11 Steps to Membership Management Success - Building Events, Advanced Searches and SEO
The events module is the most powerful and rich part of Wild Apricot. Events are one of the most, if not the most, popular ways to generate revenue and add value for members of your organization. Events, like web pages, can be:
- published to the public or restricted to various audiences.
- free or paid, simple RSVP or advanced
- span one or more days and can have multiple registration types, or types of tickets
The secret to mastering the events module is to understand how registration types work along with the registration form and custom fields. If you configure the event to work exactly how you need it to it will save you a tremendous amount of time and effort and simplify the pre-event data collection process as well as the event check-in process.
Remember, events are part of your website content. In fact when you publish an event a “web page” is created by Wild Apricot with its own link. Events have a unique link in Wild Apricot that can be shared. Events can show up in the event gadgets throughout your site pages or page templates.
The registration type is a really handy way to create different types of tickets. For example, one registration type can be setup for the public, and another can be setup for members only with a discounted price. So, if an active member logs into the website they will see the special registration type (aka ticket) with a price discount, whereas the public will see a publicly offered event price. Some organizations incent contacts to become members just to get the special event price, which can be done in the event description and email call to action. There are lots of special configuration settings for registration types including allowing guest registration and setting ticket maximums and early bird pricing.
This is the best way to engage your members and deliver value. Create events, invite your contacts and members — and watch your community grow! There’s more information to help you: Wild Apricot’s events setup checklist gives a handy step-by-step for setting up events.
Advanced Content and Member Searches & Membership Groups
Advanced searches are not only useful reporting tools; they also allow you to target members of your database with emails or create custom member directories. When you save advanced searches you can reuse them over and over. The search results is dynamic based on the criteria you assign to a saved search.
Membership groups can be used to create groups of members (e.g., your board of directors). Access control to pages can be restricted to not only various membership levels but also to membership groups. This is the best way to create a set of pages only available to a subset of members no matter what level they may be at. Note that contacts cannot be part of a membership group, and a member can be part of more than 1 membership group.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
How will new members interested in your organization or community find you online? And more importantly, how will you attract people to your organization for fundraising or growing your membership? What would people search for when seeking an organization with services like yours?
To improve your site’s ranking in search results, Wild Apricot features search engine optimization features that can be added to your site content.
Make sure the keywords that describe your organization and its mission appear early in your content and in your meta keywords. Wild Apricot allows you to add a global set of meta tags as well as create a custom set of tags for every page you build in Wild Apricot.
Wild Apricot, by default, assigns numeric links to page titles, which may not be very search engine-friendly. You can improve your site’s findability with:
- customized page titles
- description meta tags
- you can also add a collection of favicons so that your website is appropriately branded in web browsers and mobile home screens.
Read more on SEO in the Wild Apricot help site.
Similar to search engine results, links to social media need to be managed in a specific way with Wild Apricot websites.
Social media networks will try to infer various pieces of information about your web pages, such as a summary of a blog post, a specific page preview and your featured image for the page.
These elements may or may not load properly from your website. But there are quick fixes you can apply so they load properly:
- You can use this social media optimization toolset from to take the guesswork out of setting up your pages ready for social media.
- Learn to change your preview image right from the Wild Apricot help pages. You can modify your images to readily publish OpenGraph tags that will optimize an ideal social media sharing experience — ensuring that the format, image size, title and description of your post is optimized for popular social media platforms like Facebook.
Configure Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Do you know how many people visit your website? And whether your site is properly indexed by Google?
Ready to migrate? More info is coming to help you …
You’ve come a long way in this process … and you’ll see it come to fruition soon! Get ready to configure the payment system, the engine that will bring revenue into your organization.
Watch for this guidance our next chapter: Configure Your Payment System