September 10, 2012

15 ways to optimize your website’s landing pages

Tips for planning, creating & improving your nonprofit’s website

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, Web publishers, bloggers.

John HaydonLast week in this ongoing series you learned five ways to make your website content more remarkable. In this post, we’ll drill down into your website’s landing pages to find ways to improve one of your organization’s most important ways of reaching the public.

What’s a landing page and why should you care?

A landing page is a page on your website where you want visitors to complete a specific transaction, such as donating money or joining an email list. These are some of the most important pages on your site. As author and social marketer Seth Godin put it: “Landing pages are the new direct marketing, and everyone with a website is a direct marketer.” 

As you can imagine, this is always harder than it sounds. Bad design, uninspiring text and slow load times are just a few challenges. 

Following are 15 specific things you can do now to improve the performance of your landing pages.

Planning your landing pages

1What’s your goal? Pick one, and only one. This is often the most difficult part of an online strategy, so take some time to get it right.

2Who’s your audience? It’s tempting to think that your landing page needs to engage all of your audiences, but if you try and create messages that speak to everyone, all you’ll end up doing is inspiring no one. Continue reading

August 26, 2009

How to make your website more accessible

Enhancing website accessibility from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaA few weeks back, at SOBCon busniess school for bloggers in Chicago, I met Glenda Watson Hyatt, a remarkable trainer and conference speaker who gave a presentation on how to make websites and blogs more accessible to the disabled. Glenda, who has cerebral palsy, deals with computer accessibility issues on a daily basis. I wrote about her advice on Socialbrite: 7 tips for communicating with people with disabilities.

After Glenda’s talk and one by Lorelle VanFossen, author of “Blogging Tips” — Lorelle has occasional memory lapses because of traumatic brain injury — I captured some of their advice regarding how to make sure your website or blog accessible to disabled people.

Lorelle says that fully 60 percent of all sites on the Web are not accessible to the disabled — so pay attention, yours may be one. They discuss specific steps website operators and bloggers can take to make their sites and blogs accessible, including adding simple things like alt tags, captions and underlined links.

Tips to make your site more accessible to disabled users

• Include “alt” tags (alternative descriptions) and title tags in all images and videos.

• Make your links look like links. Use colors that distinguish them from regular text and use an underline to set them apart.

• Make your body text legible. The 0.8em default on some blog platforms is just too small for millions of readers out there. Usability should be your paramount concern — not all your readers are under 30!

• Also, make sure your stylesheet permits variable font sizes. If you’re using a fixed font, older browsers don’t let users adjust text size. (In Firefox and IE, you can hit command + or – to increase or decrease the size of the text on screen.)

• Give your photos captions, so the vision-impaired can know what they’re looking at. Continue reading