Making Your Club's Web Site Better
Tips for improving your club's site:
- Keep the site up to date:
Make sure any information on your site is current. If you can't keep it as current as you would like, at least remove any old information. Many club web sites feature their officers from a year or two ago. Old information like that will cause the visitor to assume everything on the site is out of date.
- Watch for errors:
Make sure the information on your site is accurate and complete. Don't forget to mention the state where your club is located. (That actually is a common error.) You don't know how your visitors will get to your site so don't assume they will have all the basic information they will need.
- Identify what's happening in pictures:
Members of your club know what happened, but the web site will hopefully be viewed by many non-members and they'll enjoy their time on your site more if they know what's happening in the pictures.
- Have the site reflect your club:
Many sites seem to feature only one element of a club's activities, such as meetings or fund raising events. Try to capture the range of your club's activities.
- Limit moving graphics:
Many new web designers find moving graphics that they love and they put them all over their web sites. Often they detract, rather than add, to the message. Do you want your visitors to stare at a moving graphic, or read the text on the page? Draw their attention to the information, not away from it.
- Don't use music:
This may seem unduly harsh, but music is a major distraction on a web site except in those cases where visitors are given a link they can click to start it. Often when a piece of music is connected to the opening page in a web site, it will play every time a visitor returns to that page. After several long pauses followed by the same music starting over again and again, they'll probably stop looking at your opening page.
- Items not to forget:
- Links to the Kiwanis International web site (a requirement of the Kiwanis web site guidelines), to your district's web site and to your division's web site if there is one.
- Information on Kiwanis that will help non-Kiwanians visiting your site.
- Contact information -- e-mail, telephone and snail mail -- so someone interested in your club or its events can get more information. Provide all three methods to give people options.
- Test your site:
As much as you are able, look at your site on various computers and various browsers to see how it looks. Ask other club members to review the site and see if they see elements that aren't displaying correctly or other mistakes that can be fixed.
- Avoid overloaded pages:
If you have a lot of pictures you want to display, don't put too many of them on a single page; they will take too long for visitors to see. If you want to use many pictures, break them up according to event, year, month, or in some other way so they won't all try to load at once.
- Prepare pictures properly:
Prepare pictures and other graphics properly for the web site, to reduce download times. Pictures directly from digital cameras or scanners have file sizes which are much larger than necessary for web viewing. If you don't know how to do that, ask other club members for help.