The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

5 For Friday: Darwinism and Evolution for Associations and Websites

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Fri, Mar 01, 2013

Welcome to this week’s issue of the 5 For Friday series. Starting with one of last week’s links about evolving your skills, I’ve been thinking about how associations and those of us who work with them need to continually adapt and evolve in order to stay relevant. This applies to web design, engagement, programs and everything we do.

Digital Darwinism. Evolve or else.

My local Barnes & Noble is about to close along with 1/3 of all their stores. It’s going the way of Borders, Blockbuster, Polaroid, Kodak and many more.  Brian Solis explores the concept of Digital Darwinism in an article for LinkedIn. He makes excellent points about how the pace of business is only accelerating and how every company is not only too big to fail, they are too small to fail.

Technology is a game changer and many of the organizations Brian cited recongnized the change too late. The magic question is: How are associations embracing the rapidly changing tides of technology? Or will they get left behind?

Read more at LinkedIn

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Topics: web strategy, Tactics, 5 for Friday, associations

5 Quick Tips to Improve Your Website

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Thu, Oct 04, 2012

“I always make sure that when my team touches a piece of content or collateral, they make it better than it was before. No matter how small the requested change is.”

I was inspired by this comment from Bennie Johnson, Global Chief Marketing Officer at the HR Certification Institute.

It’s a liberating concept.  We website managers look at the Herculean task of updating thousands of website pages and making the whole thing better.  Then throw our hands up in frustration.

But here’s a better approach… make a series of small improvements and over time you will change the whole thing.

Maybe all you’ve been asked to do is update a date or add a paragraph.  You only have 5 minutes and need to move on to the next task.  How can you possibly make an improvement on the page without this turning into a big deal?

Here are 5 quick fixes to can make while editing each page that over the long term will gradually improve the quality of your website.

1) Make Sure There Is a Visual Hierarchy

As you look at the page, are you SURE you know what the most important thing is on the page?  Or is all content given the same weight? Make sure the most important content or message is the most prominent, that related content is grouped together, and there is a flow through the page.

2) Clean up the Content to Make it “Web Friendly”

Web users only read 25% of the text on a page and scan pages rather than actually read them.  Take a few minutes to shorten the content, break into shorter paragraphs and highlight key content with bullets and/or bolding for emphasis.

3) Add Relevant Links to Other Pages in Your Site

The origin of the web was text documents that linked to each other. Look at the content on the page and find opportunities to embed text links to other relevant pages in your site.

4) Add SEO Meta Data and Plain English So the Page Can Be Found

Make sure the page has an appropriate description and keywords in the meta data.  Keep the description brief (under 160 characters) and write it from an outsider’s perspective.  Also make sure the content is free of insider jargon and uses plain English based on how external audiences would refer to the subject.

5) Add a Graphic or Photo to keep Users Engaged

Pages with graphics and photos grab users interest and keep them on the page.  Add a small photo or graphic to illustrate the content on the page.  Keep it under 200 pixels wide so it is noticeable but doesn’t detract too much.

Lastly, decide if the page needs more work than you can do right now. Every now and then you’ll come across a page that needs more attention than you can give it in 5 minutes. Decide if this is one of those pages and notify the page owner or subject matter expert that it needs a bigger review and update.

By making these small improvements in each site page as you update your content, you’ll find that over time you have improved the entire site.  If each journey begins with a first step, the path to a better website can be filled with many small improvements.

Additional Resources:

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Topics: Communications, Ray van Hilst, usability, Tactics, seo, messaging, Uncategorized, CMS, Websites

5 Quick Tips For Your Association Twitter Account

Posted by Chris Bonney on Sat, Sep 01, 2012

Who knew that Twitter would become a major marketing tool for associations? Probably the same people who thought Facebook would be a great way to connect people with associations. Like it or not, all associations have a place in the Twitterverse – including yours.

But just because Twitter is one of the fastest-growing social media site in the world doesn’t mean your association will explode with new members and even attendees as soon as you create a Twitter handle.

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Topics: Tactics, twitter, web 2.0, checklist, social media, associations

Social Engagement Tips: Recap from Higher Logic's Social Networking Success Tour

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Tue, Jun 05, 2012

This guest post is from Alicia Leonard, Vanguard's Online Community Specialist.

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Topics: Tactics, web 2.0, higher logic, social media

Do's and Don'ts of Website Redesigns

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Tue, May 15, 2012


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Topics: mmcc, ASAE, Ray van Hilst, Tactics, ASRT, Delcor, website redesign, project management, Websites

Amazon Trick Could Get You More Members Or Why A Confirmation Page Is Your Most Important Salesperson

Posted by Chris Bonney on Thu, Feb 16, 2012

Have you purchased from lately?

If so, you've hopefully noticed the new share feature they've added on their purchase confirmation page.

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Topics: web strategy, Tactics, twitter, facebook, Chris Bonney, social media, Websites, associations

Vanguard's 2011 Holiday Productivity and Tech Tool Round Up

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Wed, Dec 21, 2011

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Topics: online tools, Communications, Ray van Hilst, Tactics, collaboration, productivity, association technology

5 Tips for a Successful Association Website Redesign and CMS Migration

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Thu, Dec 01, 2011

Next week is the ASAE 2011 Technology Conference and Expo.  On Wednesday, I will co-present a session on Web Redesign and CMS Migration Best Practices with Tobin Conley from Delcor and Kathryn Hamilton from NAIOP.

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Topics: Ray van Hilst, Tactics, CMS, Websites

Another Cool SXSW Slide Show

Posted by Chris Bonney on Tue, Mar 15, 2011

As SXSW interactive comes to a close, thought I'd top it off with a great slide show that I saw before it all started.

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Topics: web strategy, Tactics, Chris Bonney, social media, SlideShare, Events, sxsw, conference

Another Very Compelling Reason Why Your Association Should Join Twitter Today

Posted by Chris Bonney on Thu, Oct 08, 2009

The association industry has been talking about social networking for a few years now. To most organization's credit, associations are doing their best to keep ahead of the curve and have created some sort of presence either on Facebook, LinkedIn or through a private social network like Higher Logic.

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Topics: web strategy, Tactics, twitter, web 2.0, facebook, social media, LinkedIn

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