Creating Online Content

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This is a presentation given by the Mass Audubon webmaster to introduce staff to the challenges of creating web content and enewsletters that work.


  • 1. Online Content:What do they want?
    And who are they, anyway?
    Kathy Santos
    Mass Audubon Webmaster

2. Zucchini
3. Recipes
4. Zucchini
Chocolate Fudge
Zucchini Cake
5. The Dreaded April Vacation
6. I hear Mass Audubon has programs
7. What happened here?
In a later slide, youll see what this information is called.
THIS entire page was read
THESE pages were
only scanned
8. Online is Different
Its harder to read text online
Use short paragraphs
Use short sentences the comma rule
Short attention span theater & the 5 second rule
Lots of headings
Good organization
More then just text
Rich content
Diagrams, maps, quotes
9. So who ARE these people?
Who visits our website?
10. and What Do They Want?
Website visitors have GOALS
Its not about what YOU want to TELL them
Its giving them what interests THEM
And making it easy for them to fulfill their goals
11. WE should have web goals too
Why do we want a given page?
What problem will it solve for us?
What goal will it meet?
If it doesnt support mission or money goals, why do we need it?
What do we want people to DO as a result of seeing this web page?
Its All About Behavioral Change
12. What Makes Us Special?
We need to ask questions such as:
What's our most important content? What content do we have that people really want to read and can't find anywhere else?
The content itself must be
compelling. It must drive action.
Gerry McGovern
author of The Web Content Style Guide
13. Designing a Home Page
Jared Spool, User Experience expert, says there are two important functions for a home page:
Deliver the content that the user is seeking
2. Provide a strong scent to pages that contain the content the user seeks
14. Analyzing Our Home Page
Google Analytics Overlay Mode
Percentage of clicks to a given page
(not from a given link)
15. Home Page A/B Testing
Google Website Optimizer

  • Shows 1 of 2 versions

of a page

  • Keeps track of conversions

50% more click-thrus to the donation page
16. Online Donations
Jakob Nielson
Online Usability Researcher
Non-profits would collect much more from their websites if only they'd clearly state what they are about and how they use donations
That is: What are you trying to achieve, and how will you spend my money?
17. eNewsletters
More from Jakob Nielsen
Email newsletters are the best way to maintain customer relationships on the Internet.
Tracking eye movements
the average time allocated to a newsletter after opening it was only 51 seconds.
18. Email takes a lot of thought
Many different email reader programs
Hard to get peoples attention
19. Online is Informal
Email is all about relationships/loyalty/trust/respect/friendship
Email style should be:
Connect with readers
Have a From Name and/or signature
Write in active voice
First person
20. More from Jakon Neilson
"Reading" is not even the right word, since participants fully read only 19% of newsletters.
The predominant user behavior was scanning.
Often, users didn't even scan the entire newsletter: 35% of the time, participants only skimmed a small part of the newsletter or glanced at the content.
People were highly inclined to skip the introductory blah-blah textin newsletters.Although this text was only three lines long on average, 67% of users had zero [eye] fixations within newsletter introductions.
21. Just because
we write it,
doesnt mean
theyll read it.
22. Measuring Success and Iterating
Email statistics
Opens, clicks, forwards, unsubscribes
Web statistics
Pageviews, Visits, Visitors
Interactions: online donations, membership signups, emails & contact form submissions
Bounces, exit pages
23. Its all about empathy
Who are we talking to?
What do they care about?
Why should they listen to us?
How do they know who we are?
Is what we have to say worth their time?
Are we fulfilling their needs?
24. AnyQuestions?