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I had an opportunity to attend an engaging discussion on building action-oriented websites with Sam Graham-Felsen, President Barack Obama's chief campaign blogger, and the smart team at Cerrell Associates.
The discussion was excellent. Sam offers a friendly and grounded perspective on building websites that you only get from having hands-on experience running a high-profile, successful and popular website, like barackobama.com.
Here are the major tips I took away from the discussion. The tips are great advice for anyone building a website.
1. Think like Apple: Eliminate any unnecessary stuff on the website.
2. It's not about you. It's about them. Make your website about the visitor.
3. Be clear about what differentiates your firm, brand, organization. Make this difference very clear.
4. Be clear about what action(s) you want a visitor to take. Contact you? Make a donation. Whatever these actions are, focus, focus, focus on them.
5. Think of your website as a funnel, where you try to get people to the bottom of the funnell to take an action, such as contacting you. Continue to simplify the process to make it as easy as possible to take that action.
6. These are the elements of a good action-oriented website:
- Signup form
- Clear statement of purpose
- Clear donate button
- Simple action asks (What you ask the visitor to do.)
- Main news feature
- Connection to other social media communities
7. Make sure the visual design is consistent across all company or campaign materials.
8. Use the same web address all the time. Mention the web address in public as much as possible. When Obama would do this, traffic to the website would spike up tremendously.
9. If you are going to have a blog, post as least weekly. If you don't have the resources to do this don't call it a blog.
10. If you have an organizational blog or social media strategy, assign at least one person to be the owner of the strategy to make sure your social media efforts are consistent and coordinated.