Google Search Console is a treasure chest for content marketing.

How do I come up with blogging ideas for my nonprofit website or my online business?

It’s a question often asked. When you put this issue in the Google search box, you’ll find about 197,000,000 results. One answer for you: Search Analytics in the Google Search Console

The most forgotten tool for content creators is Google Search Console. About a year ago Google renamed it from Webmaster Tools as an attempt to get non-techies to pay attention to the information it uncovers.

Yes, there is a lot of techie stuff there, still. But one section is pure gold when looking for inspiration on what to blog about next. If you write for your nonprofit’s website, you need a report on the site’s position on the result pages. A report on monthly activity will work on most occasions. If it’s a new site, use the last 90 days to compile the list.

What can you learn from the Search Analytics?

It lists all keyword phrases your website was relevant, in Google’s mind, for its search pages.

For each keyword phrase in the list you can see:

  • Number of clicks
  • Number of Impressions
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  • Position

Let’s take it one at a time:

Number of Clicks

People saw one of your pages listed, found it worth checking out and clicked to pull it up in their browser. If they didn’t lose patience while waiting for the page to come up, they landed on your website.

By the way, those are the visitors and sessions you see in your Google Analytics under “Organic search.”

Number of Impressions

Search Console Help states: “A link URL records an impression when it appears in a search result for a user.”

Every time one of the web pages from your site was included in the search results it counts as an impression. Google also notes that the URL does not have to be scrolled into view for it to count. It does not mean the user searching has seen the web page. What you can now see is how many people have searched for the keyword phrase.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

You can calculate the click-through rate by dividing the Impressions by the Number of clicks. It gives you a relative measure of your web page’s’ performance.

Average Position

The last number is average position and identifies the spot on the search result pages. The goal, of course, is the number 1 spot. Ranking number one for your brand is easy. If people search for your company, your site should come up on the number one or number two spot.

Apart from that, to rank high enough to get to the top spot, your content needs to hit the keyword phrase exactly. The web page needs to cover the topic deeply and exhaustively. Most of the time that’s not the case.

A lot of different ranking factors go into the algorithm determining the placement of a web page. All you can aim for is close to the first page of the search result pages.

Treasure chest for content marketing

How do keyword phrases in Google Search Console help you create better content?

You look at the keyword phrases with a high click-through rate. Decide for yourself, if it’s a keyword phrase, that is relevant to the goals of yours. Relevancy is key. Sometimes we find surprises in the Search Analytics. For instance, our website ranks high for “pardon our dust.” A phrase placed on our site before we had any content. A person searching for this phrase is not interested in nonprofit technology topics.

Next, to the keyword phrase, you see a gray arrow in a square. If you click on this square, you will see an example of Google search page for the keyword combination.

Take a look at the sites listed on the first page. Now asked yourself, if you can’t do a much better job writing about the topic than they could. Your next blog post will be on this subject. Combine it with a series of other blog posts, make an ebook out of it and use it as a lead magnet. Invite an expert and interview her on this topic for your next video. Re-purpose the audio of the video and publish it as a podcast. It’ll be a lot of work, but it will be worth it.

“What’s a good read for people is good enough for Google.”

This approach should drive your editorial calendar. Do this for twelve more keyword phrases, and you improve your average position. To get to number one spot might take a few months. And you will generate more clicks to your pages along the way.

How long should your blog post be?

Well, you can aim low and go for 300 to 600 words with a nice graphic to attract readers on the social webs. If you want to hit a home run, you need to take a big swing, though. Go for the long form content.

Back in 2012, I was doing some research for myself and our customers to select the best blogging tool and work through all the necessary features to use it as the central hub of an organization’s online communication. The research for the post took me quite a while to make real apples-to-apples comparisons, and test each of the 17 features in four blogging tools.

When you search for “compare blogging engines” the article is still listed on the first page, five years later. It doesn’t perform as well anymore because in the last five years a lot has happened in that landscape. You can imagine that on top of my to-do list is to update the post with new information, make the overview table responsive to mobile devices, and then it will drive more relevant traffic to our website again. Studies show long-form content outperforms shorter content for the long tail and both have their places in your content marketing strategy and search engine optimization activities.

“Give people what they need, and they will reward you with their clicks.”

