Lessons from National Geographic – Make Your Website a Resource

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This weekend (January 13th to be exact), The National Geographic Society will celebrate its 120th anniversary. There’s no guesswork as to why it has been able to stay an icon and rock-solid resource for well over a century. In fact, many of the elements that have led to its longevity are things that go into making a website a valuable resource as well.

Let’s take a look.


The Images.

Really. What more needs to be said? It’s the first thing people think of when they hear the name National Geographic. Perhaps more than any other publication in history, National Geographic has become synonymous with striking images. They probably sell subscriptions on that aspect alone.

How are the images on your site? Are they grainy or low-quality? Are they stock photos that everyone in your industry shares? When a customer sees images of your products, will they associate those products with your organization? Take a look at your images and consider how they could be better. Who knows, you just might get some good social media rub from it as well.

The Content.

National Geographic doesn’t take a surface-level approach to their content. They are not there simply to inform; they are there to teach. When you can create content on your site that goes beyond simply talking about your product or service and digs down into: how things work; why things are designed the way they are; and why this is something that potential customers would benefit from owning, then you are getting into the things that further establish you as a reputable source.

Look at your content. Where are you informing? Where are you teaching?


Look at the cover example. Sort of resembles a good homepage navigation doesn’t it. You look at an issue of National Geographic and the first thing you see is what is enclosed and on what page to find it. Simple. Direct. Effective.

Is your navigation set up to get people to what they need as quickly as possible?


National Geographic has made its affiliations a priority for a very long time. If you visit their website even now, you can see who they are working with to bring new and fresh material to readers.

Is your organization working with established leaders? Do you talk about it? Having your name continually mentioned in the same breath as well-respected organizations helps to define you as a well-respected organization as well.


Too often it’s easy to get locked into looking at sites in your industry. And it can lead to some tunnel vision. There are lots of organizations, however, that have had success for a very long time. Take some time to see what they are doing right. Then ask yourself how it can be done in a way that makes sense for you.

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