How to make a web page for your club


Here, we tell you how to set up a web page for your club or organization. A web page is a useful tool even for a small and informal group. Web pages are free. And you don’t need to be a computer wiz to do it — familiarity with computer basics is enough.

Once you’ve got your web page set up, consult our page on Getting started with your WordPress site for some tips on how to start putting information onto it.


Why make a web page for your club

Basically a web page gives people a way to find you. Suppose that you live in Phoenix, Arizona. And suppose that someone moves to Phoenix, or is visiting Phoenix. He or she is interested in finding out if there is a local group of petanque players. If your club has a web page, then that person can simply Google “Phoenix petanque” and he will find you. In short, a web page is an easy way to put the Web to work for you.

Another good reason for setting up a web page is that it will allow people to contact you by email without exposing your email address to spammers.


STEP ONE — Create an email address for your club

The first thing you need to do is to set up a free email address for your club. Do NOT use one of your members’ personal email address. Instead, create an email address for the club itself. Any email that is sent to the club’s email address can be forwarded to the email address of the contact person (or persons) for the club. If the club gets a new contact person, you can change the club’s forwarding address so that email sent to the club will be forwarded to the new contact person.

In the following example, we will set up a web site for the Phoenix Petanque Club, in Phoenix, Arizona.

  1. Decide on a user name (also called a “user ID”) and a password for your club. In our example, we’re going to use phoenix.petanque for our user name. For a password, use anything you like, but remember to throw in an upper-case letter or two and some numbers, for example TireAuFer33.
     
  2. icon_to_create_a_gmail_accountGo to gmail.com and create a Gmail email address for your club. At the top right you will see an icon to Create An Account. Click it.
     
  3. create_a_gmail_account_for_phoenix_petanqueFill in the form with information about your club email address. At the bottom, enter the email address of your club’s contact person as the email address of the owner of the gmail address. In our example, we have used john.smith@ someISP.com as the email address of our club’s contact person.
     
  4. There are a couple of other things to fill in. You will need to enter an authentication number to prove that you are a real person, check a box saying you agree to Google’s terms of service, and so on. When you’ve finished doing those things…
     
  5. Click the Next Step icon and you’re done. 
  6. You’ll probably encounter some annoying pages in which Google tries to force you to join Google+, its attempt to imitate Facebook. You can join if you want, or just “Continue” past those nags.
     

At this point, you have created your club email address phoenix.petanque@gmail.com. Now you need to tell gmail to forward any email message that arrives in the inbox of phoenix.petanque@gmail.com to john.smith@someISP.com. This is just like telling the post office to forward your snail mail to a new mailing address.

Go to your new Gmail account. Click on the grid icon (which stands for “Google apps”).go_to_gmail_account_for_phoenix_petanque_01

Then click on the Gmail icon.
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Once you get to Gmail, you will see several new “Welcome” messages from Google.

  • In the screen, in the upper-right-hand corner, there is an icon that looks like a little gear. Click on it.
     
  • It will drop down a menu. On that menu, click on the Settings item.

This will bring up a heading bar showing the various SETTINGS options.

  1. Click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
    configure_gmail_account_for_phoenix_petanque_02
  2. Click on the tab to Add a forwarding address. Gmail will show you a form where you can enter a forwarding address. In our example, we will enter john.smith@someISP.com but of course you should add the email address of your club contact person. (Note that you can add multiple addresses if you wish. There are detailed instruction on the Gmail instructions page.)configure_gmail_account_for_phoenix_petanque_03
  3. Once you’ve added a forwarding address, you must also tell Gmail that you actually want to forward email messages to it. So click on the radio button (the little round circle).
    configure_gmail_account_for_phoenix_petanque_04
  4. Finally, and this is important, the last thing to do is scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page. If you don’t do that, your changes to Gmail’s SETTINGS won’t be saved.
    configure_gmail_account_for_phoenix_petanque_05

Once you have completed this process, any email messages that are sent to the club email address will be forwarded to the email address of your club’s contact person. Try it. Send a test message to you club’s email address and verify that you receive it via your contact person’s email address.

Later, if someone else becomes your club’s contact person, you can give him (or her) the UserID and password of the club email address. He can use that information to log in to Gmail and change the forwarding email address.


STEP TWO — Create a web page for your club

The easiest way to create a web page for your group is by setting up a blog on a free blogging site. Once you have your blog, you don’t need to do any actual blogging. You can just use your blog to display information about your club.

After experimenting with the most popular blogging sites, we have chosen and recommend WordPress because of its ease-of-use, powerful feature set, and long-term stability. So we will now tell you a little bit about how to set up a blog on WordPress.

  1. Go to the WordPress web site.
  2. Click on the Create Website button.
  3. Fill out the information to create your blog. REMEMBER… When you create your club’s blog, create it for the club, not for yourself. That is, when you create the blog, don’t provide your own personal information. Provide the name and email address of the club.
     
    A good blog address is you city’s name plus the word “petanque”, all run together as one word. In this example we’ve used “phoenixpetanque” as our blog address, which means that the full URL of our blog will be phoenixpetanque.wordpress.com. Click HERE to see full-size image.

