How to build your Website
Creating your WebsiteClick to read
How do you think you’re going to grab the attention of stakeholders, customers or sponsors? Having a great and innovative service is a start, but you need to have them notice you first. Remember, colors, typeface, logo and website of your social farming NGO say who you are and what you stand for.
Websites are nothing more than tools and it is up to you to make them useful. The content and structure of your website must be based on three basic criteria: usability, user-friendliness and accessibility. Your website must reflect your brand image, and your should use good photos and videos of your daily life activities instead of stock photos in order to convey a more reliable message. Photos have to be nice and appealing, if not they will rest value to your online image.
First of all you need to define clearly your services/products, messages and targets.
Don’t forget that there are different types of public for your NGO: beneficiaries, sponsors, institutional audiences and general public, and your website will have to address all different kind of public without loosing their attention.
Before you start with your website, make sure you have defined its structure, contents, menus and functionalities, and ask yourself why are you creating a website and what are its functions, who is your target, and what are your mission, vision, goals and messages.
Contact details (email, phone numbers/whatsapp, fax, address, skype, facebook, youtube, etc.) and navigating menus, must be easily accessible and don’t forget that you will loose your user if it takes him/her more that 3 clicks to get to the information.
Make sure that your website is constantly updated and lively, otherwise people will think that you are not really “active”.
Content is fundamental for any website and for its positioning. All the information you include in your site must be coherent with your mission and values as a brand.
Think about your targets and make content appealing and interesting to them, every piece of information must be useful and relevant to the target audience. Don’t forget about your goals and include different types of contents according to your different purposes.
To add new and valid digital content to your website, it is useful to include a news & agenda section where you can upload news about your activities and services
Creating a website is pointless if nobody sees it. You need to position it and you can use the following tips to improve your SEO (search engine optimization):
Metatags: Metatags are located in the HTML source code of a web page and they are used to provide general positioning information about our website. Such information is used by search engines, portals, directories to list your website.
Image metadata: Make sure you make the most of any positioning opportunity by using < alt > or < title > tags to include/reinforce keywords.
Internal Linking: To ensure that your website gets fully indexed make sure that the spiders have an easy path through your website. Text links are the best choice as the anchor text (the actual words used to link to a specific page). You can also create a sitemap to internal pages and link it from your homepage to increase indexing.
Site Structure: As we said it is extremely important to define website structure properly according to our target needs, but we also have to take into consideration search engines need. You must "think like a search engine spider". Spider or Bots read your web page like you would read a book using text links and digital contents. Therefore it is extremely important that your site is spider adapted and that no broken links or flash are used for relevant digital contents.
Appropriate Keywords: It is one of the most important step of the process as if you don’t do it properly it will give you traffic that is not relevant for you. Keyword density or frequency should be around 2-6% of total text, but if you just keep your texts natural and readable you will be ok. Make sure your keywords are not too technical and they include those terms that your target user would use to find your services.
Optimization: Once you have your keywords, your contents and your site structure you should optimize your site. Put your keywords in the content as much as you can while keeping it readable to a human visitor.
There are a lot of programs (such as Artisteer, Dreamweaver) and platforms (such as Wordpress, Wix, Sitebuilder.com) that you can use to create your own website and there is a wide range of free templates available online.
Here is a short guide to install Wordpress:
1: Download WordPress: Download and unzip the WordPress package from http://wordpress.org/download/.
2: Upload WordPress to Hosting Account via FTP.
3: Run the Installation: Open a new browser window and go to the installation page to run the installation script. Depending on where you installed the script, you will find it at either of the following URLs:
You should now see a welcome page of WordPress installation process.
4:Create WP tables in your Database by entering the database name, user name, password, database hosts, tables_prefix (you can leave wp_) and click Submit.
5: Complete the Installation: Fill in the fields in the installation page:
Password (needs to be entered twice)
Email address (use a valid email as login information will be sent to this email address)
Select that you want to have the search engines indexing the site
Click on Install Now, and you should be taken to the final screen, showing the following message: Success! WordPress has been installed. And your website is ready for you to customize it. Enjoy!
How to manage Social Media
Social Media managementClick to read
Nowadays it is extremely important for your social farming activity to use effectively social media in order to interact with beneficiaries, sponsors, institutions, receive feedback and gain priceless insights.
Make sure you promote content and brand information on each of your social media networks to expand your brand’s reach and add scale to campaigns. The information you share on each social network should be unique and target-oriented to give your followers a reason to follow you on more than one network.
Use photos and multimedia. Photos, infographics and videos are ideal for social networks as they attract users and they are worth more than a thousand words! But make sure you accompany any graphics with a relevant short description using significant keywords in order to position your contents.
