6 min read
When you begin working on your new charity website then take it from us, you can’t start planning your content early enough. The time you spend getting your content right is an investment – and the rewards can be plentiful. Done correctly, you’ll have an engaging and effective platform that will attract the right audience and guide them to take the correct action.
Getting your new platform across the finish line is naturally going to be a much quicker and smoother process if you already have the content approved and ready to go. To avoid unnecessary delays to your project, we recommend getting started on the planning and writing of your content as soon as possible.
Unsure of where to start? To help you plan and produce quality content that gets results, we’ve put together these ‘10 tips for creating your new charity website content’.
Animal lovers? Veterans? Young families? Who are you targeting? Your charity website content should appeal to those using your service and to prospective beneficiaries looking to support your projects. Consider what information they are searching for and what questions they need answering.
Your user engagement will rely heavily upon how easily visitors can find what they are looking for – you can anticipate this by putting yourself in their shoes. We recommend walking the customer journey from their point of view. Imagine the different reasons people come to your charity’s website, then plan your content so they can be directed to the appropriate information, tools and actions.
Creating successful and effective content begins with strategy, so having a good grip on how your current website content is performing is essential. For instance, using web analytics and SEO tools like SEMRush or ahrefs to help identify which aspects of your site and content work - and what doesn’t - will help you decide what should stay, what can go, and what needs some work (see ‘Keep – Kill – Combine’ below).
Evaluating your web analytics to create an effective content strategy takes time and experience. This is where your charity website agency can really lighten the load. They can carry out a full analysis of your current site performance and help you define the new content structure to create great user experience (UX) and encourage engagement.
As part of the content strategy planning stage, you’ll want to carry out a content audit to review your existing copy and identify any gaps that can be rectified with new pages. Knowing your goals and how you intend to measure success will help you focus on what content is going to be the most valuable for your website.
When carrying out your content audit, we recommend using our tried and tested ‘keep-kill-combine’ method. This will help you to identify the important, high-quality content which can be transferred to your new charity website. Other pages can be combined or updated to compliment your new content strategy; any content that is repetitive or outdated can be left off entirely.
This process is very important for content-heavy websites and those that have grown organically over time. It’s also good practice to revisit your content audit every 6 months or so to stay on top of your key words and move with any market changes to stay relevant.
Whether you’re starting afresh with a brand new design for your charity's website or refreshing the copy on your existing one, you’ll benefit from an up-to-date content plan. Written as a separate document to your content strategy, your content plan should detail who is responsible for creating and approving your content, what your end goal or call to action is, and how you intend the content to impact your content strategy.
To help your team schedule regular planned content post-launch, consider including an editorial calendar in your content plan. Notable dates to have in the pipeline might include fundraising events, national holidays, your organisation’s milestones, launches or official openings.
Once completed, you’ll want to make sure everyone in your marketing team - whether in-house or outsourced – has access to your content plan, content strategy and customer journey. Sharing your vision and goals will help everybody to stay on the same page as you work together to achieve them!
As part of your content plan you’ll need to consider your brand’s tone of voice. Being consistent in the way you talk to your audience will help build trust and familiarity with your brand and organisation. How do you want your visitors to feel when they come to your website? Do you want your tone of voice to be authoritative, friendly, knowledgeable, empathetic, relatable? What you choose should be easy to recognise and authentic to your overall brand’s persona.
What words or phrases will your target audience usually be searching for online to reach your website or content pages? Your search engine optimisation (SEO) keywords or key phrases should be included in your content plan and kept up-to-date as your organisation evolves.
Once identified, your keywords can be repeated regularly throughout your content to boost your organic search engine rankings for those terms. Be careful not to overdo your use of keywords or your content will look forced and awkward. Try to pick around 5 key words and phrases per article and aim to use each one a few times.
You’ll want your content to be visually appealing, too, so try enhancing your messaging by breaking up text with photos and videos. Imagery, illustrations and even icons are all content, so think ahead to what you might need in the long term and make sure what you choose now is sustainable. Do you have a big enough bank of images for every article? Do you have a preferred site for the team to get stock images from? Can you commission more illustrations for new topics/areas of the site in the future?
To convey your most important messages, consider having someone from your organisation film a series of informational videos to be included alongside written content. These can also be shared on social media and linked to in your email campaigns.
Whilst it is a great to have plenty of fresh content, making sure that key page content and rich media items such as organisational, fundraising or services overviews are made to be evergreen (i.e. will not date). This will help avoid having to recreate them on a regular basis in the future.
When planning your content diary post-launch, don’t overlook the value of guest contributors and outsourced copywriters with experience in the third sector. Inviting others to write for your charity website will allow you to publish fresh, unique content that showcases the expertise and real-life experiences of people outside of your organisation.
High quality insight articles, blogs and emotive case studies - perfect for sharing - are core to digital fundraising. They will boost engagement with your target audience, humanise your organisation and create strong backlink opportunities for SEO.
Remember, content shouldn’t sit static so you’ll need to plan your content beyond launch. To keep things fresh, follow the content strategy laid out during your website development and ensure new, relevant content is added to your site at least twice a month.
To help stay on top of things, designating someone to regularly review content will help to ensure it is performing. Again, using analytics and SEO tools like SEMRush or hrefs can really help with this. Adding a regular reminder to your calendar to check and update content, as well as deleting obsolete content, will help to prevent your charity website stagnating.
Remember, charity website content shouldn’t be an afterthought for when your website is approaching the end of its development. It is one of the most important aspects of your new site and should be planned and written as early as possible to allow plenty of time to get it right. By following these 10 tips for creating your new charity website content, you’ll have everything you need to get started!