Need a website for your group or club? A blog can be a great platform. They are easy to updated, you don’t need to be a webmaster to set up, and are nearly perfect for groups or clubs.
Check out the Hereford Runner site for example. As you would guess the Hereford Runner is a club site for local runners. On the site you can find upcoming events, some suggested training, and results from past events. Looking a little deeper though, they really put to action the full functionality of a blog, making it really work for what almost all groups and clubs need.
Common Needs for a Group or Club on a Website
Clubs, like this running club, have many common needs out of a website.
- A home page to explain who or what they are
- A new user registration form or details on how to become a member
- Contact information
- Upcoming Events page
- Past events page
- Archive of announcements
- A method to easily communicate a message
- A method to easily add new content without the requirement of a webmaster (most groups are on a very tight budget)
Using a blog as the format for a club the club can easily make static pages for all the static about us kind of stuff, and adding new posts makes the ideal way to make announcements for new members. Most blogs automatically come with RSS feed software. This makes for easy subscribing for your members, and setting up a Feedburner account makes for an easy addition to let subscribers use email instead
WordPress as the blog software can also allow you to create member only available content, and if you budget is really tight can be hosted on WordPress for free. A blog will also automatically archive your content so new members can easily catch up on previous events. Blogs come with search ability, and additionally make it easy to add pictures (a common request for groups or clubs).
For those of you that are thinking about creating your own logo to save a buck or two, think about how much a professional logo can SAVE you. I am sure many of you understand the value of a great logo. It can add branding value, and can most certainly influence a buyers decision by giving you a little more credibility as a real company. Here is how it can actually save you though.
Check out this site, Homesource.com. If you do a little digging around, you will find out a couple of things about the site. One, it is a WordPress website, and two, the template is most likely a default template that you can get for free. It’s very basic, yet it looks, at first appearance (or from the perspective of a non-developer), as a well developed website that took time and money. This home remodeling contractor site was able to build a professional looking website quickly, easily, and with little cost. How did they make it look so good with out spending much time on the template?
It’s the logo! With a great looking logo and a few tweaks to the templates colors to match it, they got a professional looking website for cheap. That logo SAVED them money in web design costs. As someone that has been developing sites for years, one of the most common problems I have is lack of quality content to build a site. Most of my clients are small business owners that want a website.
One of the first things that hold up the site design is their lack of a good logo. They either made it themselves, or don’t even have one. Because they often want the site right away, I end up building them their site with what I have. Then, three months down the road they send me a new logo that in no way matches the site. What does that mean? Redesign. That’s bad for their regular site visitors, and bad for the owners pocket book.
Kick down the money for a professional logo. It could actually save you money.
A few months ago, I did a second round of my 1,000 website review. I was basically looking at random sites trying to see what got me to dig a little deeper. I am also currently working on decreasing my bounce on my main blog so I am really looking closely at these notes now.
A big winner? Pictures of people. Using this website, BestRateSource.com as an example, you can see the power of people.
Using the topic of mortgage rates you are in for a challenge for keeping your visitors for longer than one page view. The market is competitive, and if left to just written context, pretty boring.
People bring the site alive though, and smiling faces certainly helps the credibility on this site. Another important note here, house in background. A common mistake is to add a picture like this, and miss out on that extra subliminal message. This site helps you get a house. The picture should have people and a house.
Adding pictures to a website is a great way to attract visitors, but they need to keep focused, and they need to be used sparingly. In this particular case it was used fantastically. An example of a big mistake, one that I have seen on another home mortgage site before? Showing a picture of their large commercial building. Home owners are not looking for buildings.
Looking at their sub pages like their best mortgage rates page, you can see less emphasis on the image, they use an icon in this case, and more emphasis on the content. The visitor is now less concerned with credibility, and their interest has already been gained. Now they just want the facts, so give it to them!
I was doing an analysis on Best Pet Insurance website this morning. A few things stood out to me that could give it a little help, but it had one thing that simply slam dunked the site as professional, at least for starters. It was the site wide consistency.
Check out this screenshot I took from it.
I took this partial screenshot, including the Google ads, on purpose. In it, you can see all of the text, headings, and methods to link to content has been done in an easy to identify, consistent format. Headings, bold and black. Links, blue and underlined. Text black, and all same font type. This sounds easy to do, but if you spend a little time online you will quickly see too many sites don’t follow this simple rule of being consistent in format, even with the ads.
Having consistent formats for everything you do makes for an easy to use website for visitors, new and returning. Web visitors skim, and move through content quickly looking for visual clues. If you are inconsistent in method, you create confusion for the visitor. On this pet insurance site, they completely nail the template with something that is easy to use. Now they just need to get a logo!