Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lesson 3: Content is King

'Content is king' as the saying goes.  Without formatted content, a website is a jumbled mess of ideas that lacks cohesion and exhibits no sense of direction.  What's important is to always keep the target audience in mind. 
  • Who are we preparing this content for? 
  • Who will make use of the online resources? 
  • How can we make access easy?
Keep this in mind ... when a visitor arrives you have between 6 to 10 seconds to grab their attention long enough to keep them navigating your site.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lesson 2: Why Choose Blogger

Content Management Solutions

Building a solid website requires a strong toolset.  Most website designers now use a browser-integrated Content Management System (sometimes referred to as a 'CMS').  A good CMS will provide a secure administrative panel to manage and control the site, easy-to-use browser-based editors so authors can create and edit pages and news articles through a web browser, and the ability to integrate 'scripts' or components to deliver additional features like a news blog, calendars, video, audio, file storage, and dynamic menus.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lesson 1: Why Build a Website

Website Designer & Instructor
Gordon Welling
At a recent workshop that I hosted on building club websites, the group discussed the merits of running a club website.  Here goes ... advantages of a club website include:
  • Visibility:  For years we have heard that we are "the best kept secret in town" ... now people have an online venue to learn more about what an Optimist club does in their local community.  When trying to recruit new members, or raise funds, or get the word out about a community service project; the ability to offer the website link to the public is invaluable.
  • Credibility:  Almost any serious not-for-profit organization has a web presence.  In fact, as more people turn to the internet as their primary source of information, organizations are expanding their online presence from a website to a news blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, etc.  A web presence (even if it is just a website) adds that public credibility to your club.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Using Facebook Ads - Insider Tips from George

I've found Facebook Ads to be very cost effective way of reaching youth people.  Facebook makes most of their money through the targeted ads on the right hand side of the Facebook pages.  They either get paid for "Impressions" or for "Clicking through".  Most are for Clicking Through, which means someone on Facebook actually clicks on the ad and takes them to that advertisers page.  Facebook doesn't make money, unless the advertiser is driving traffic to them.  So Facebook, really helps you drive traffic to your website or Facebook event, or page.  They target Facebook users which will most likely want your product, or event.

My example, from Paintball Paradise (my business), was a trade show event.  I was able to target young people, within 50 miles of Prince Albert, that liked Paintball, or mentioned Paintball in their Facebook pages, or Walls.  I could take male or females, and various age categories.  If I wasn't getting a great response I could increase the target audience, in various ways.  I also capped my Budget for click per day, so once the budget was met, the ads stopped running.  Creating the Ad was short and easy to do (you need a good picture, and short bit of text).

This is a great link that helps explain, how and why to use Facebook Ads.  The links below is for businesses, but the information applies to Optimist Clubs as well.

The above links goes through 5 Steps to a successful Facebook Ad campaign.

Here's some quick thoughts from my perspective. 

Step 1: Identify Your Goals
Do you want to build your fan base, drive sales (attendees to events or sell tickets and such), or just build awareness of your Club, and the good it does in your community?  Maybe sign up new members?

Step 2: Target the Right People
This is the extremely powerful tool.  You can choose: an area (within 50 miles), or just a city or town, languages, age, gender, Likes and Interests (like what I did for Paintball, but it could be for Oratorical, Essay, poetry, hearing impairments, Police, Law & Order, Junior Golf, sport teams, and such), Relationship Status (singles dances), scouting, guides).  Play around and see how many fit into your category, before ever launching the campaign.

Step 3: Design an Engaging Ad
Make sure you mention your own local city or town name, otherwise facebookers might not check it out because they figure it's in Toronto or somewhere else.  Call to action, tell them what they need to do.  Click here and sign up.

Step 4: Manage Your Budget
CPC vs CPM : Determine if you want to pay on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) basis.  I prefer CPC, but it depends on what you need, and what works.  Set your daily budget, and bid price per CPC or CPM.  If you bid too low, Facebook doesn't run your ads, until everybody with a higher bids runs out of daily budget.  I did this, and nobody clicked through (too low), so I upped the bid the next day, and started to get clicks.  Minimum budget is $5 per day.  Bid prices vary between $.05-$2 per click, but they will give you an example of a good range.

