Get More Website Traffic Without Thinking Too Hard

The key to success is consistency. Hard work and luck help too, but just knocking it out on a regular schedule is incredibly important. Web site promotion is no different; you have to tell people to visit it consistently and continually.

Now, saying, “I’m going to be consistent,” is quite different from actually doing it. Otherwise, everyone would keep their New Year’s resolutions instead of letting them fizzle out by March.

So it helps if you can attach your marketing reminder to something you give out all the time. That way you don’t have to always remember.

Here’s an example from a price label on a dress I recently bought. Notice how Calvin Klein stamps their website on every label. That’s an easy and consistent way for them to remind people they have a website.

Look at the back of this price tag from REI. They’re using it to consistently remind people they have a member reward program.

Yes, you need to be consistent with your SEO and your online newsletter, but look around you and note the other missed opportunities to mention your organization and its website. Start with your website and see how it can promote itself. Your business cards? Outgoing voice mail? Car bumper? Attach it to something else that’s always being distributed that you might never have considered, and it will make your job that much easier.

Want more ideas? Our task-a-day web promotion checklist gives you many ideas you can use to promote your site.

Have ideas? Leave them in the comments below.

Learn from Apple’s Interactive Digital Textbook

A year ago, skeptics were doubting the value of learning through a cell phone. When McGraw-Hill released its “mConnect” open-standard mobile learning platform aimed at emerging markets, some tech pundits, presumably who sit at computers all day, were finding it difficult to think in any way other than sitting in a classroom or staring at a monitor for instructor-led education.

That’s before everyone became addicted to their iPads and education apps started multiplying by the thousands. On January 19, Apple kicked off its education event in New York releasing iBooks 2 and highlighting its iTunes U app, which made the limitations of traditional textbooks – namely that they’re dry enough to be a fire hazard, terribly dated and incredibly one-dimensional – painfully clear.

Textbook traditionalists might not have been like me, spending more time doodling in the margins than reading the copy between them. They might have been able to memorize the dates and formulas they read as printed in chapters. But a decade of working with online students has proven that you have to meet them where they learn best. Active learning is always the best kind of learning.

Even if you’re not ready to fill your professional development training program with iPads, remember the classrooms of 20 years ago were different places than they are now. New learners learn differently and expect to have access to information and quick feedback. As you think about the way you present information to students, be ready to meet their expectations and embrace the innovations that are proven to keep them engaged.

Top 5 Predictions About Nonprofit Websites in 2012

If there’s one takeaway from 2011, it’s that the economy is haywire and technology is evolving faster than an oiled bullet. In that kind of nutty atmosphere, it can be a challenge to predict what will happen to web-based technology in the coming months.

We do see a few trends emerging for the next year, however. Here are our predictions for 2012 web trends. Take note for when you next talk to your web design firm about and also pay attention to so you can to succeed in your NGO or company.

1. More design for mobile devices.

Look around you. What’s in the hands of the people surrounding you, including your own? An iPad or iPhone? Nook? Kindle? Tablet? Blackberry? Everybody’s using some kind of handheld device. While corporate websites have been mobile-compliant for years, nonprofits will finally start to catch up. Want to peer into the future of mobile design? Read Mobile Web Design Trends and Best Practices.

2. App-lification of websites.

All those people with mobile devices are getting used to responsive design that they can manipulate with their fingers. Move over “point and click,” and make way for “touch and swipe.” People are beginning to expect interactive design with websites, so expect to see websites look and behave more like they came from the app store.

3. Websites focused on user experience.

Since people are spending so much time with their heads bowed over their handheld devices, they also expect to understand what to do with an app without having to guess. This means websites will be built with careful attention to user experience design (UX), in other words, built with humans in mind. Nonprofit leaders might finally understand that the less people have to think about a website, the more likely they’ll donate, sign petitions, volunteer or otherwise participate. Finally!

4. Less Flash.

We’ve long believed Flash to be big and clunky plug-in, with way too many distracting splash screens and blank spaces on the iPad. There are other technologies out there that make web movies and play on a host of devices, so expect to see more of these letters in the alphabet soup: AJAX, CSS3 and HTML 5.

5. Move to online donations.

Smart charities are already asking for money online with little more than a click. Many smaller nonprofits have been slow to relinquish check-cashing for ecommerce web design. We see some of that fear waning, and expect more nonprofits that don’t allow online donations to begin earning some electronic cash.

What do you think will be trending in 2012? Give your vote for one of these five in the comments below or tell us what you think we’ll see in the future.

[Image: Flickr user rjrgmc28]

Best Articles from 2011

We spend all year coming up with advice and insight into how you can run a better website, hold a more effective online training program. Here are the top 12 most useful, entertaining and indispensable we covered over the last year.

(Make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff coming up in 2012 – and yes, we’ve got a good year planed so far. Sign up for updates by RSS feed or by e-mail using the box to the right.)

Definitive Website Pre-Launch Checklist

Ready to launch a new site? Run through this before you flip the switch.

4 Risk Management Steps That Could Save You

Things go wrong with websites. Expect the unexpected.

Welcome to Our Website! (Except for You)

We know you’d never intentionally close your website to anyone, but without appropriate accessibility, that might be just what you’re doing.

Save Your Sanity AND Get the Logo You Love (Yes, You Can!)

You can get through an image rebranding without rehashing past mistakes or subjecting yourself to the pain of collaboration. Here’s how.

John Rochford Talks About Accessibility

John Rochford, Director of Technology at New England INDEX a project of UMass Medical School, is one of those people who takes accessibility seriously and makes websites better for everyone.

10 Ways to Be a Jackass in Online Discussions

Please apply the following rules to discussion boards, comments entries, and Facebook and Twitter postings if you wish to raise collective blood pressure.

Digesting All That Alphabet Soup

Here are a few tips on dealing with letter overload online.

20 Free Icon Sets for Non-Profits

The quickest shortcut to making your website look polished is to use icons. These pictures are nice and free.

Guest Post: Five Musts for Pictures That Pop

Morgan Ione Yeager shares some simple tricks to capture better images and using images online.

Reader Question: How Do I Get Feedback on My New Website?

A reader wants to know how to get honest feedback from her website visitors.

What Is the Coolest E-learning Video You Have Seen Online?

A few great examples.

Frankenspeak Contest with the Content Rules team

Share the words and phrases that you’d like to ban from marketing, sales, corporate communications, business schools, blogs and boardrooms, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Content Rules, by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.