s goals as you develop more content.

6. Decide the length.

Nonprofit clients often ask how long their blog post should be. There’s not one right answer here. If you have time for longer format blog posts (2000+ words), you’ll have more keyword targeting opportunities. This type of post also tends to give you more room backlinks.

Shorter posts often are more attainable when you’re low on time or budget. They also have an advantage many don’t realize: Google likes fresh content and according to HubSpot, organizations that blog more than 20 times per month get five times the traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.

Lisa’s formula: 8 short posts to every long post.

7. Find your writer.

The writing process gets tricky. If you’re too busy to write a post yourself, consider outsourcing. Review the pros and cons »

If it’s more of a matter of not having the knowledge base of the subject, find yourself a subject matter expert. To save time and budget, ask them specific questions so you get the answers you need quickly.

Another way to save time? Use content management tools. That way, you can communicate with your team and stay organized. See our favorite writing tools for nonprofits »

8. Optimize your post for SEO.

Don’t worry, there’s a hack for that. We recommend the Yoast SEO Plugin. Learn about how this and other plugins work here »

9. Be ready to analyze.

If you’re not analyzing how well your content does, you’re going to miss out. Install Analytics and be ready to study how your posts are doing. Learn how to get started with Google Analytics with this ebook»

10. Create your publishing plan.

The chances of people finding your content go way up if you have an adequate social media plan. We have some tools to help:

Blogging is one of the most effective routes to helping your nonprofit gain visibility. We hope you feel ready to start a nonprofit blog and that you reach out for help!

Enough New Year’s inspiration, time to get it all done (in 5 steps?) – January Nonprofit Marketing News

Seeing as your inbox has recently been flooded with several “top trends for the New Year” and other inspirational posts, we thought you might be feeling overwhelmed. We decided to simplify your main priorities down to five actionable steps.

january-nonprofit-news
Photo source: Angel Oak Creative

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – January 2017 – 


Here are 5 steps for…

1) Engaging donors, one step at a time

“…fundraisers that meet new donors and make asks without a plan usually find those donor relationships to be short lived.” Make your donor relationships last this year.

2) Sparking authenticity in your branding & messaging

Despite how personal it can be to partake in a nonprofit’s wonderful work, nonprofit branding and messaging can often feel impersonal. Find some ways to ensure you’re speaking authentically and connecting with your audience.

3) Increasing fundraising success

After so much fundraising during giving season, it’s good to reflect on some critical aspects of fundraising and take steps towards even more success this year.

4) Writing a newsletter that your members will actually read

You finally put the newsletter together and send it out, and you find out later, hardly anyone read it. Sound familiar? Write a newsletter that engages. Here’s how

5) Optimizing your nonprofit’s blog content (and finally seeing more traffic)

Have you verified your nonprofit site with Google, had Google crawl your posts, or tried the best SEO tools? If not, your blog isn’t as strong as it could be. Help your nonprofit be found online. 

Best practices for optimizing your nonprofit’s blog content (and finally getting traffic)

optimize-nonprofit-blog-content

If you pay any attention to the marketing world these days – which I’m guessing you do as you’re reading this post – you’ve been encouraged time and again to write a blog for your nonprofit. The promise is that if you write, your blog will bring your site traffic and eventually, donors, volunteers and support. However, the truth is you can’t just invest in the writing portion of this process. If you want to see real gains in traffic you need to optimize your blog content and ensure it’s indexed by search engines.

ArcStone’s VP of marketing, Lisa, wrote a post on optimizing blog content for search. Below it’s written with your specific nonprofit goals in mind.

5 simple steps to search engine optimization for your nonprofit blog posts

1. If your nonprofit’s site isn’t yet verified on Google, this is a productive first step. Login here and click “Add Property.” Follow the steps Google provides. While you’re at it, link the property to Google Analytics.

2. Nonprofit site’s using WordPress, you get a leg up: there’s several reputable plugins and one of which, Yoast SEO, we highly recommend for improving your SEO. Through filling in information Yoast SEO requests, you hone in on your long-tail keyword and optimize each post according to that.

3. When using a plugin or SEO tool, keep in mind the keyword phrase about which you are writing. What is the main topic? If it’s “volunteer ideas for young professionals” use this in your SEO title, slug and Meta Description. Always keep in mind that this should sound natural and not forced.

The example below is optimized for the keyword phrase “Promoting Blog Content.” optimizing blog content

4. Now that you have a fully optimized, published post, you can go into Google Search Console and click on “Fetch as Google” which you’ll find under “Crawl.” By crawling the blog post, you will almost always get indexed by Google.

5. Finally, by sharing your post across social channels and other sites, you’ll have a healthier SEO. Read more about the best times & methods for social media posting »

I understand it’s not always easy to find time to write a blog post for your nonprofit, but if are putting the effort forth, you should make sure the post is found. You never know what kind of impact this post could have on your readers – they may become your next biggest nonprofit supporter! But they have to find your nonprofit first!

More on optimizing your nonprofit blog SEO:

Where the micro-moment meets the nonprofit

If you keep an eye on marketing trends, you may have heard of the term micro-moments. With Google’s help, many marketers are trying to meet their customers via this type of search. What is a micro-moment to begin with? And why should your nonprofit care?

how-nonprofits-can-use-micro-moments

A micro-moment defined:

According to Google, this phenomena occurs when…

people reflexively turn to a device –increasingly a smartphone – to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.

