Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Your Club Portal

All the clubs in Founders District - Area C2 are taking advantage of the FREEToastHost service to build an engaging presence. Over the past two years there have been a number of improvements that make the free CMS or Content Management System, easier to build and customize. The purpose of this post is to list the Club Website best practices as well as offer some additional functionality to take the site to the next level.

  • HOME page
    This is the default page for every club portal, it is possible to run scripts on this page, add multiple graphics as well as hide the generic tabs. The logic behind hiding the tabs is that you do not have the ability to add them on other pages, so to make your entire site look uniform, turning them off gives FULL design control.
    This helpful page allows you to link to a GOOGLE map, showing a pin point of your meeting location. You also have the ability to add additional descriptions and instructions for finding you as well as posting your meeting days/times.
    Growing your club is about making personal connections. While you can not force your members to complete their profiles, add a photo and make the information public, doing so will allow your club to have photo directory, so that new visitors who found you online have a feeling of familiarity.
    There is nothing more disappointing than to go to a clubs calendar and find it completely blank. You as a member can add events. The webmaster can create events of interest to your club members. You can even build a club agenda for upcoming meetings and have members assigned/volunteer for functionary roles.
    If it is a file, it can uploaded and designated as public or private. Imagine being able to post Toastmaster International brochures and booklets, the New Member application, your welcome packet, photos and more ... the possibilities are endless.
    By posting the links to your Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Meet-Up and iToastmasters pages, you make your Club site the go-to page for prospects, new members, old members, ex-Toastmasters, and fans.
If this were all you could with your Club web page, that would be incredibly useful to your members and prospects. The good news is that it gets even better! The following are proven additions that you can see in action on the Club 100 portal.

If you have a member who is not intimidated by using some HTML, and I can even assist you in that area, then the following extra elements can help you add increased functionality.
  1. add a print button ...
    at the top of your custom pages, with just one line of HTML code
  2. add a banner ...
    to the top of every customizable pages, reminding the members and prospects of the meeting date and time, this will stay visible at the top of the page, even as they scroll downward
  3. add a reprint of an article ...
    it's important for site visitors to realize that you are there to offer helpful information, when you reprint an article from any source, make sure you include a citation and link back to the original publisher
  4. add a manuscript from a club members speech ...
    this is a great way to let the world know what type of speech they might hear when visit the club. Since many clubs vote for a winning speech and Table Topics, why not invite the winners to write up their speech and publish it on the club site.
  5. add a description of officer roles page ...
    having a page with a brief description of the officer roles helps prospects and members fully understand the structure of the club and identifies officers responsibilities, making asking questions of the right officer easier.
  6. add a description of the meeting functionary roles ...
    by providing this information, prospects and members will gain a better understanding and appreciation for the planning and execution of Toastmasters meeting.
  7. add a page that imports articles from a blog ...
    this requires about three lines of code, but allows you to have a page that updates with a web blog. This is important because GOOGLE owns BLOGSPOT, and indexes blog posts faster than they do the information on your club page. I have set up a menu item for the page to host this blog - Area C2 Directors Blog - so that there is always going to be useful information in more than one or more places, but only requires that I update one site.
  8. add a page that reviews helpful APPS ...
    encourage your members to share helpful organizational apps, and write a review. Again, provide information to prospects and new members that demonstrate your commitment to helping everyone become a success.
We have access to incredibly useful resources. This article is just the beginning, showing you how you can take more advantage of the FREE ToastHost portal that you have already started using. I know that there is more that I have mentioned, but implement these and you will have a great start.