Check out this pretty cool roundup of “40+ Inspirational Non-Profit Website Designs“. They’re all great looking even if not all of them are non-profit (that’s Change.org). Unfortunately, while the designs are inspirational, their beauty is only skin deep. I did a very cursory inspection of these 41 websites (excluding Change.org). I checked to see if they use META description and keywords properly, had a <TITLE> tag and if they were using any tracking software like Google Analytics, Mint, Quantcast, Statcounter, GetClicky or even if they were using something .NET Web Parts for tracking. It’s a pretty sad and sorry record.
Of these 41 sites:
- 39% were using <META> keywords
- 41% were using a <META> description tag
- 66% were using tracking software
- 85% were using a <TITLE> tag
- average Pagerank was 4.6 but the median was 4
This is frankly, quite unbelievable to me. The <TITLE> tag has been with the Web since its inception and compliance with using this tag should be in the upper 90% range. Most designers know that <TITLE> and <META> tags are de rigeur for web design. It should be a set of givens that complete any web design. My guess is that if you’re not going to bother to use <META> or <TITLE> tags, you’re most probably not going to submit an automatically generated sitemap to Google every time you add content. And if you don’t do all those things, your Google PageRank will be low unless you’re in the news a lot or have linking arrangements with other nonprofits in your area. This will also blunt the effect of your nice new design in terms of attracting more people to your site.
The combined neglect of these simple technical fixes result in a low median PageRank score of 4 for these pretty sites. For comparison, the Google PageRank for this blog is a 6. Those of you who follow NTEN should be happy to know NTEN has a Pagerank of 8 which befits its status in the nonprofit technology community. This means the traffic these sites are getting are lower than they ought to be. All that money spent on design but nothing on the basics. Tsk tsk.
So about that top 5 list:
- Your site should have keywords.
- Your site should have a description tag.
- Your site should use a <TITLE> tag.
- You should use tracking software.
- Your Pagerank should be higher than a 4.
Here’s a quick screencast I made (go here for the page that’s in the screencast) so that you know your site is compliant with the first three things on the list. As for tracking software, just ask your designer to at least install Google Analytics and make sure you have a user name and password to get into the account and see the reports.
To find your PageRank, go to this PageRank Lookup site. Enter your site’s URL into the box, fill out the Captcha and it will return your site’s PageRank.