You can start by creating a free account on the most relevant social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn if relevant.
Using social media will allow you to grow and reach more beneficiaries. If implemented correctly, promoting via social media can bring remarkable success to your NGO.
Make sure you have a clear strategy: Who are your beneficiaries, sponsors, targets and stakeholders? Which social media do they use? What information do they look for? Connect with all your targets by creating social networking profiles on different channels. Define your services and messages accordingly and of course set your goal: Do you want to get new sponsors? Are you informing your beneficiaries? Do you want to attract general public? Do you want to get new subscribers to inform them about new events or crow-funding actions? Different goals require different approaches and channels.
Plan your social media action. Before you get started using social media, list the main actions / milestones you hope to achieve in the first months / year (subscribers, beneficiaries, sponsors, website traffic numbers, friend / followers, etc.) Make sure you constantly evaluate your milestones.
Use the one-in-seven rule: The rule is: one every seven posts can be self-advertising. The remaining six should be centred on sharing valuable content. Consider keyword research and brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience and serve your goal.
Provide value: While including posts that are fun is a good choice, it is important that you make sure that your posts reflect your brand image and that they are meaningful for your target audience. You need to build a community within the social network so that user will keep following your posts.
Share news about your NGO and values: Via Social networking you can keep your beneficiaries informed about your agenda, new events or services and about those lifestyles that you are promoting with your activity.
Sign up existing users: When people visit your website request their social media accounts and email addresses to send them exclusive information and interesting notifications. Include action buttons (for example, “Like this page”, “Sign up” and “learn more”) in your website.
Encourage feedback: Don’t be scared of asking people what they think about you. You might discover that they have a great opinion and therefore you want them to tell it out laud. Even negative feedbacks are positive as they allow you to tailor your services to your beneficiaries/sponsors’ needs. If similar feedbacks come up regularly, see if you can improve your processes and if this is not possible, add an FAQ section to your website to answer regular queries.
External links/links to your website. External linking form social media is also great as you can provide valuable information that your target audience will enjoy. Linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return.
Make sure you are always consistent with your Brand Image, mission, values and goals. Using social media enables you to project and spread your brand image/mission/values and goals across a variety of different social media platforms. Stay consistent.
Managing all of your social media accounts is challenging, but you may use apps like Buffer and Hootsuite that can help you handle your social media accounts. But careful!. If you make a mistake using these apps it will be instantly multiplied on all channels, whereas if you manage each channel separately you can avoid amplifying effects!
Find new contacts/followers and friends by creating synergies. Include among your contacts those institutions, business, sponsors, NGOs that are directed to your target, therefore when you publish something on their walls new potential beneficiaries will see it.
Make your tweets memorable. Twitter is a little bit tricky in this sense, your post have a very short lifetime in twitter as tons of information is published quite rapidly on this channel, therefore if you don't want to loose your posts on the Twitter stream, make sure to include an image, related link or an emoji to make your messages stand out from the river of tweets.
Consider using LinkedIn, even if your targets are not directly related to the professional word. You might discover that interesting connections can come from this network, especially in terms of sponsorships, joint-ventures or providers. Increase the contacts in your network by browsing your contacts’ connections. Adding new contacts expose you to a wider range of people through their friends and business partners.
Create a Pinterest board or an Instagram profile. Make sure you publish eye-catching photos of your social farming products, farming techniques or events to attract your target and make yourself renown. Encourage your followers/users to share and amplify your online presence.
Cloud solutions for Social Farming
Cloud managementClick to read
Cloud storage is a data storage service in which the digital data are virtually stored in logical pools. Nowadays sharing on the net is vital and eventually your data is going to end up in the cloud at some point, so you better know how it works to collaborate more efficiently with colleagues, improve your security, discover new opportunities and ensure that you stay competitive. You can share link to folders with photos, videos, documents, etc. You can use it as a common workplace for a group of people giving them access to create and edit files within a designated folder.
Here is a list of valuable cloud solutions that you can use in your daily life activities.
Google Drive. Google Drive is a simple and intuitive file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. It is directly connected to Google Docs to create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentation and much more. In Google Drive you have 15 GB of free space.
Apart from Google Drive there are other cloud based services such as:
Dropbox. Dropbox is a multiplatform file hosting service in the cloud, operated by the Dropbox company. It allows users to store and synchronize files online and between computers and share files and folders with other users and tablets or smartphones. https://www.dropbox.com/
WeTransfer. It is a cloud-based service that allows transferring files simply indicating the recipient's email address. You don’t have to create and account, that is why it is one of the easiest way to share file using cloud services. It offers unlimited uploads as well as the possibility of sharing files of up to 2 GB in size. Don’t forget that files are kept on the server for up to 7 days and then they are removed automatically. No encryption or password is used.
