Before you start:
Firstly, it is important to address the question of "who is the website for?"
Is it for club members, other Rotarians from the district/RIBI/worldwide or for non-Rotarians? It's really a combination of all three. The members area is where information that is only relevant to club members should be stored - an area that non-members can't access. All your public pages should be addressing the other two audiences, but mainly the non-Rotarian general public - most of whom will be in your locality (where your potential members can be found).
Know your club and the likely audience from where you may get members. If your club meets at lunch-time, you may be appealing to people who work in the area, but live elsewhere and know little about the area as a whole. If you are based in a town where the population changes frequently information about your locality can be useful and accompanying text can give useful insight into what club values are.
It exists to inform the general public about the activities of your club. It might also act as a tool to attract new members, a 24-hr advert for your club. There are many more reasons to have a website, but that is not the purpose of this article.
This begs the question "is my site attractive and likely to be of interest to non-Rotarians?"
Visual Impact is important
Before writing your page to the web, decide on content and design.
- As well as preparing text in a word-processed document, it can be helpful to make a rough sketch as to how you would like your page to look.
- Headlines and strong images attract attention, so choose both carefully!
- "a picture speaks 1,000 words", but only positively if it is a good one!
- Most visitors to web pages will scan the page for a couple seconds before deciding whether or not to hit the 'back' button. You have to grab their attention in that time.
Think of phone users!
About half of web searches are done by people using smartphones. The site is designed to be 'responsive' for different devices - but visual impact is lost if the most exciting part of the page can only be seen after lots of scrolling down! As a general rule, keep pages short. If you need to scroll down on a PC, think what it will be like for a phone user!