Five tips to make your website shine
Your club's website can be a great opportunity to share Rotary's message in your community. Make sure your website is user friendly with these best practices. Rotary Images
You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
Your club's website can be that opportunity and a good way to share information with local Rotarians.
Here are a few tips that can make your site more user friendly, no matter what type of web platform you're using.
1. Build your website with public relations in mind. Consider these questions:
- Who is your target audience? Your club members are an important target audience. But so is the community, including donors, potential members, and other organizations who may partner with your club on upcoming projects. Visiting Rotarians looking to make up meetings are yet another audience.
- What are the objectives of your website?
- What should a visitor expect from your site?
2. Provide accurate contact information. Make sure prospective members have an easy way to express interest in your club and learn about joining. Provide more than one method for reaching the club, such as a phone number and an e-mail address.
3. Keep all your information current. Update your meeting place and time as well as the calendar of events and list of speakers frequently. Feature the current year's RI theme logo. (Or use just the Rotary emblem, which supports better brand identity and is easier to maintain.)
Share the task of updating content with club members. "One of the challenges many clubs face is that a single person is responsible for the website, and that person becomes a gatekeeper, usually unintentionally," says Dave Bittner, of the Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent, Maryland, USA . "By having a website that allows every club member to contribute, you don't have a single gatekeeper, and the site ends up being much more active."
4. Clearly identify your club. In all electronic communications, readers should immediately recognize who is publishing the material.
- Include the name of your club and location on the front page.
- Use the Rotary emblem correctly. Download RI's free logos.
- Provide clear and complete information on where and when your club meets.
Richard Lalley, of the Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield, Illinois, USA, suggests including a link to an easy-to-use interactive map (e.g., Google, Yahoo, MapQuest) for your meeting location. Make sure it gives accurate directions.
5. Keep your design clean and simple with one consistent navigation scheme throughout the site. Tap into members' knowledge of web development and design. However, don't rely too heavily on one expert who might create a site that only he or she can maintain. Keep colors and font sizes to a minimum.
"The guiding principle in any design is clean simplicity," says Jim Adlhoch, of the Rotary Club of Woodland Hills, California, USA. "It speaks volumes to the professionalism of any publication, which includes websites."
Adlhoch, Bittner, and Lalley served as panelists in October for RI webinars about club website best practices. The webinar will be held in Spanish and Portuguese in March. Listen to recordings from the webinars.
In addition, RI is offering a free webinar in February on how to use social media to promote clubs and districts.