So it’s not exactly a moment where people are figuring out which cause to donate $1 million to or where to commit all their free time to a nonprofit board. Rather, it could be when someone is wondering where they should bring their extra clothes after spring cleaning their closet, how they could help with a recent natural disaster, or how to get resources for a problem they’re facing.

Your nonprofit can be there in these moments, not only answering questions for people who need your answers, but also increasing web traffic and rankings from Google.

The benefits of optimizing your nonprofit content for micro-moments:

In Google’s ebook, they explain that “these micro-moments are critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.”

They’re pointing out that if you can meet a searcher at these moments, you will create a more positive experience for them. If you can answer their question in their time of need, chances are your nonprofit will stand out in their memory above others.

How nonprofits can use micro-moments:

1. Think about the places where your audience and the questions your nonprofit can answer intersect.

First ask, what might someone ask that you can respond with a quick answer?Then, create web content around these answers.

Ex. for the American Red Cross:

“Where can I volunteer during the holidays?” = write a case study about their holiday volunteer opportunities

 “How can I help with disaster relief?” = create a landing page to drive donations after a natural disaster

“Best ways to keep your family safe during severe weather.” = create a checklist for weather safety tips

2. Do your research with the tools you have

If you have a web agency or someone who’s Google Analytics-savvy, ask them to look at the most common mobile-centric searches with which people land on your site.

Also find your long-tail keywords for which you’re ranking or could be ranking with a tool like SEMRush.

Read more Google’s ideas in, “How to build your mobile-centric search strategy.” Or build your keyword strategy with our post, “SEO Tips for Nonprofits.”

3. Write out your nonprofit’s plan.

Theorizing on where people are in their searches is one thing, but finding a way to create content for each of these searches takes you to the next level. Once you have a handful of ideas, create your content strategy around this. Build up five or so micro-moment-friendly pieces of content and then continue to analyze and refresh in order to keep content relevant and search-engine optimized.

4. Think mobile first.

Most of these moments center around hand-held devices – what people have when they’re on the go. If your site content is not crafted around mobile, not only does Google notice that, but so do your users.

Ex. Rather than create a long blog to answer these questions, craft up a mobile-friendly infographic. Rather than creating content users would have to download, make it easy to view right on a landing page. 

For more ideas on making your nonprofit micro-moment and mobile-friendly, contact our team at ArcStone and we can strategize with you.

Vital Nonprofit Blog SEO Tips You Can Implement Today

nonprofit-blog-seo-fixes

I’m always searching for the best kept SEO secrets to try out for rocking our clients’ and our own blogs’ SEO. Our digital marketing strategist pointed me to a golden ticket for SEO strategy, found on SumoMe: “17 Essential SEO Tips Your Blog Must Follow.” Some of these are especially wonderful for your nonprofit blog SEO improvement.

I’ve highlighted five areas you can fix now (without a developer) which nonprofits often neglect in their blog SEO strategy…

1. Key in on your Key Word/Phrase

It’s common for nonprofits to have idea for their next blogpost based on a reason event or case study – which is great for a blog. However, then that idea gets posted just for the sake of getting it out there, and in this haste, the blog isn’t optimized.

The first step to writing an SEO-friendly blog is to hone in on what phrase will help you show up on Google’s first page. For example, if your nonprofit supports solving the global water shortage, you may want to write a blog piece on the Flint Water Crisis and optimize around, “how to help with the Flint Water Crisis.” That way people with good intentions of helping, will search this phrase and hopefully click on your nonprofit.

Sometimes this is pure luck or completely unpredictable. But at least the SumoMe points to some easy hacks you can think of from the get-go.

2. Hype up Readers with Your Blog Headline

It blew me away how much time SumoMe spends on their headlines – way more than I would have thought to. But if they see this time as a worthy investment, maybe we should too.

Consider polling your nonprofit coworkers, reviewing social media posts that have received the most clicks, or reading this part of the SumoMe blog to improve your ability to captivate potential readers.

3. Speed up Page Load Time

Did you know Google actually lowers your rank if your blog loads slowly? Yes they know their audience well; web users will click of a page if it’s taking too long and find something better. Chances are your potential donors / volunteers / users are looking for quick answers. If they see your nonprofit page isn’t loading, they’ll look elsewhere. They may also assume your nonprofit is behind the times if your technology isn’t working.

Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Use the tips from SumoMe.

4. Keep up with Content

This may go without saying, but it’s not enough to write 5 blogs when you launch your nonprofit site, and then just have them sitting there. Publish a post a week to start, even if it’s just a small news blurb reacting to something going on in the field, a case study with some quotes from a user of your services, or a recap on your latest event.

This isn’t just good for your readers, but as SumoMe points out, it’s good for web-crawlers. They basically see your blog as unhealthy if it hasn’t been updated regularly – similar to a check up at the doc, check in to your blog weekly.

For more on nonprofit blogging tips read,

And of course – call us up at ArcStone or ask us a question at info(at)arcstone.com