Website Communications

These days, having a website is common practice for development organizations working beyond the community level. This has opened the possibilities of disseminating information such as that coming from evaluations.

To start with, you can post your evaluation reports and related documents on your website. You can then increase “traffic” to your website by optimizing search functions (so that the website gets prioritized by search engines such as Google); and by attracting people by packaging the information differently through media such as a blog or tweets; through a newsletter article, or for example, by making a video or series of photographs and posting them on-line. In addition, you can get people to subscribe to a news feed (most commonly Really Simple Syndication or RSS), email updates or an e-newsletter from your website, to increase the flow of information.

Blogs and microblogs: Blog is short for “weblog”, a web-based log or diary of regular postings commenting and discussing a particular topic (such as evaluation). It often brings together different issues that come up in an organization (such as problems in collecting data, stories from the field or analytical discussions based on ongoing evaluation studies) and makes links to interesting articles on other websites. 
The most common microblog is “Twitter”, which is simply a very shortened version of a blog. By signing up to a Twitter account, it is possible to send out messages and news about your organization including evaluation findings and updates to a group of people and organizations who choose to “follow” your ongoing developments. Making a 140 character summary of your evaluation report can also attract others to come to the site and find out more, and even send the news tweet on to others. This differs from a news feed as it is more interactive in that comments can be made, and it is possible to track how many followers you have. The perfect tweet aims for “maximum readability” and “maximum retweetability”.
 
Generally speaking, blogs have a few things in common: 
 
  • A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories (and tagged according to these themes). 
  • An archive of older articles. 
  • A way for people to leave comments about the articles. 
  • A list of links to other related sites. 
  • One or more news "feeds" such as RSS, Atom or RDF files. 

Examples

You can make your own study of how different websites present information about an organization’s evaluations, and figure out what inspires you the most. One example, from Save the Children, has a “Results for Children” section in its website, where it publishes short summaries with links to evaluation reports.  The site also has a “Success Stories” section.
 
The website of the UN Special Envoy for Heath in Agenda 2030 and for Malaria also uses its website to share its success stories, publishing these as part of its blog, for example, MDG Success Stories: Muso’s Door-to-Door Impact in Mali.

Advice

Advice for CHOOSING these options

  • Using your website, or making use of a blog or microblog is only relevant when information is not sensitive.

Advice for USING these options

  • It is easy to waste resources on the endless communications you can post on your website. Some websites are so full of information that the messages get lost. It is important to think strategically about what kind of information you would like to send out, what format to use for, which purpose and which audience.
  • Clarify for yourself who your audience(s) is and tailor your information to their interests.
  • The more interesting and well-written your content, the more people will link to you and the easier it will be to become known.
  • Write simply, with correct grammar and spelling, in an active form and keep your information uncluttered. See Resources below on how to write for the web.
  • Tweets: Most people write 100-120 characters for their tweets, so that others can add comments when they retweet.

Resources

Guides

Sources

Bennett, S. (2012, January 28). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/the-perfect-tweet_b5602

Mullenweg, M. [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging

Updated: 9th June 2016 - 1:24am
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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Author
Banana hill.
Wageningen.
Reviewer
Research Fellow, RMIT University.
Melbourne.

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