Why Online Marketing is hard

Often when I’m conducting my online marketing training, the students express dismay over the amount of work required to be found online.

The reality is, the days of creating a website and automatically getting visitors is over folks. You can decide to NOT look at your web traffic reports, and assume that your website is helping you get visitors/volunteers, or you can create a plan with daily online marketing tasks to help build traffic to your website.

Why is it hard?

  • There are 11.5 billion web pages indexed on the Internet
  • There are over 200 factors that help to determine how a website ranks in each of the various search engines.

But before you get overwhelmed…here’s the good news:

  1. The fact that Volunteer Centers are non-profits, housed in universities or government agencies, and the fact that we work with those folks (and can get links to them) works in our favor.
  2. Local search is not get being utilized by non-profits and you can shine (and outrank) other folks in your area by registering for free.
  3. There are TONS of people already searching for volunteer opportunities in places like Craigslist, and by joining others on Meetup.com. Both are free to join and post – you should do both.
  4. If you encourage your volunteers, link building to your website can become natural as they talk about their positive experience on their MySpace pages and Facebook profiles. You just need to make sure that their experience is positive, and encourage them to post in those areas. Or you can join Facebook yourself, and create a volunteering group for your nonprofit.
  5. You can see the ideas for promoting your volunteer opportunities and website online are endless and there are hundreds of free ideas you can try before you need to spend anything on online advertising.

Before you get discouraged, just decide to do 1 online marketing task every day. Start by createing a plan, and then take the steps necessary to make sure your site is helping you find volunteers for your community. Sometimes little steps make a huge difference.

Facebook App to Spread the Word about the Emergency Canned Food Drive

Help us spread the word about the food shortage being experienced by food banks in the US.

You can learn more here: http://www.dosomething.org/node/20240

And the site makes it easy for you to find your local food bank to donate.

Also, you can join the Facebook group and spread the news to your friends.

http://apps.facebook.com/cannedfooddrive

What an innovative way to use the Web 2.0 world to spread the word about the food shortages that food banks are experiencing and encouraging more people to donate!

Example of Volunteer Centers using Yelp.com and Facebook

I had to share two examples of Volunteer Centers using & appearing in Web 2.0 sites. The first is of an unclaimed Volunteer Center listing on Yelp.com: If you work at the Arlington County Volunteer Center, you might want to visit the link and click on “edit business info” to claim the page.

The second example is of a Volunteer Center with a Facebook profile page. Great job the United Way of the Greater Seacoast!

Keep up the good work folks!

Who is going to be the first to join or create a volunteer Meetup.com group near you? Here are some waiting for good volunteering suggestions:

See if there is a Volunteer Meetup near you, join and provide opportunities for the group, or create one of your own and help the members plan volunteer activities!

How to SEO Flash

The Google help documents has a Q&A that asks Does Google index sites that use Macromedia Flash?

Yes, Google indexes pages that use Macromedia Flash. However, our crawlers may experience problems indexing Flash pages. If you’re concerned that Flash content on your pages may be inhibiting Google’s ability to crawl your site, you may want to consider using a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site. If features such as Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.

You may want to consider creating HTML copies of these Flash pages for our crawler. If you create HTML copies, please be sure to include a robots.txt file that disallows the Flash pages in order to ensure that our crawler doesn’t recognize these pages as duplicate content.

Finally, you might consider creating and submitting a detailed site map of your pages using Sitemaps. Sitemaps are an easy way for you to submit all your URLs to the Google index and get detailed reports about the visibility of your pages on Google. With Sitemaps, you can automatically keep us informed of all of your current pages and of any updates you make to those pages. Please note that submitting a Sitemap doesn’t guarantee that all pages of your site will be crawled or included in our search results.

Also, the Google Webmaster Central blog has some excellent advice on the topic.

The folks at Cre8asite Forums recommend using the SWFObject if necessary.

My advice, and it is mentioned in the forum threads, use Flash elements within the site but do not use Flash 100%. Do not use Flash for the complete site, do not use Flash for the main navigation or main content area.

Getting Organized to Build Links

Stumbled Upon a great article that advocates for the use of a spreadsheet, and a color coded system to see who has linked to you, and who hasn’t yet. I had to share!

Free Online Marketing Classes

Come one, come all, and learn how to adjust your web content and online opportunities to attract more volunteers!

Online Marketing 101: Can Volunteers Searching on the Internet Find You?

Learn how to drive volunteers to your website and online opportunities.

Unless you work on optimizing your Volunteer Center’s website and marketing it to search engines (Google, Yahoo, Ask.com or MSN/Live), volunteers searching the web WILL NOT FIND YOU. The steps are easy,
and you’ll leave with steps and templates to get started.

You can register for the training that works best for your schedule at the following link: https://pointsoflight.webex.com/meet/kwatier

Online Marketing 201: Benchmarking your Site, Registering with Local Search and Using Web 2.0 Communities

Have you attended the basic Search Engine Marketing Training and you’re ready for more? You will learn about how you measure how effective your website is at attracting traffic (based on how well your competitors are doing), and then dive into how to register for local search engines and how you can use online communities like Facebook, Gather.com,and Craigslist.org to promote your volunteer opportunities.

You can register for the training that works best for your schedule at the following link: https://pointsoflight.webex.com/meet/kwatier

Straight from Google – Alt tag explanation

Just in case you didn’t believe me when I talk about how valuable alt tags are…

SEO Basics from the Experts

For those of you who would like a crash course on the SEO/SEM basics. Learn from the experts for free!

Search Marketing – The Basics
Speaker: Detlev Johnson, SearchReturn
Event Date: December 13, 2007 01:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Register here.

SEO, SEM, PPC, keywords, Adwords, analytics — what does it all mean for you as a marketer when you’re just starting out with search? You know you need to incorporate search into your marketing mix, but where do you begin? We’ll help you get started, in this introductory webcast about search engine marketing. Industry veteran Detlev Johnson will talk about the basics, from the bottom up, so you can understand the landscape of search and how it fits into your current marketing efforts.

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