Introducing: Think. Do. Share.

What do Benjamin Franklin, Lebron James, and David Letterman have in common? They all believe the best method of learning is through experience.

Taking the advice of the wildly brilliant and, well, experiencing it for ourselves (you see what I did there?!), we thought it would be a worthy cause to interview our professional network and beyond to share the experiences that have shaped and driven their professional growth. We often found ourselves in a position where we’d meet someone and walk away wondering- how did they get to such an interesting place in life or gaining a new perspective that resonated with us. So, we took a little initiative…

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce Decantery’s Think. Do. Share. campaign.

This will be an ongoing collection of casual interviews with the motive of sharing the best kind of “knowledge sharing” – experiential.

If you or someone you know would be interested in contributing to our series please contact us today! We’re looking for those who can speak to their experience in technology, digital, design, and thought leadership. Have an interesting topic that’s not listed? Pitch it anyways – we’re always welcome new ideas!

AdWords for Nonprofits: Setting Up Google Grants & Tips

If you’re a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status, then you should have a Google Grants Account. If you don’t, you are missing out on $10,000.00 IN MONTHLY FREE AD SPEND! You know Google, the search engine that processes 5.5 billion searches per day?! You can easily bet there are searches happening that are related to your non-profit and it’d be a shame to not be appear for those searches FOR FREE.

If you’re not familiar with Paid Search, it’s paying to appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Say someone is searching for charities to give money to. Their first step is to do a little research:

google nonprofit search query

Your organization would then appear in the Paid Listings for generous donors to find you!

nonprofit google search results

Keep reading. We’ll take you through the steps to get there and start advancing your organization’s mission.

Google Grants Program Qualifications

In addition to being a 501(c)(3), you must fulfill these 2 eligibility requirements:

  1. Must be currently registered with TechSoup
  2. Formed for charitable, educational, religious, literary, scientific, or other tax-exempt purposes
  3. You must own your website- So no sites created through third parties like Blogger or social media pages such as Facebook.

How to Create a Google Grants Account

If you meet the eligibility requirements here are the steps to secure your Google Grants account:

  • Create your account here and review these steps to see what to expect for next. Be sure to NOT enter your billing information when creating the account, otherwise you end up paying for your ad spend.
  • You will see the option to create an AdWords Express campaign. I only recommend this option if you have absolutely no time or resources to manually set up an Ad Grants account. It is exponentially more beneficial for you create your own campaign because you will have full control over what searches your ads appear against.

Google Grants Program Parameters

Once you have your account, it’s important to understand the limitations of the program and what you need to do to keep your Grants status:

  • Your ads will only appear on Google.com
  • Your ads can only be text and you can only target keywords (AKA no Display ads)
  • There is a $2 max bid, so don’t enter CPCs higher than that amount
  • You are allotted a daily budget of $329. Don’t miss out on free money, make sure your daily budget totals are not set to anything less
  • If you’re an organization with multiple websites, only the domain that was reviewed/approved by Google can be advertised. However, if that is problematic for you, there are certain exceptions you can request, more information on that here.
  • Ad Grants accounts must appear as though they are being managed, so an account must be logged into at least monthly and have one or more changes implemented every 90 days. If you don’t display active management, Google will turn off your account and you’ll have to request to be reinstated.

Congratulations, you’ve made it this far! Now it’s time for the real work, constructing your nonprofit’s Paid Search campaign.

Tips for Setting Up Your Grants Campaign

When it comes to preparing to launch your campaign, here are a few do’s and don’ts

Do robust keyword research.

  • Utilized the AdWords Keyword Planner ->Find New Keywords tool to expand the keywords you think you want to target.
  • Once you’ve generated a keyword list that encompasses all facets of your organization, use the Keyword Planner -> Plan Your Budget tool to generate keyword estimates. Keywords with high CPCs should be set aside.
    • Since the Grants program doesn’t allow a bid over $2, you won’t be able to achieve visibility on high CPC keywords. If you feel those terms are crucial, go ahead and test, but remember to pause those that the system isn’t serving due to low bid to preserve Quality Score (you should have this notification by 48 hrs. post-launch).

Do make sure you’re spending your FULL $10K in FREE ad spend.

  • If you are not hitting your full monthly capacity it’s time to revisit your keyword list
  • Make sure your keywords are targeting more than just 1 aspect of your organization. Examples of keyword categories to consider adding:
    • Donation
    • Volunteers
    • Promotion of special events
    • Searches your cause may enter (low income childcare, activities for adults with autism)

Don’t geotarget locations you can’t service

  • If your organization only helps the state of Missouri, National targeting is an incorrect geo-setting.
  • Not only is it a disservice to your audience, it’s a waste of your ad spend that could be better spent furthering your mission.
  • Also, don’t target too deeply as IP address can differ between users due to their Internet Service Provider. So rather than targeting zip codes, you have a safer bet targeting cities. If you service a city, consider targeting surrounding cities as well or the DMA.

