Websites – the 'meat and two veg' on your digital communications menu

With the popularity of social media, and the potential of apps, is the age of the website on the wane? I believe a useful, resource-rich website is still a good foundation from which social media and apps can hang off, and point towards.

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A hearty website meal

Full of rich digital nutrients!

Social media 'seasoning' – tasty and alluring but fleeting and resource intensive

For Not for profit (NFP) organisations the use of social media is alluring, with the promise of large amounts of followers and high engagement. If well resourced, this can happen, however often there is little or no resources for the development of digital communications. The activity is ad hoc and dependent on the enthusiasm and expertise of staff and volunteers, instead of part of a wider and well-resourced digital communications strategy.

Apps 'entrees and desserts' – effective single-purpose tools

In my travels around the NFP sector I'm seeing the development and use of apps is growing in New Zealand. Some focus in – eg, to improve internal communication, others focus out – eg, to promote best practice in the sector. Overseas there is a trend towards using apps for fundraising.

Apps can be useful tools however they are more effective if they have a clear and simple focus. Screen size (apps are more popular on smart phones) and attention span (the fact that people are task focused and impatient) are two reasons for this.

Websites 'the main' – substantial and sustaining 

So it's down to the good old website to house a larger variety of information and tools that make up a nutritious and filling digital communications meal. It's the 'one' in the one-to-many relationship, the home base, the anchor for your digital content. 

To all those digital communications chefs out there, resource your kitchen well and take the time to develop delicious flavours and interesting combinations to satisfy your audience's hunger for useful content. And ensure people are able to digest the content in bite-size chunks (with a design that is 'responsive') as well as more in-depth servings.

Related information

How apps and tech are transforming the way charities raise money (www.guardian.com)