Resources for your Content Production

Now when you write, you would need to make sure you do your onsite search engine optimization. More about Onsite SEO on our podcast episode #4.

Yoast, developers of Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, just added another free feature to their plugin, called Cornerstone Content Analysis.

NewsCred’s managing editor, Heather Eng, wrote about their internal Content Quality Checklist every piece of content needs to pass. It should get you started to formalize quality standards for your content producers.

Book: They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer …by Marcus Sheridan

Send us your comments, questions or suggestions via commenting below or via email birgit.pauli@paulisystems.net

(Editor’s Note: Pauli Systems’ founder Birgit Pauli-Haack originally published this piece earlier this year at NPTechProjects.)

CiviCRM Donor and Events Management for Nonprofits

This post was first published on CiviCRM community web site. 

At first glance, one might think CiviCRM donor management for nonprofits is just another tool for development officers, fundraising professionals and executives.

One might want to take another look.

There is a jungle of nonprofit donor management systems on the market today. Capterra lists over 140 different systems  All promise the heaven on earth but, in reality, few other open-source systems offer what you find in CiviCRM.

Aside from its fully integrated system which manages all contact information and activities around all people involved in your organization, CiviCRM is also state of the art technology with a very attractive price point as open-source. There are no licence fees. It’s all installed on your host if you’d like to stay in control of your environment, data and security. As with any software system, it needs its fair share of set-up, configuration, maintenance and training.

I have been burned with open-source software quite a bit in the last decade but working with open-source has also been the biggest delight. There are open-source software communities that stand out and CiviCRM is definitely one of them.

How to judge an open-source software and avoid the pitfalls?

As with any technology project you have to look from three different angles: the technology, the processes, and the people involved.

Technology

A motherboard for computers

For most mature technology projects, the technology is sound. The engineers put their hearts and souls into it and gave it their best. I always assume it’s really good.
Most technology projects don’t fail because the technology decisions were wrong. Most of the time, it’s the people and the processes which become the hardest to align.

CiviCRM has been built with PHP probably, the most used web programming language. It runs on a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP). It is an open-system for developers. It has a managed public API and maintains an infrastructure for custom extension. If a software has been around for almost 10 years and successfully installed around ten-thousand times, it’s safe to assume most of the bugs in the core were already discovered and fixed.

Both the maturity of the CiviCRM system and the managed infrastructure for developer contributions make for an excellent basis upon which to build organization’s core administrative tool for employees.

Processes

Flow Chart (Processes)

Next step on my CiviCRM journey was to dive into the processes of the CiviCRM community.

In this case, processes mean to me: where to find documentation and discover how current it is; find out how can I ask questions, what is the process to report bugs or errata in documentation; discover how forums are run, how was the wiki assembled and how does the issue tracker work.

I witnessed first hand how the community came together and jumped through hoops to become an official Stack Exchange public forum and sunset the existing forums on the site. This was a major effort. You need to prove to Stack Exchange there is a sufficient enough community to support a forum on the site. Stack Exchange doesn’t want ghost towns. The process opens up the community to even more users and also allows for many more people to help each other out while relieving the core contributors from the vast amount of forum posts to be answered and moderated.

I read through all the documentation and successfully installed CiviCRM on top of WordPress, in our company’s test server.

Again, a pleasant surprise. I did not experience a single hiccup or mismatch between the documentation and what I saw in reality. Until this experience I found it quite normal that complex systems would not always behave like the best case scenario in the documentation.

I don’t normally get it right the first time. Nine out of ten times, luck would have me hit a roadblock or surface a bug no one else had found. With CiviCRM I didn’t encounter any of it.

The developing contributors did a fantastic job testing the code before is was released and thoroughly documented the phases of installation and configuration. We all love when a plan comes together. But when you have been around technology long enough, you really don’t expect it to go smoothly right off the bat.

While testing the systems and diving into several different use cases and requirements for the my first project, I received plenty of assistance through the people volunteering on the forums. When I read through the documentation I mostly found the necessary additional information on how to handle special cases of events or a so-called household memberships.

For fun, I also read about scheduled reminders and scheduled jobs. Of course, at this point I was set-up with higher expectations but CiviCRM did not disappoint at any level of my self-paced, fast-paced education. I tested the membership module, events module, the email mass mailing software and the contributions module. Nothing brings more knowledge and lets me test drive a system than when applied to a real life project. So later that year, I took on migration of a membership organization from Filemaker 7.0 to CiviCRM.

