There used to be a time when keeping up-to-date with the latest news from your local community or interest group meant gathering together to create some sort of newsletter or periodical. As much fun as it might have been to start gathering the news and running your own editorial team, let’s be honest, it was hardly the most practical or time efficient method on the planet, was it?
After getting the stories together, writing them up, designing, laying out, getting everything printed and delivering those community newsletters, that was a lot of man hours -not to mention expenses- that you and your faithful volunteers clocked up.
Thankfully, over the last couple of years, the Internet has done much to improve the ways community groups communicate, making it possible for even the smallest of teams with the most modest of budgets to create an attractive website and keep it updated with all the latest goings on.
If you’ve started to make one but found it hasn’t quite been the resounding success you’ve been hoping for, here’s just four ways that you can improve your community site with an online website builder.
Add a blog
One of the things we like best about DIY web building tools such as Wix, Weebly, Sitebuilder et al is that they provide a lot of extra functions beyond the usual static web pages, many of which are as easy to set up as simply moving your mouse around the screen and selecting a few options.
The same goes for adding a blog to your community website. Designed to look just like the rest of your website, it makes updating news items, opinion pieces and other content a complete breeze. Indeed, using a site builder, starting a blog for your community requires no more technical skills than using your average word processing software.
The good thing about blog, is that not only does it give members of your community a fresh stream of new stuff to read, but it can also help improve your rankings on the search engines, meaning members of the community who may not know about you have a greater chance of finding you.
Share photos and videos from community events
Looking at an online comparison chart of top website builders, (www.bestwebsitebuildernow.com/) you’ll be able to find out which sites include free photo galleries and support for video on their websites. You can use these tools to brighten up your pages by creating attractive, sharable media galleries that not only look great, but are simple to set up.
Create members only sites
If your website is aimed more at a specific group rather than the whole community, there might be certain types of information that you only want group members to be able to access. By spending a small amount of money on upgrading to a premium package with the likes of Weebly or Websitebuilder.com, it’s possible to create two parts to your site- one that members of the public can see, and the other that’s exclusive for members.
These are little trickier to set up than most of the things on our list, but only a little. Your website builder will usually come with a complete, easy-to-follow walkthrough, guiding you through the entire process.
Most top website builders come with eCommerce packages. Though these are typically for businesses who want to sell their products, there’s no reason your group couldn’t use the same features to ask for donations or otherwise raise funds for your big community event, for repairs to local landmarks, or whatever you need.