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google_grantsYou may not have heard of it, but Google Ad Grants is the non-profit edition of AdWords, Google’s online advertising tool. As part of its nonprofit programme, Google gives eligible charities $10,000 (£5,800) a month to spend on AdWords, Google’s pay-per-click advertising system. Not only that, if you spend at least $9,500 (£5,545) in two months of the previous 12 and fulfil other criteria, you can also apply for Grantspro. If approved,  Google will give your charity $40,000 a month to spend. That’s a whopping $480,000 (£280,000) a year.

Dan Cobley, Managing Director, Google UK says: “Through Google for Nonprofits, we want to support the incredible work of charitable organisations in the UK by eliminating some of the technical challenges and costs that they face. We hope our technology will help them to reach more donors, improve operations and raise awareness so they can focus on changing the world for the better.”

Get found quicker on Google by applying for your Google Grant today.  All charities registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales are eligible.

#FundraisingFortnight

Personally, I would say yes!.

Let’s start by explaining some things.

Back in the day we accessed the internet via a desktop computer, or maybe a laptop, screen sizes and computer speeds were pretty low, slow and inconsistent. But at least we knew roughly a few things about our potential visitors.

They would probably be viewing our sites either at 800×600 or 1024×768 (and there are some here who actually remember 640×480!), or as screen sizes increased and TFTs became common place, most users began to view our sites using 1280×1024 screens, this was fine. I could design my site to fit.

Now, things have moved on, once a mobile site would and could only be simple text, maybe a little colour and a couple of tiny pixelated images. Now mobile is here, tablets, netbooks and other strange net connected devices are cropping up. So where does that put me when designing a new site?

Now we  have to cater for a whole range of devices. Previously there was no choice in the matter, M.website.com or www.website.com. One pretty basic site and another rigid one.

We’re talking websites here, so if you’re wondering about when to make a mobile site or app, you’ll have to come back for that.

This is where Responsive Web Design comes in. Instead of developing a website specifically for one screen size, we can now detect the browser/device/tablet/phones viewable space, and adapt the design to fit.

Take a look at our new site built in this manner.

On my beloved 27″ iMac, instead of seeing a postage stamp, I see it in its full glory, then on my mobile I get the full experience, just nicely folded down.

Same site, same code. But with a little thinking it scales up and down gracefully.

Should we?

So, when you are next developing your website, think about the bigger picture, as well as the smaller one. If you have no need or the budget for a native app, I would say build a responsive site.Check out this website, pop in the address for your site,  or ours :) and see how it renders at different sizes http://www.studiopress.com/responsive/

Just been having a look around some of our friends sites and I am still surprised at how many don’t get the basics right when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO).

I think the trouble is most people think that SEO is hard and takes a lot of work. Well, it can be time consuming if you want to go the whole hog, but basic SEO is fairly simple. Don’t think of it as just getting up the rankings on Google, think of it as a service to those who want to see what you have to say. What you are trying to do is make it easy for them to find you and decide to pay you a visit – that second element is the oft forgotten part of the process.
So what can you do that doesn’t take huge amounts of time? Here’s 4 things you can do:

1. Treat every page as a landing page: When you think about it what is the liklihood of a saerch result returning your homepage? If someone searches for your organisation by name, then probably your home page is what they are looking for. But if the are searching for some information (say a play or a ballet or some artefact or other), then the chances are that information is not on your home page – it is going to be deeper into your site. So you need to think of the best way to let people find that page – so treat it as if it is its own home page.

2. Give every page a unique title: You’d be surprised how many websites have the same title for each page – this is not good, although it is easy. Not only important in SEO terms but it is the page title shown in a Google search result. By the way, Google uses the first 69 characters so make them count: it is your way to grab the readers’ attention. more on page titles…

3. Give every page a description:  Another metatag that is often missed is the description. This gives you a chance to say what the page is about in a succint way. Google uses the first 156 characters in their search results, so it is this which will bring people to your site – no point of appearing high up the lists if they don’t click through. more on descriptions…

4. Give your pages real names: there are differing views on the importance of this in the SEO world, but I think it is good practice and a great help to your visitors. Even outside of search it is much easier to refer someone to a pagename that describes the content than a random stream of numbers and letter. more on page names…

For more SEO ideas take a look at Masque Arts Search Engine Optimisation.