Posted by Jay Wilkinson

“If you build it, they will come”—that might have worked for a baseball field in Iowa, but if you think it’ll work for your nonprofit’s website, dream on.

If you’re over 30, you probably remember how the self-appointed experts on the new “internet superhighway” chirped on and on about how every business and nonprofit needed to get their website address on everything. While technology and the internet have dramatically changed since then, that truth remains the same: You still need to promote your site.

Promotion is crucial to the success of your web presence—you have to make people aware that it exists and why they should care. You can build the most professional and engaging website on the internet, but if nobody knows it exists, it’s going to sit there and be brilliant alone. Your audience needs to know exactly where to find you and how to engage and interact with you online.

So don’t sit around waiting for the crowds to just show up or rely on Google, Bing or Yahoo to be your only traffic drivers. Get promoting.

The best place to start is by getting your domain name out there. Everywhere. If you have letterhead, business cards or other printed materials, be sure your domain name is included. It should also appear in your email signature, your e-newsletters or any other electronic communication. And of course, link back to your website from any social platform you use.

Maybe you have t-shirts, balloons, koozies or other promotional items you hand out at events or fundraisers. Get your domain name on them too.

It’s necessary to build a viable web presence, but don’t expect people to just show up. Get your domain name out there, create awareness and promote your brand. Then, and only then, will people come.