Can I share a vulnerability with you?
I’m easily influenced by numbers and stats that don’t really matter.
Things like website views, Twitter followers, or Facebook likes.
These are frequently referred to “Vanity Metrics.” They sure look pretty on the outside, but they’re surface level numbers. They don’t necessarily measure what actually matters.
It’s easy to fall into this trap. Vanity metrics are fun! Who doesn’t want lots of people on their website? How could that possibly be a bad thing?
Close your eyes and think about your living room.
Think about your TV. Think about the furniture around your TV.
Do you have a shelf full of DVD’s and Blu-ray discs? Probably movies that you saw once in theaters, loved, then decided you needed to own?
God, I hope it’s not just me…
Actually, I know it’s not just me. Whenever I visit a friend’s apartment, I see the same set up. Shelves full of movies.
But here’s the thing:
Do you ever actually watch them?
Oh sure, there’s one on the shelf that gets a lot of playtime (it’s Stepbrothers, okay? Don’t judge me.) But other than that, they collect a lot of dust.
Same goes for all the books on my shelves. I read them, enjoyed them, and can’t bear to part with them. But how often do I ever re-read them?
Now my Netflix account, on the other hand, gets more airtime than a Donald Trump rally, and the magazine, blogs, and other periodicals I read get my attention on a regular basis.
So what gives?
What gives is this: I don’t reread books or re-watch movies because I already know what’s there. I’ve seen it. I know it. There’s nothing new.
But I tune into shows and read magazine because there’s always something new. Something I haven’t seen that I might enjoy.
So it is with your nonprofit’s website.
Whenever anyone downloads our nonprofit website guide, they get an email from me asking what their biggest wish is for their organization’s website.
It’s fun to see what different organizations are working on, plus it’s a great way to keep a pulse on what’s weighing heavy on nonprofit workers when it comes to their digital fundraising.
And yes, I really do read and reply to all of ‘em!
A recurring theme among the responses goes something like this:
“I wish we had more traffic on our website!”
Not exactly surprising, right? Anyone who’s ever run any kind of website will tell you that they’d love more visitors. Visibility can be a very good thing. If you build up an audience, properly nurture them, then tell them an engaging story, digital fundraising can be a consistent revenue channel for nonprofits.
It’s not the end-all, be-all by any means. Having an audience is far different than having the right audience. But the right audience can be a very powerful force for change.
So if your goal is to increase traffic, who better to learn from than the 10 most visited nonprofit websites in the country?