  4. After you’ve filled in the requested information, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Create Blog button.
    configure_wordpress_for_phoenix_petanque_03

After that, you’re ready to post your information on your blog. For suggestions about what kind of information you might want to provide, see What kinds of information should we provide on our web site?, below.

This is not the place to try to provide a full tutorial on how to use WordPress. Just play around with it. You can’t really break anything. Almost anything you do can be undone or redone. It will take you a while to get a feel for the various things that you can do with a WordPress blog, and the various features that are available. If you have a question, you can usually find the answer simply by Googling your question, for example How can I upload a picture to WordPress? Often, you will find a link to a YouTube video showing you exactly how to do whatever it is you want to do.

Good luck!


STEP THREE — Create a Facebook page for your club

Facebook has become so widely used that creating a Facebook page for your club is a good good idea. Note that there are several different kinds of Facebook sites that you can create — profiles, groups, and pages. “Profiles” are for people, and “groups” are for discussion groups.

The important thing that you need to know is that you want to create a Facebook page, not a Facebook group. (See Facebook Pages vs Facebook Groups: What’s the Difference?)

The first thing you want to do is to sign up for Facebook.
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Once you’ve signed up for Facebook, you want to create a page…

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You can configure you page by uploading a cover photo and a profile picture. The profile picture is the perfect place to put a club logo, if you have one.
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STEP FOUR — Create a listing for your club at the American Petanque Directory

Go to the American Petanque Directory. Read the instructions on how to update the directory. Then go to the directory page for your state and add a listing for your club or group.

The APD is a free online directory of petanque clubs in the USA. Adding a listing for your club will help other petanque players to find your club and its web page.

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STEP FIVE — Make sure that three people have your logon information

Here is a situation that we have seen not once, but twice in the last few months.

A few years ago Susan Smith put up a web page for her petanque club using her own personal account on Google Sites (or maybe it was WordPress, or Blogger). Susan did a great job, and the web page looked great.

Time passed. Something happened to Susan. Perhaps she got sick. Perhaps she died. Perhaps she moved away and the club lost contact with her.

When that happened, the club found itself in trouble with its web page. Susan had created the web page using her own personal email account— so the club’s web site was literally Susan’s personal property. And once Susan was gone, the club had no way to update its page.

At first nobody thought anything about it. But time passed. The information on the page became obsolete. And at that point the club couldn’t update their web page and they couldn’t take it down.

The moral of the story is— Recognize that your club’s web page is the property of the club, not of a single individual. Treat it the same way that you would treat any other club asset, like the club’s bank account. If your club gets a new Treasurer, it should still be able to use the club bank account. If your club gets a new web contact person, it should still be able to maintain its web site.

To treat the web site as a club asset—

  1. Create your club’s web site using a club email address, not a member’s personal email account.
  2. Make sure that three members of your club know the logon information of the club email address.


What kinds of information should we provide on our web site?

You can put as much or as little as you like. At a minimum, we suggest—

  1. Include the name of your club. Some people like to get creative with their club’s name — the BouleFrogs, Ghoules with Boules, and so on. But the standard format of the Cityname Petanque Club still has the important virtue of clarity.
     
  2. Include the name of your city and state, and the words “petanque club”. That will make it easy for people to google “Cityname petanque” and find you.
     
  3. Provide information about WHEN and WHERE you play.
     
  4. Provide information about how to CONTACT you. The simplest way to do that is to invite people to leave a comment on the web page. Comments will be forwarded to your club email address, and from there to the contact person, without exposing any email address to spammers.
     
  5. Do NOT provide an email address. That is an invitation to spammers to spam you at that email address.
     
  6. If you provide telephone numbers, don’t forget to include the area code in the phone numbers.
     
  7. Maintain the information on the page. If your contact person leaves and you get a new contact person, update the contact person information on the web page. Check the web page once a year (New Year’s Day, for instance) to verify that the information on the page is still correct. If something is no longer correct, fix it.

Once you have your web page set up, you don’t need to do anything more. It is enough to enable people to find you via a web search. If you feel like it, you can of course go on and do more with it. You can post pictures, news, notices of up-coming events. If you post an invitation or announcement, you can ask people to RSVP via the comments on the post. If you use your blog to post announcements, be sure to invite people to subscribe to your blog so they will receive email about the announcements.

Click HERE to see an example of a basic web page.


What about other free blogging sites?

There are many free blogging sites on the Web— WordPress, Blogger/Blogspot, Weebly, Wix, and so on. Feel free to shop around for a blogging site that fits your needs and personal style. Any of the most popular blogging sites should be fine as a platform for hosting a club web site.

After experimenting with the most popular blogging sites, we have chosen and recommend WordPress because of its ease-of-use, powerful feature set, and long-term stability. This is why many petanque clubs use WordPress.


What about meetup.com?

Meetup.com is an online, web-based tool designed to help groups organize meetings and events, and to help them collect money.

In meetup.com’s business model, a club collects annual dues from club members, and/or charges fees for admission to its events. The club then pays meetup.com several hundred dollars a year for its help in organizing events and collecting dues and fees. In short—

  • meetup.com is not free and it is not cheap.
  • Virtually anything that you might want to do with meetup.com, you can do— for free— with a free blog.

Meetup.com is an excellent tool for some purposes. But in our judgment meetup.com is not an especially useful tool for most petanque clubs.


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