How To Ensure People See Your Website Material

I have been following Dave at a blogsite entitled Internet Toolbox for Churches.  He has some really great tips and resources for websites and social media.  The following is from his latest newsletter and it really resonated with me so I am passing it on.  Enjoy!

Knowing who you want to reach with a piece of material helps you create it and helps ensure it will connect with the reader (or viewer or listener).
But how to make sure they’ll see it?
The answer to this question can be boiled down to three things you can do.

First, make the material easily consumable.

No matter how good the material, there will always be those whose eyes glaze over.

What you need to recognize is that online, most people have short attention spans. This leads to skimming rather than reading (if they like what they see, then they’ll think about reading it).

Make your material skimmable so that people see can get the main points.

Tips for making material more skimmable:

  • Include subheaders that convey information
  • Break material into very short paragraphs
  • Include graphics and other images to break up the visual monotony
  • Use numbered and bulleted lists whenever possible to give the eye something
  • In audio and video, let the listener or viewer know what to expect in the first few seconds
  • For audio and video, include outlines or transcripts

Second, increase the visibility of the material on your website.

You want your material to be easily found! Don’t make people go digging through pages and links to find it.

Tips for increasing visibility on a page:

  • Use well-constructed, descriptive headlines
  • Put headlines and links next to an attractive image
  • For audio and video, use an embedded player rather than just a download link
  • Group like material together on an easy-to-locate page (e.g., an upcoming events page), and make this page highly visible (e.g., accessible via the navigation menu or other prominent link)
  • Use a page design that’s attractive and well-organized (i.e., not cluttered)
  • Temporarily put brand new or high-value material in a “featured items” area on the website

Third, promote the material.

Promoting the material increases its exposure to the very people you’d like to see the material.

If these people don’t happen across your website, they’re not going to see the material.

There are many ways to promote material, both online and offline.

If you’re inclined to shy away from the word “promotion”, all I mean is alerting people to the material’s existence, getting it out in front of people so they can see it and reminding them about it when you can. It’s not necessary to become a marketing maven.

For offline promotion, figure out where your target readers (or listeners or viewers) are.

This may be your church’s weekly bulletin or a flyer. It may be a bulletin board at a local Starbucks or grocery store.

And of course, a key method of offline promotion (and perhaps your best method) is via word of mouth. Work to get people talking about the church’s material and encourage them to discuss it and share it with others.

For online promotion,

  • Post links to your social media channels (such as Facebook)
  • Ask members to share the material via their Facebook and other channels when appropriate
  • Post mentions and links when appropriate in forums, discussion pages and so on where people you’d like to read the material are likely to be
  • Mention specific material in email signatures, rather than just the base website