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Ask a question – free website advice for charities and non-profits

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Charities and non-profit organisations – if you’ve got a question about how to do something online, just add a comment below and we’ll post an answer.

No matter how simple or complicated the question, we will do our best to provide you with quality advice on the best and most cost-effective way to achieve your goals.

11 comments on “Ask a question – free website advice for charities and non-profits

    • Hi Gill, thank you for your comment.

      Getting traffic can sometimes be a bit of a chore but here’s some tips that I would consider the minimum (I’m not an SEO expert but know the basics):

      – Most importantly – make sure your website has plenty of relevant content with plenty of pages (adding a blog can be good for this as it encourages you to post regularly, rather than a website with just a few static pages).

      – Learn a bit about basic SEO (search engine optimisation) – http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.co.uk/en/uk/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf
      Mainly, including proper < title > tags on your pages, and include < h1 > and < h2 > tags etc.

      – Create a sitemap – a basic one like the ones made via this site will do temporarily: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
      But if you’re going to be updating your site regularly it would be a pain to have to re-generate your sitemap all the time, so really you want something that generates the sitemap dynamically, such as one of these programs:
      http://code.google.com/p/sitemap-generators/wiki/SitemapGenerators

      Or if using a CMS like WordPress (highly recommended!), a plugin like this:

      http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

      – Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and submit your sitemap – http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
      They also have lots of diagnostic tools and information to help you see your website through Google’s eyes

      Although Google is the most important search engine, you can also submit your site to other search engines and sites such as:
      http://www.bing.com/toolbox/submit-site-url
      http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
      http://www.dmoz.org/

      – Backlinking – you need to get as many links as possible back to your website and this can be the trickiest part. You want links from websites that are relevant to yours, so one way to do this is to make a connection with other people in your field. You could contact them and ask if they’d like to exchange links, or better yet, exchange articles – write an article about your charity and include a few links to your website within the post, and ask that the other do the same, then post each others articles on your website. You could also submit your article to article directories for other people to re-publish on their own sites.

      Social networking is also a good way to get backlinks – every time you write a news post or add any content to your website, make sure you Tweet about it and post on Facebook about it, including a link to your site. This gives other people to re-tweet/re-post/’like’ it etc. too.

      The key is the content – if you update your website regularly, preferably daily, it will be seen by the search engines.

      I hope this info has been useful, I’m definitely no SEO expert and there’s a mountain of information out there on the web with a million different opinions about SEO, this is just what I have gleaned from my time working on the web.

      If you need any help with the sitemap or setting up a blog or anything, feel free to get in touch, I’d be happy to have a look when I have the time.

      I will get a full article posted about SEO asap, so please check back, and I’d love to hear some feedback on your progress some time, see if the tips I’ve given have helped!

      Thanks
      Jo

  1. Hi there!

    I don’t have a specific question in mind but just would like to let you know how much I appreciate your website.

    I was looking for some economical and really free stock photos for a charity that I volunteer (so many “fake” free photos have made me frustrated) and then ran into your site. It’s informative, precise and concise. Other than solving the problem I have right now, it also gives me some other ideas what I can do next. Well done and heartfelt thanks!

    There are not yet many posts on social networking and I hope you can share more. Another thing is about different (free) programmes or methods to stop spam such as “recaptcha test”? (the only thing I know).

    Once again, thank you very much!

    Carmen

    • Thank you for your positive feedback, it’s really lovely to hear 🙂

      I hope to write more posts soon so will try and fill up the social networking section, there’s plenty to say about how valuable that can be for charities!

      Spam is such a pain and combatting it depends on what sort of system you’re using to manage your website and how much you want to delve in to the code, or alternatively if you just want a piece of software that will do the job for you.

      I will get a full post written about it asap, but here’s my suggestions that might help you for now:

      – Google’s ‘Recaptcha’ -http://www.google.com/recaptcha – is a good system to use and not difficult to implement, either on a plain HTML site or using WordPress or another CMS system. You just need to sign up for a key and then add a little code in to your site. It did get cracked a couple of years ago and lots of site suffered spam problems, but I’ve not heard of any issues since so hopefully that was just a one time problem.

      http://bad-behavior.ioerror.us/ Bad Behaviour is highly recommended by a lot of developers, I’ve not tried it out yet myself. (There’s also a WordPress plugin version, see below)

      – Hand coded forms & spambot trickery – there’s a good method described here whereby you could add a field to your form and tell regular users to leave it blank, spambots will of course not see your instruction to leave it blank and will add in their spammy info, and the form will not be processed if there is info in the field:
      http://nfriedly.com/techblog/2009/11/how-to-build-a-spam-free-contact-forms-without-captchas/

      I use WordPress for most sites and there’s quite a few good plugins available:

      http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/
      Akismet is a popular system for blog type sites and can be used for free BUT if you want to do it by the book you’re supposed to pay for any sort of organisation, even non-profits, so probably better to go with something else

      http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bad-behavior/
      This plugin is highly recommended but I’ve not tried it myself

      And there’s lots to choose from at WordPress.org: http://wordpress.org/search/spam

      Hope that helps. Keep an eye on the site and I’ll do my best to get a more thorough post up in the coming weeks.

