Earlier this month our friend Kristen Gramigna from BluePay wrote about four emerging technologies that could greatly impact nonprofits. Looking forward is important, but so is discarding any outdated strategies that may no longer be working for you – or, in some case, harmful. Here are four formerly in vogue technologies that you should probably ditch:

Domino's mobile

1. Mobile Websites

Having a mobile-friendly website is critical, but how you go about achieving that has changed in the last few years. Previously, a mobile version of your website was optimal. Today, responsive websites are best. So what’s the difference?

A mobile website is a stripped down, alternate version of your website designed for first-gen or older smartphones. They typically focus on the navigation options and cut out all other design frills.

A responsive site, by comparison, maintains the same design of your normal website, but responds to the size and orientation of the device it is being viewed on. None of the content or unique visual elements are discarded, giving users a seamless experience between mobile and desktop.

The example below shows how a responsive site looks on multiple devices:

Responsive Website

2. Static Infographics

If you spend any time at all on the Internet, you’ve likely viewed an infographic. They’re typically tall, skinny visual representations of data or concepts that are easily digestible and fun to read.

Infographics have become so popular among content marketers that they’re being created and distributed at a record pace. This has led issues of quality and conduct, forcing Google to devalue their effectiveness somewhat. At the same time, infographics can increase your website’s bounce rate: the percentage of people who visit only one page of your website and then leave. A bad infographic is worse than no infographic, every time, so don’t rush to jump on the bandwagon.

A couple of emerging content trends that are gaining steam are mixed media posts and interactives. Both draw upon elements found in traditional 2-D infographics, but either break up the content into smaller, individual elements and/or make those elements interactive (clickable/scrollable).

Both keep users engaged and on the website longer, increase the chances of a conversion like an email sign up. Regardless of which format you choose, it’s important to engage with a professional designer.

3. Exchanging Links

Asking another website to link to yours in exchange for linking to their site is a bad idea, and has been for quite some time. Google uses links to determine which sites are authoritative and which aren’t. So, if it sees you creating artificial links, it may devalue your website.

If you’re part of a member network or have asked similar organizations that serve the same mission to exchange links, stop doing so immediately. You might even ask them to remove any links pointing to your site.

The best way to generate real, authentic links is to create helpful content that people want to share and reference. Blogging is a great way to achieve this.

4. Old School PR

Generating traditional media impressions has long since been a mainstay of the nonprofit marketer’s playbook. However, the spray-and-pray approach to press release distribution is becoming less and less efficacious as reporters are becoming more digitally savvy.

At the same time, Google is cracking down on links found within press releases, which they consider to be a form of advertising. Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google, recommends that all links in press releases be designated as “no follow” so that authority cannot pass through to the linked domain. The days of press release distribution as an SEO strategy seem to be coming to an end.

Effective outreach means targeting specific, individual outlets with a defined story idea, rather than blasting a generic announcement out to as many newspapers and TV stations as possible. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a reporter and ask yourself “what would my readers/viewers find valuable?” Write up a press release only when you know you can deliver that value.

What about you? What changes have you made in the last 18-24 months? Let us know in the comments below!

Steven Shattuck

Steven Shattuck

Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang
Steven Shattuck is Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven is a contributor to "Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition" and volunteers his time on the Project Work Group of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, is an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member, and sits on the faculty of the Institute for Charitable Giving. He is the author of Robots Make Bad Fundraisers - How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age, published by Bold and Bright Media.