When contacting potential members or advertising your chapter, it’s essential that you have a website in place first. Whichever solution you choose should satisfy the following three critical functions:
- Provide Information about your chapter
- Provide excellent communication between your members
- Provide an easy way to join the chapter (e.g. click a button to join)
Below are several fast, free and functional website options that meet the above criteria:
Almost everyone is on Facebook and it’s one of the most popular websites on the net. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group. Facebook Groups are private to members only.
Easy, Custom Website Options
Although a Facebook Group offers many useful features and is ideal for communicating, it does not offer the flexibility or visual appeal of a custom website. Below is a list of alternative website options. Below are several websites that allow you to create a complete website using standard templates and an online WYSIWYG editor (No HTML knowledge required).
- Google Sites – (view example | watch tutorial video)
- Webs.com – allows members-only pages. Contains ads.
- SiteKreator.com – members-only pages, forum, blog, PayPal
- Yola – no ads
Many webhost providers, such as GoDaddy, also offer an online site-building feature.
Building a custom website from scratch
If you or one of your members have experience with web development, you may wish to create a chapter website using WordPress or build one from scratch. Below is a list of features commonly sought after by members along with links to some services that might be helpful when creating your site.
Good communication is the most important feature.
- Forum – Provide a link to your chapter’s forum on the National Vulcan Riders Forum
- Discussion List – GoogleGroups or Yahoo Groups as a mailing list only
- Membership Registration/Application
- Calendar – Google Calendar
- Photos – Google Photos, Flickr
- News and Announcements – Blogger
- Polls, ratings, comments – Free Widget
NOTE: Should you decide to host your website with an “economical” wehost provider, it is highly recommended that you do NOT purhase your domain through them. To avoid issues in the future, purchase your domain with a well-known and reputable company such as GoDaddy.com and point the domain name to your website on the other host.