OneDrive. OneDrive is a Microsoft service that lets you easily backup, store and share photos, videos, documents, and more – anywhere, on any device. All You need is a Microsoft account and license to use safely this service. https://account.microsoft.com/ACCOUNT/ONEDRIVE
MEGA. MEGA is a cloud storage and file hosting service offered primarily through web-based apps. Mega mobile apps are also available for Windows Phone, Android and iOS. https://mega.nz
Mediafire. It is a simple and free service that lets you put all your photos, documents, music, and video in a single place so you can access them anywhere and share them everywhere. It requires registration. It is free, but it has a Pro version.
ICT tools for daily management
Tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM)Click to read
Helprace: It integrates multiple tools for great customer service: Tickets, Email Management, Customer Community, Feedback, Docs & Knowledge Base. Free trial available.
SugarCRM has a free, unsupported version of a comprehensive CRM product that I
includes sales force automation, marketing campaigns and customer support.
You also have some affordable solutions like Zoho CRM (https://www.zoho.com/) or Sublime CRM (http://www.sublimecrm.com/ ) which will help you manage your NGO giving you full control over all routine processes and making best use of time and resources.
Tools for Project ManagementClick to read
Asana: Free Online Project Management tool to manage your team work. There is a free version with basic functions.
Evernote: Free Note Taking, Organizing and Archiving App that keeps your notes organized.
Appointlet: Online Appointment Scheduling software with free trial available. It will help you keep track of your appointments and possible sales.
Doodle: Doodle is an online calendar tool for time management and meetings scheduling. No registration is required.
Google keep is a note-taking service developed by Google. Allows you to synchronise across devices.
Skype provides online instant text messages services and video chat facilities.
UberConference: It is a free Conference Calls software.
Hellofax.com: it is a free app to send faxes. You can also receive faxes but it is not free.
Mindmapping.com helps you creating mind maps to better manage Project work flow.
Tools for Resource ManagementClick to read
Zenefits: It is a human resource management software with a free demo available.
Odoo: A full suite of applications for enterprise resources planning, including sales management, accounting, finance, recruitment, purchase management and manufacturing resource management.
Tools for Document ManagementClick to read
Open Office: It is an open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.
Google Docs: Free Document Management and File Storage. You can create a new document and edit it with others at the same time.
Tools for Online MarketingClick to read
HootSuite: It is a free Social Media Management tool which simultaneously publish your posts in all your social media at once.
Canva: It is a free online Graphic Design software to Create beautiful designs and share them with your team. It works online, you just need to create an account.
Google Trends: It is a free and online Search Engine Analysis tool that allows the user to see how often specific keywords, subjects and phrases have been queried over a specific period of time.
SEOProfiler: It is a web application for SEO monitoring that helps you to get higher rankings on Google and other search engines
Google Analytics: It a free website analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
Survey Monkey: It is a free online survey software that helps you to create and run professional online surveys.
JotForm: It is a free online form builder which allows you to create online forms without using coding.
Freelogoservices.com: It is a website that can be used to create high-quality logos, which are free in low-resolutions.
WordPress: As we have seen, it is a free Content Management System that helps you to create your own website.
MailChimp: A marketing automation platform and email marketing service. It serves to create newsletters and email campaigns.
Tools for EcommerceClick to read
OpenCart: It is an online resource shopping cart solution which helps you in selling online.
PrestaShop: Easy-to-use platform to build your online store for free.
Tools for General managementClick to read
Mozilla Thunderbird: It is a free email, news, RSS feed, and chat client software
Gmail: It is a free, advertising-supported email service developed by Google
Vistaprint: It is an online low cost Business Card printing/stationery website.
HYFY: It is a free screen recorder software, perfect to record tutorials. https://www.hyfy.io/
Hunter: It is a free Email Address Finder software that helps you to extract emails form any text. https://hunter.io/
Square: It is a free Credit Card Reader app for smartphones https://squareup.com/global/en/pos
Social Farming, software, ict skills
In this course, we will introduce some basic ICT skills for Social farming and we will learn how to build a website and how to manage social media. We will provide some insight about cloud storage and finally we will present some interesting tools to boost social farming activity and profitability.
• Learn how to build your own website • Learn how to manage your social media networks • Discover some interesting cloud solutions • Learn more about ICT tools for managing your social farming activity