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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

A year of working with different social startups and growing enterprises has highlighted one very unfortunate trend. Too many social entrepreneurs are wasting precious resource on building websites for their startups. If you're about to hand over a few thousand pounds to a designer somewhere to create you a logo or build you a few pages, STOP!! Read this first...

Here's a few key fundamentals you should grasp before we get started.
  • A Logo is NOT the same as a Brand.
    A brand is what your audience feels, thinks, and remembers about your enterprise. The logo is simply an iconic representation that should be able to adapt and change without affecting your brand. Define your brand first, then design the logo.

  • A Website is NOT just a set of Pages.
    It can be any web-space you control, which allows you to showcase what you stand for and what you do. In today's inter-connected Web 2.0 world, you must think of websites as broad linkages of organisational content on multiple platforms, in multiple conversations and in multiple contexts. Whatever 'website' you have must therefore function as a content sharer/aggregator allowing subscription (RSS) and interaction (commenting), and NOT just as pages or brochureware (HTML).

  • A Blog is NOT different from a Website.
    It is simply a type of website with rich content management features and the ability for readers to automatically subscribe to content and updates. You can easily use a blog as your organisational website with the various pages as linked articles.
That cleared up, here's the 5 STEPS you need to follow
  1. Make sure your mission is simple (memorable), clear (followable) and focused (accurate). If it's open, vague, wordy, or all-encompassing, then rewrite it.

  2. Develop your brand in a way that makes it a key strategy for achieving your mission, and NOT just as a marketing tool.

  3. Focus on creation of content worth sharing, and on categories that support your mission.

  4. Use your branding to define how you present this content in terms of tone, style and use of visuals.

  5. Use FREE blogging platforms on which to build your new 'website'. Don't spend a penny on building it. You may have to compromise a little on layout, but you gain so much in richness and flexibility for zero cost that the trade-off is a no-brainer. I recommend Blogger for your website and Ning for your community.
If this makes sense but you're still a little unclear about how to put it into practice, feel free to contact me for a chat. Drop me a line at rizwan@socialeffect.org