Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > The benefits of a website and how to attract people to it

The benefits of a website and how to attract people to it


Entering the world of online marketing through the development of a website can hold many fears, particularly for community groups that do not see themselves as overly 'internet-literate'.

The good news is that the online world is not as daunting, confusing or scary as it used to be.  It's easy to get online and often at little or no cost to your group.

Web designers and people with a basic knowledge of programming and website layout can help you put together an attractive, accessible and easy-to-read site. There are also many easily accessible, easy-to-use programs that can help novices build web-pages themselves.

The site doesn't have to have all the "bells and whistles" – it can be as simple as a few easy-to-read and well laid out pages that provide basic information such as:
  • WHO you are.
  • WHAT you do/have done/are going to do.
  • HOW you go about it.
  • SUCCESSES your group has had – or some good success stories and
  • HOW to get in touch with your group.
You will save time and money by being able to provide direction on what you want in terms of content and presentation to whomever you get to help with your website.


For starters – What your group can get out of a website

One of the most important things to remember when looking to establish a website is that no-one is going to see your site unless you have something on it that they are looking for.

Websites are not advertising billboards or posters. A person will notice a big billboard on a street corner whether they are interested in its contents or not.  With a website, the user has to specifically search for a site using content and keywords, or they have to know you exist and search for your name.  

A website will draw people to your group, rather than you having to actively go out all the time and attract them.

Websites fall under the heading of 'pull marketing' – a lower key alternative to the traditional up-front 'push marketing'. Some examples of push marketing include billboards, direct mail and straight advertising.

When it comes to websites for a community group the task is two-fold:
  • To attract people to your site in the first place, and then.
  • To have a site that is attractive, informative, helpful, holds their interest once they are there and keeps them coming back.
The good thing is that once you have a website it is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year generating awareness for your group. It can also be found by an audience that you would not be able to reach through other means.
 


Step 1 – Getting them in

People come to your site because they know you already or because they are searching for something you have to offer and your site's address has come up in a Web search on a search engine like Google or Yahoo.

Either way, you have to make sure that your website address catches their notice, and this can be done in a number of ways.


Domain Name

The simplest way to get people to your site is to have a web address that is as close to your group or organisation's name as possible.

It is not always possible to get your exact name incorporated in a website address (another similarly named company or group may have already taken that domain name) but it is best to try to get as close as possible to your name, initials or at least some recognizable abbreviation.

You can cut the search time and eliminate a lot of frustration for people, particularly for those who know you are online but are unable to find your site, by buying your own domain name.

It isn't expensive to get your own domain name and you can arrange to have your current Internet Service Provider (ISP) handle the transfer of messages from the site into your existing account.  


Advertising

Cross-promoting your website through your other advertising and promotional tools is a must. Not only will it direct more traffic to your site, but using your own promotional tools to cross-reference will save your community group money.

This means that you need to include the website address on all items, just as you would the phone number or postal address of your organisation.

For example, use your website address on:
  • letterhead
  • posters
  • business cards
  • press releases
  • invitations
  • newsletters
  • raffle tickets

All your electronic communications will also need to include the website address and feature on any email that is sent from your group's office.


Links

This is where having some friends and contacts on the web can come in very handy for your group.

Ask your contacts – maybe members, donors, fundraisers, board or committee members, supporters, etc. to host a link to your group's website.

In fact, ask everyone you can think of – including peak associations for your area of interest, local State or Federal Government sites which feature links, local on-line portals and directories – and think about swapping links with other local community groups, or organisations similar to yourself.

In preparation for this, your group could have a thumbnail-sized click box ready to send anyone who agrees to host a link.  This requirement isn't compulsory, you can just use a normal written link, but setting up a click box can be one of the tasks your group can complete when working with a web programmer to develop your site.

Another way you can make sure your website keeps working to attract people to your group is get your name to the top (or near the top) of search engine search results.

The second part of this help sheet, available by Clicking Here, will discuss some of the ways you can get your website to the top of these searches, as well as the important features of an attractive and readable website.



The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.