Spotlight: How One Organization’s Planning Lead To a Traffic Boost
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Caitlyn Slowe is a master juggler. She’s the go-to person to manage what’s published and when on the Health Imperatives website, a health agency in Brockton, Mass. As her organization has discovered, the items that appear on the site receive a huge boost in traffic, so hers is a key position. Here’s how she manages the homepage and about 20 smaller sites on top of her other job duties. Hint: organization really matters.
What’s your title, and how does that fit in with managing the website?
I’m the Manager of Special Projects for Health Imperatives, and one of the “projects” that my title refers to is our new website. Health Imperatives has about 40 different program sites ranging from family planning programs to a domestic violence shelter to GLBT youth services and so on.
My title was created last year when we were preparing for the launch of the new website. In addition to managing the website, I still continue to do my previous responsibilities like grant writing, event coordination, budget tracking, report writing, etc., for several Health Imperatives programs.
What areas of the site are you primarily responsible for?
I manage all of the main page content for www.healthimperatives.org and about half of the program sub-sites (some programs manage their own). On the main page, I find and post content for “In the News,” create the Slides for the slideshow (and usually the pages that they link to) and post program updates under “Announcements.”
How do you keep up on learning website manager skills?
I love NTEN’s (Nonprofit Technology Network) blogs and webinars on web design and management, and Mashable also has some excellent articles and tips on managing websites and social media. The Nonprofit Facebook Guy has great info geared specifically toward nonprofits. I’m fairly new to web management, so I basically try to read anything I can find relating to nonprofit web design or social media!
What does your day-to-day strategy look like for keeping the site updated?
One of the challenges I have with managing the website is that it is not my only job responsibility, so to make it more manageable for myself, I create a calendar for each month and map out how/when I’ll update the three sections of the main page (News, Slides, and Announcements).
I seek out and write the News blurbs and design the Slides in advance so that I can spend a minimal amount of time dropping them onto the site when their day comes up on the calendar. It’s worked well so far!
I try to update at least two different main page sections per week to keep the info fresh, and I leave each item up for at least one-two weeks (unless it is time-sensitive) so frequent site visitors will see as much new content as possible.
For social media, I rely heavily on HootSuite to help me keep up to date. I aim to do at least one tweet per day, and I limit Facebook to three posts per week (usually Monday, Wednesday, Friday). HootSuite allows me to schedule a week or more worth of Twitter and Facebook updates in advance, which is a huge time-saver!
It’s been half a year since the new site launched. What trends do you see in usage?
We have seen an exciting increase in traffic to our website since the new page launched, and it seems that people are enjoying the new format. Google Analytics is a great tool to show results in real numbers – for instance:
In 2011 between 1/29-2/28 we saw 1,580 (unique) visitors
In 2012 during that same time month-long period we’ve had 4,123 (unique) visitors (yay!)
We’re also seeing an increase in new users (vs. returning users), which tells us that our website is reaching a broader audience than it has in the past.
We’re finding that events/trainings that are advertised on our main page slideshow are receiving drastic increases in attendance. For example, a recent recurring training saw a 150% increase in registration after we advertised it on the main page slideshow. Very exciting to see these results, and we’ll definitely continue to advertise this way!
What’s the most useful part of the site?
I’d say that the slideshow has been the most useful part of the site, because it’s the first thing visitors see and can help us direct them to certain program sub-sites that otherwise may not have gotten as much exposure.
The Shopping Cart has also been a very useful tool, as it allows people to make donations to specific programs and also lets them register for trainings or events online, which is definitely the preferred method for our web-savvy visitors!