An active, up-to-date, and inviting chapter or council website is the starting point for effective communications in this digital age and developing and maintaining one should be a priority to effectively spread the word about your local work. There are literally thousands of options for getting a website off the ground through various providers, among them WordPress, Web.com, Weebly, Squarespace and others. TU also offers a free website hosting service for chapters and councils that you can take advantage of as well.
One of the key considerations when thinking about building or rebuilding your website and deciding on a platform to use is choosing a service that is affordable, easy to use, and – in this day and age – offers a mobile-friendly design for visitors on smart phones and tablets. Your Volunteer Operations Staff is always here to help you think through what’s right for you.
When beginning the process of building or rebuilding your website, consider the following:
This should be your first stop when beginning the process, as there are many benefits to our free tool, including the fact that you will always have a dedicated TU staff person available to help walk you through the effort and train your volunteers how to use and update the website. This becomes particularly important when your webmaster moves or leaves the chapter, as we can quickly get a new volunteer trained and up to speed to take over.
Focus on the Key Components Your Visitors Want
For most chapters and councils, a simple, straight-forward and clean website is the best choice. Visitors typically come to the site to find coming events, contact chapter leaders, and learn about your local conservation and education work. Having these basic pages and that content easy to find is key to making your website work for the members and prospective members. Keeping the event calendar up to date is essential to keeping the site look fresh.
Add Complexity and Additional Features with Care
Many chapters and councils choose to add specialty content, such as blog posts, message board, local river conditions and fishing reports and more. These features can make the site more robust and attractive, but they often require a volunteer (or volunteers) willing to add blogs, generate conversations and update reports on a weekly or monthly basis. This can become burdensome over the long run, so adding these features should only be done when you have a strategy for developing frequent and timely content, and the volunteers willing to do it.