One of the most common mistakes I see little non-profits make is thinking of their website as an extension of their newsletter. Once a month or so, maybe once a quarter, however often the newsletter comes out, they will update their website with copies of the same articles that are going out in the mail.

It’s an understandable mistake. It’s tempting to think of reading a screen the way you read the paper.

But a website isn’t paper. A website is about making connections. Sure, you have news. But if the news is a month old or three months old, it’s not news. It’s olds. Historians may take note, but your website will be history for the vast majority of people who stumble upon it. If I come back to your site next week, or even the day after tomorrow, and find exactly the same stuff that was on it last week, I probably won’t come back again.

On the web, interaction is dynamic and future-focused. So…

  • Instead of telling me what happened last week, tell me what’s happening next week.
  • Instead of telling me that I should care, tell me a compelling story that helps me realize why I already do care.
  • Instead of telling me what you’re doing, tell me what I can do.

Don’t make me read, entice me to interact.

Remember, you’re not publishing a newspaper, you’re striking up a conversation.