Find here a few basic tips to increase the visibility of your NG0’s blog articles and other publications. Forget what you were taught in literature class: writing for the internet obeys specific rules!
Nowadays, a vast majority of NGOs count with an active presence on internet, whether through a website, a blog or social networks. However, many of us have jumped into this activity before learning how to manage it, convinced that years of writing reports, proposals, manuals and research were enough.
But we soon got hit by the internet reality: our blog doesn’t get much readership; we don’t appear in search engine results despite all our efforts, almost nobody is sharing our articles… What a disaster!
No panic, anything can be learnt, and even if learning how to write for the internet and increasing our website and positioning takes time, here are a few basic tips to start with:
- Keep it short. For sure, your NGO has a lot of interesting things to say, but it is unlikely a never-ending blog entry is the best way to share them. Remember people tend to skim through content on internet, and to only read carefully if something really caught their interest.
Our advice: Write short articles (700 to 750 words max) and give the reader the option to go further by providing a link to an article or report available on your website, to a longer document downloadable in pdf.
- Use key words. Imagine the words you would use in a search engine (yes, there is more than Google out there, check out the ones supporting good causes!) to find this article and use these words several times in order to improve your positioning.
Our advice: using key words is a good idea, but moderately. Don’t exaggerate and keep your writing style natural, or nobody will read your text.
- The best at the beginning: The classical structure we learnt in school: introduction, argumentation and conclusion, doesn’t work here. The internet reader is fast and impatient. It’s better to introduce the key ideas at the beginning, leaving the less significant content for the end.
Our advice: A good title and a good introduction are key to attract the reader’s attention. Work hard on them!
- Quote, and you will be quoted. Including links to other pages is a good idea; it should lead others to quote you in return. This practice improves referral. It is obviously also positive to include links to other pages from your website, to your blog articles or to your social networks.
Our advice: Take into account that your reader, when following links, will be diverted from your article and that you take the risk of losing them. For this reason, it is usually preferable to keep external links for the end of your article.
Typographical syntax, or a few other things to take into account:
- Avoid CAPITAL LETTERS. Everyone says that on line, they are equivalent to shouting. You don’t want your readers to think you are yelling at them, do you? If you want something to stand out, write it in bold.
- Use « anchors ». As we were saying, we often skim through when reading on internet. Use keywords in bold that will serve as a reference to readers: this way you will avoid losing them.
- Make short sentences and paragraphs. Break up the text.
- Text in italics can look nice, but can also be difficult to read on screens depending on the typeface you chose. Test before publishing!
- Lists and numbered paragraphs usually work well, because they are easy to read and to follow.
What about you, what tips do you use? Good luck, and let us know how you are doing!