      Thanks,
      Jo

  2. Hi
    I am looking for some advice I set up a non for profit group in my hometown and launched with our first event in May 2013, since then I’ve had lots of great media attention and am also up for a award! (chuffed).

    I fund this all from limited funds I have our website is designed myself I am self talk in this and use Moonfruit to do the website in, since March 2013 we had over 9300 visitors, however I am looking for the website to look even better and offer some form of advertising so this can assist with the ongoing cost i.e. hosting, domain names etc Do you know of anywhere that could assist with this?

    I am currently looking for sponsors who are willing to offer there services for free and of course on any printed/online items would display the logo, the issue I have is that the bank won’t let me open a bank account as I don’t have photo ID and currently the governing document only has me on there as I can’t find people willing to put work in or have been using for there own gain – does anyone have any advice on how I could get around the bank account?

    I would like to say I stumbled across this website and will be bookmarking as it so far seems a really useful website.

    Many Thanks

  3. Hi,

    My not for profit is working on a new digital strategy and I was wondering whether you have a list of funders (Trusts and Foundations) who you can recommend for funding web-based projects (such as creating charity websites)?

    Thanks,

    Anne

  4. We are attempting to set up a website for the Patients User Group at the Specialised Ability Centre Manchester. We are not a registered charity, but the User Group has its own constitution, run by patients, its own finances – primarily annual grants from the charity The Limbless Association and has a management committee. Can you offer us some guidance of a low cost route for setting up a website for the User Group?

  5. I am trying to help a local charity with their project organisation and am looking for an ISP that provides something like a MySQL service with a bundled client GUI. None of us are IT specialists but could cope with a forms based approach to updating database records and extracting summaries – a bit like using FilemakerPro, but made more widely available through an ISP service, or even on “the cloud”. It would be a fairly small application – about 15 tables, a few thousand records max., one developer and about 10 users able to update their own records. Access by the generality of users could be via a WEB site, assuming the ISP provides appropriate facilities for generating WEB pages from the database.

  6. Please I need someone interested to support me to raise my project off ground;
    I first of all pray that you find my project interesting and also willing to help a Good Cause.. Amen.
    I greet you in the name of our almighty God, I hope you’re doing great. God bless you.
    Please I need your support very drastically in every possible way that you can. please, even if you’re not interested personally I will be much glad if you can talk to a friend about it and God will never deny you the heavenly blessings that are associated with it. I need your support to get this noble project off ground..

    I have initiated a plan for non profit organization to support orphans, teen mothers, children without classroom intellect to learn a craft for self-reliance and care for their children. since it is a self initiative then I tried to project the plan. I need a support to get things off the ground because I am currently struggling on the project. I will be grateful if you find this project interesting. I can video chat with you on Skype if you have the interest but doubt my project.

    My country is a very controversial place.
    On one hand it’s one of the richest countries in the world. Rich in natural resources, rich in nature and wildlife, rich in culture and rich in friendliness of the people.

    But on the other hand Ghana is also very poor… Their economy falls apart, unemployment rates are high and education is expensive. Orphans and teen mothers are very common and struggling to take care of themselves and their children.

    This is where the idea grew of starting a non-profit project.

    THE PROJECT SUMMARY

    What I have created is a place where teen mothers can spend their days, feel safe and learn crafts for self reliance. they will feel more confident about themselves and will be guided into starting their own business.

    products made during training will be sold and the moneys earned from this will go back into the project,so we should be able to become self sustaining at a certain point.

    I also have began tour guiding recently so that I can earn funds to support the project but factually some changes must be done at the project site so that we can continue with the training of the children and young mothers.
    once again, I humbly seek your support to get this noble project off ground.. waiting to hear from you soon.
    Lergie

    project links:

    http://tourvolta.wix.com/travelvolta

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1163099-d9982413-Reviews-Travel_Volta_Tours-Hohoe_Volta_Region.html

    https://www.facebook.com/scfartscenter/

    https://www.facebook.com/SCF-Arts-and-Craft-Shop-280676472056340/?ref=hl

  7. Hello! We are a charitable organization (NGO) sedarvpghana.org based in Ghana. We would like to transfer our current website on to an easier- to- update free host. We also hope to keep the same address since we have been running the site for several years now and people/contacts are used to it. Could you please advise us how we could do that? Anyone who could volunteer and do that for us? Thank you for your time and attention.

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