Protect This House - Your Website Is Your Online Real Estate

Josh Friedrich

January 22, 2024

Your website is your online real estate. It's where you control the image and branding of your organization. It is your fingerprint on the internet.

Almost all brands use social media and other outlets to share content. But ultimately, what are they trying to do? They are trying to get you to their website, where you can read their story, buy something, or use their contact system to generate a lead.

For example, "Online Store A" posts about a sale on Facebook. They give you just enough information to entice you to click on a link, which drives you to their website. Their website gives you a well-written story about their product. That story helps motivate buyers to add the product to a digital shopping cart and make a purchase. Or, "Organization B" has an initiative they seek support for. They use social media and get you to click on a link to go to their website. The website gives the audience more information that hopefully leads to action, including donations, signing a petition, joining a mailing list, etc.

Why are these click-throughs to a website so valuable?

Because on your website – you control the narrative. The audience comes into your online house. You own what rooms they have access to and what actions they can take.

Social media is undoubtedly essential. But we DO NOT control anything on social media.

We should look at social media as a set of tools. And with a coordinated strategy, we can use those tools to get audiences to read your posts and hopefully be compelled to go to your website. But unfortunately, social media is an away game. With a website, you have a home field advantage. It's your house.

So how do we build this home field advantage?

Every house needs at least a strong foundation, four walls, and a roof. You want it to have curb appeal, so people will feel compelled to come in when invited, so you decorate the inside to suit your style and make your guests comfortable.

Your website is no different. The foundation? That's the purpose of your website. Education, political action, community service, etc.

The walls and roof are the structure of the website. The tech behind it. The ease of navigating it.

We "decorate" the inside with a layout of content that best supports your mission. For example, well-written content with engaging images creates an inviting atmosphere for people to stay and click around. Sometimes, we're building a dramatic atmosphere to help motivate a call to action. Occasionally, we're just making a simple place for people to find basic information. But either way, we want a logical and pleasant layout that helps keep audiences there and engaged.

And once you have the basics built out, you might find you want to add an addition. Maybe you've started a PAC. Perhaps you have a charity.

Maybe you just want to make the place more inviting. Add some videos that highlight your mission. It's like adding a patio and a pool. People will want to come over and hang out!

Need some "ADA compliance" for older audiences? Maybe add your social feeds to your website. This will help those more likely to find your webpage through a search and not Facebook. But that audience can still click on your feed and be engaged in your social feeds.

And just like a house, you'll need to do constant maintenance and upkeep. Like the latest paint color fads, your organization's activities and initiatives will change. You don't want to be the ugly house on the block. You need to keep up with the Joneses and keep the place updated and inviting!

So, where do you start? Begin with the basics: who you are, your mission, philanthropic activities, and most importantly, your most active and critical initiatives. The rest of the stuff? The additions and the pool? They can come later. But the online real estate needs to be purchased and the foundation, walls, and roof put together. Like the housing market, each day you wait, the price of inaction goes up!

So get your team together, build your field of dreams, and protect your house.

Josh Friedrich is a fire fighter / paramedic in Lewisville, TX and serves as the Secretary and Communications Manager for Lewisville Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 3606. Josh is the Fire Fighter Relations Coordinator at NEP Services where he works tirelessly as a resource for the fire service labor organizations they serve. Josh also is aware that leather helmets are forever, smooth-bore nozzles are king, and engine work is the Lord's work.