Don’t serve the same ad copy across all ad groups.

  • The predecessor to this tip is: don’t put all your keywords in the same ad group as well. We group keywords by theme so segmented messaging can be served. Think about it this way- the ad you want to appear when someone is searching a donation query (“donate wildlife preserve MO”) is going to differ wildly from searches directed at your nonprofits program (“kids summer nature program”).
  • Also, test more than 1 variation of ad copy. Best practices are to rotate 3-4 ads per ad group. AdWords’ ad rotation default setting will serve better performing ads more often.

Don’t drive all traffic to the homepage.

  • To position yourself up for the best response from your visitors and the highest Quality Score possible from AdWords, make sure the landing page assigned to your keyword is pulled from the most relevant option on your site. If that page doesn’t exist, make a note of it because that’s the next page you need to create.
  • A good rule of thumb to follow is, all your keywords should drive to the same landing page of the ad group they reside in.
  • Building out your website pages for specific keywords will not only benefit your Paid Search efforts, but your SEO as well. Search engines like seeing new, content-rich pages added to your site.

There you have it! Now you’re on your way to generate awareness, participation, and most importantly, donations to help your cause. Don’t be intimidated by the unfamiliar interface. If you run into something you don’t understand, Google has free help resources that can help you get back on track.

Why You Should Consider Using WordPress as Your CMS

There’s a number of reasons why WordPress is an ideal CMS, but there’s some misconceptions out there as to why an organization should use WordPress instead of a hard-coded website. So, we’re going to take you through all the truths and falsehoods so you can understand why WordPress is the right choice.

5 Common WordPress Misbeliefs & Why WordPress is an Ideal CMS

False: WordPress is limited to pre existing designs.
Truth: We do select a theme to theme to kickoff development, however, there’s so much customization performed that your site will not be a cookie cutter of another using the same theme.

There are thousands of themes to select from and just about every aspect of your theme is customizable. What’s more, when selecting a theme, you can check out reviews of current and past users so you can feel confident in your decision. Your theme is simply a starting point. Once the creative specs (logo, fonts, color pallet, etc.) and content is added, your theme will become uniquely you.

False: WordPress can only accomplish a limited spectrum of tasks because the code on the side isn’t individually crafted.
Truth: You can have just as much site flexibility and at a lower price, by using WordPress.

WordPress is built using common programming languages that have been extensively used and tested. And when I say extensively, I mean it. WordPress’s community consists of highly skilled and dedicated coders, testers, and contributors. Updates, fixes and improvements are implemented regularly across themes. WordPress also has over forty thousand plugins available that can automate things faster (and cheaper!) than hiring a manual coder. This means you get a reliable site that has been tested and refined within a faster turnaround time than you would if you hired someone to hard code your website.

False: WordPress is meant for small businesses.
Truth: WordPress is used by all, big and small. 

Examples of large companies that use WordPress are The Walt Disney Company, Sony Music, TechCrunch, Explore St. Louis, and IZOD. WordPress powers about 1 in 4 websites. In fact, WordPress has persisted the fastest-growing CMS for the seventh year straight! While the big dogs with deep pockets may use WordPress, so can a small business on a shoestring budget. WordPress isn’t exclusive to the affluent and has more flexibility than a hard-coded site. Your WordPress site will grow with you as you successfully blast off.

False: WordPress cost as much as a hard-coded website
Truth: WordPress is much cheaper than custom development

No matter how you look at it, WordPress will always be much more affordable than custom development. During the creation of your site, thanks to the pre-built framework and available plugins, much of the coding is already completed. When your site is completed, the backend is user-friendly, so simple updates can be made yourself instead of paying the agency a fee every time you want to make simple changes. And after you’ve had your site for some time and want to make growth adjustments, thanks to the WordPress contributors, your theme has the flexibility to change, whereas a completely new site would have to be made if it was custom coded.

False: WordPress isn’t secure
Truth: WordPress is obsessed with security

The WordPress Security Team is made up of 25 experts, half of which are internal and the other half in security fields. WordPress also collaborates with competitor security teams to address shared concerns. They practice Responsible Disclosure to expedite security vulnerabilities and push out automated security enhancements without the site owner needing to do anything- the security update will install automatically. And leader of all WordPress security measures is their Security Czar, Aaron Campbell. Not only does he have a cool title, his experience in the online security space is top-notch.

Have any questions or interested in launching your own WordPress website? Contact us today to discuss the vision of your online presence! We’re exclusive WordPress developers that will make sure you’re set up for success with responsive web design, user-friendly navigation, and conversion optimization best practices in place.