People

People

Equally important to technology and process, if not more important for its success, are the people who run the software and the community around it. Who are the people involved? How large is the community? Who are the leaders? How approachable are they? How welcoming is the community to newcomers? How can normal everyday users get help? Is there a network of consultants available to do the heavy lifting for organizations which don’t have their own IT departments?

I started interacting with the CiviCRM community about 15 months ago, when I was searching for a speaker for the local Tech4Good group.

In my search, I reached out to Donald Lobo, CiviCRM’s founder, and David Greenberg, co-founder, got back to me. What a delight. Although as I mentioned I didn’t know any of them, their status in the community soon became quite clear. Both were very helpful – I felt quite welcome. Unfortunately, we didn’t find an evangelist for CiviCRM in Florida. If there is a need, and my interest is peaked, I normally run with it and research some more. Donald and David definitely planted the seed.

After a few months of testing and documenting some of the lessons learned, I started to get even more involved with the CiviCRM community. I signed up for the CiviCRM User Summit in September 2014 (Check out scheduled CiviCRM Events ) and was really amazed about the climate of collaboration and community. The CiviCRM User Summit started with a social showcase gathering the night before in an art gallery with four presentations in which implementers and nonprofits showed-off their use of CiviCRM or discussed new modules or extensions.

The presentations and presenters at the User Summit the next day were outstanding. I was totally intrigued by the versatility of CiviCRM software and the generosity of the consultants, implementers, contributors and community managers.

I finally met David Greenberg and CiviCRM newsletter editor, Linda Wu Pagano, in person after connecting with them often on twitter and on the CiviCRM site, it was like meeting long time friends again. I also met new people, like Tony Mazzarella of Web Access, who showed off some amazing implementation for a political campaign; Nate Porter of Ukuu People, who I met again at WordPress Camps as well as at #15NTC; Frank Gómez and Michael Daryabeygi, the fearless CiviVolunteer code wranglers of Ginkgo Street Labs, and Paul Keogan from BackOffice Thinking, who with his team around Linda Wu Pagano and Brad DeForest started the newest NPTechClub in Pennsylvania. There are so many more interesting CiviCRM people with whom I hope to connect.

The CiviCRM community radiates a genuine spirit of making this world a better place with the best tools available and that spirit enables better software and collaboration.
After working four years extensively with WordPress, I learned to embrace the community driven software. I have the choice to work with open-source vs proprietary software, open-source wins every time.

Fill out below form to learn more about our Implementation Services for CiviCRM and we schedule full demo session with you.

Back to Basics: E-Mail Marketing & RSS

With 93% of all American adults using e-mail as their primary online communication tool, any content distribution strategy will need to include e-mail marketing solutions. So it is no wonder e-mail subscriptions for blogs and other sites are important and need to be optimized.

Three features any e-mail marketing system should have:

  • RSS Feed driven newsletters,
  • support for CRM sy

    stems and
  • a flexible API that allows access to the open/click statistics per subscribers.

Among the many companies offering e-mail marketing services, I have only found one that has all features and then some. We looked at Feedblitz, JangoMail, Constant Contact and MailChimp. Our clear favorite, (and, we are not getting any money from them or other perks), is MailChimp. It is easy to use – very important for our clients -, it offers back-end integration with a reliable, extensible API, and offers integration with major CRMs, such as Salesforce, Highrise and Batchbook. The flexibility is quite impressive. We have built various web sites that integrate via the API. Our site registration process synchronizes the MC subscribers list, and allows access to open and click statistics per subscriber. We have published our API Wrapper for Coldfusion as open-source, to remove barriers for other developers to use the system.

With MailChimp you can manage an extensive action and reaction history with your contacts. You are able to target specific groups of subscribers, and be more flexible in managing relationships. The closer you are able to target your communication, the higher the probability is that your service suits your recipients needs. We embraced MailChimp wholeheartedly after they also allowed for RSS driven campaigns to automate notification of your lists of updates on your blog. We have integrated quite a few news pages with MailChimp ,and our clients have been very happy with the outcome and the increased traffic to their websites.


Examples for an RSS feed campaign in Mailchimp

 

Examples of an RSS Feeds campaign in Feedblitz

 

Examples broadcast e-mails