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The Internet provides excellent communications opportunities - it combines good features or electronic and print media. In order to get the most out of it, think of doing the following:
  • ·         Update the website continuously. Internet-based web sites can be updated continuously, in real time, similar to the radio. That is their advantage against print media, which are updated weekly or daily. Put online parts from your reports, new issues of SWAN News, press clippings where your organization or issues surrounding sex work are mentioned, etc.
  • ·         Use the photography, if possible sound and movie. The Internet enables convergence of media – photography, film, radio and TV. Your website can contain sound, movie, text, and photography files. This possibility is revolutionized by the appearance of the reasonably priced digital cameras and voice recorders.
  • ·         Try to make your website a dynamic, interactive news-carrying multi-media publication, rather then a static “identity brochure”. So have the news from your organization or about sex work issues on the front page, rather then deep down on the third or fourth level under the “news”.
  • ·         Have dynamic and changing front page. The most current news and events should be on this highest level of the web site.
  • ·         Over the time, your website can become sex workers rights web portal in your country or regionally. Think of news, legal and human rights analysis, advocacy and comments, sex workers’ education, resource center, etc. Part of the content is outsourced through the Internet search engines (that monitor the Internet and news agencies and find the articles on the given topic), while you and sex workers community commission a part of it. The portal also links to the coalition members, human rights groups, gay and lesbian groups, government agencies, and similar sites abroad.
  • ·         Internet is an excellent sales and marketing tool. Start thinking of e-commerce. Costs are low and working hours are 24/7. T-shirts, mugs, badges, notes with logo of your organization, coalition or a campaign?
  • ·         Website can be an excellent media relations and advocacy tool – place your press releases, media invitations, backgrounders and press clips on it. Place photos and film clips that accompany your press releases on the Internet, so they can be downloaded and published for free.
  • ·         The Internet can be used as a cheap survey tool. Make online-surveys on particular issues, and publish results in real time (webmasters will know that it is all done automatically, by free to download software packages). Surveys are also an easy and cheap tool to make your website interactive.
  • ·         Internet votes on certain issues (i.e. every week different vote) are indicators of public opinion among the Internet users. They are accompanied by graphs that visually show the current voting results.
  • ·         The Internet makes it easy to track the number of visits, the most wanted content, time spent on the site, and geographical origin of the visitors. Again free to download software.
  • ·         Website is an excellent channel for a feedback from your target audiences and accidental visitors. Ask visitors to provide comments, recommendations, or to ask questions. Questions are automatically sent as an email to a person in your organization. It can be a communications person, or a web administrator who then directs the questions to appropriate staff who is qualified to answer them.
  • ·         Website and industry portals are also a “meeting place” and can have discussion portals, classifieds, and chat rooms.
  • ·         Your website can be a tool for collecting names and addresses of those interested in news, advocacy and analysis of sex work related issues. The visitors simply click on “Subscribe” button and give their email details. Un-subscribing is also done without an engagement from the web-master.
  • ·         There is software developed for all the above functions (e-commerce, visitors’ tracking, content updating, discussion portals, chat rooms, subscription, etc). All you need to do is find a good web designer.
  • ·         The web designers provide software for the site’s functioning. They also design the “architecture” of the site (so it is easy to navigate and logical in its structure). Sometimes they can provide good visual design as well, but often you will have to contract another person for that.