Archive for July, 2010

Great Tips for Creating a Horrible School Website

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Usually we leave links to our Twitter account, but we couldn’t resist with this one. It’s a list of 15 ways to create a horrible non-profit website, and each one is very funny while being painfully true.

There are a few I find to be common for Catholic Schools, so I’ll expand on them here:

Keeping Your Message Consistent with a Style Guide

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Let’s say that you work for a company that makes toothpicks. You’re a brand new hire. On your first day, you set up your email, and the IT guy tells you that everyone usually makes a simple email footer with their contact information and the company motto. You ask what the company motto is. “Our toothpicks are the best”, he says.

Later in the day, you get an email from someone else in the company. In their email footer, the motto is “Our toothpicks are really great”. Puzzled, you start noticing everyone’s email footer has a different motto. They are all similar, but slightly different. Soon, you start to notice that on brochures and advertisements, the motto changes slightly over and over as well.

Finally you make it to the people in charge and ask them what’s going on. You ask them: how will people remember our motto if it changes all the time? The answer you get is simply no one has gotten around to standardizing it.

Tools to Outsource Your Site

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

The less you have to worry about your school’s website, the better. Every small detail that is taken care of leaves you time to improve on other things that deserve time and attention.

That’s why outsourcing almost everything you can technology-wise is a great way to reduce some common headaches.

To be clear, we’re not talking about having someone do other work for the site for you. We’re talking about using tools freely available make common functions easier and quicker to implement.

The basic scenario goes like this: you have something you want to implement, and you have a choice. You can use make your own version (usually with the help of plugins and online tutorials), or you can outsource it to an established solution. The benefit of an established solution is that there are teams of people working to improve and update the solution all the time. All you have to do is hook it up to your site, and you’re done.

Let’s take a look at some examples of solutions that help you outsource your site.

Creating a Great Donate Page

Friday, July 9th, 2010

How many pages on your site actually bring in money directly? Probably only one – your donation page.

If you don’t have a donation page, we’re preparing an article on services that provide an easy way to take money online painlessly (that aren’t Paypal). We’ll have that up next week, but today we’re talking about the donation page itself.

It really makes sense to spend some time refining your home page and creating something that really works. Like we just mentioned, your donation page actually creates revenue and can be an important part of an annual fund or a campaign.

What may not be so obvious is that very small changes in your donation page can make a huge different in your rate of conversion – that is, how many people are visiting the donation page and actually following through and making a gift. To cover the bases of what every donation page should be doing, we’ve put together some tips that can be put into use to create an engaging donation page that results in more online giving. Let’s get going!