Step 5: Review and Improve
The reports are great, so check them out.  They will tell you who is clicking through, every deomographic.  Very easy to use, and maybe you will need to modify your campaign.  Change it up and experiment.  Let us know, how you do.

Facebook has many free resources to help you design better ads, because if you aren't successful, they are not successful either.  They want you to succeed.  

Sponsored Stories
There are also things called Facebook "Sponsored Stories".  I have not tried these but they could work too for your club.  This is a link to Facebooks Sponsored Stories.

Experiment, play around, see what works and what doesn't.  Let everybody know, share that information.  This will help our clubs grow and do bigger and better projects in our communities.

Module 1: Getting Started

Making the decision to create a website for your not-for-profit organization or service club is not something to be taken lightly.  It will take time and effort of many volunteers, and once the website is made publicly available, it must be continually maintained.

There are many factors that need to be considered, and I hope that this Module will provide you with some insight into the process behind the planning and preparation required to build a club blog / website.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Welcome George Lewko & Building Club Websites Returns

Hi All.

George Lewko
I just wanted to pass along a couple of updates.  First, I want to welcome George Lewko as a contributing author to "Put Your Club Online".  George, like myself, is self taught on using Facebook and Blogger for building club websites.  George has just authored an article on adding a Google Calendar gadget to an existing Blogger club website in the navigation column.  I hope you'll appreciate his efforts and our different styles.

We welcome anyone else who wants to contribute their knowledge and experience in building a club website, using Facebook or Twitter, or using other online services for your club.  It just takes a little time and soon you'll get published.

I've decided to re-release the Put Your Club Online Lessons that we previously published.  You should start seeing a new article appear every other day.  The first module "Getting Started" contains 13 lessons.  Once a Complete Module has been released, we will make that content and any supplementary items available as a PDF guide.

Adding a Google Calendar to your Blog

I found this fantastic "Widget" or Gadget in Blogger.  Add a Google Calendar.  There are a few ways of doing this, but I've used two of them.
  1. You can add either add an entire Goggle Calendar to your blog or website, or
  2. Add a summary of Up Coming Events, say the next 5 Events listed in your club's Goggle Calendar (5 can be changed).
I've added both our my Club's Blog site, the entire Goggle Calendar is found at the bottom of the page, and I've added 2 separate Google summary Calendars to the upper right hand side (The first one being the next 5 Forthcoming Events [which automatically deletes old events and adds new ones], and a Special Events Summary of the next 5 Birthday's and Anniversary's of Club members and spouses.

Check them out at

To add the big monthly calendar to your website or blog, requires a public calendar in Google Calendar.  Google Calendar will generate the html code for you to add to your website, after you have made any tweaks (size, shape, color, monthly, weekly, and such).

In Google Calendar, you must choose your Goggle Calendar to be shared (I have several), and click "Calendar Settings".  Remember this must be a public Goggle Calendar to work, so you must turn this on in the Calendar Settings, which does make the Goggle Calendar visible to search engines.

If you look down, you will see "Embed This Calendar", right next to a small calendar.  On the right side of the small calendar, you will see "Customize color, size and other options", which lets you do some customizing.  After you have customized the Goggle Calendar the way you like it, click "Update HTML".  Then "Copy and paste the HTML below to include this calendar on your webpage", copy this code.

This is the code you place in your webpage, or into your blog.  In to your blog, you need to pick a new "widget" (add a gadget).  You need to pick "HTML/Java Script".  Cut and paste your Google Calendar Html into it.
You have added a large Google Calendar to your blog.

To add a Summary of the next 5 Events, you will add another "Widget" or add a gadget.  Do a search for "Events", and the first one to come up in the search will be "Forthcoming Google Events Calendar".  Choose it.

It will ask for a "Email address, or unique *@google.com address (where * is the unique ID for your calendar)", you find this in your Google Calendar, under "Calendar settings".  Below "Embed this calendar" is "Calendar Address"  To the right of this you will find "Calendar ID:" *@google.com, cut and paste this Calendar ID into the "Widget".  Pick the number of items to be displayed, I used 5.  Change the Title is you want.  Click "Save".

You should now have a small summary of the next 5 events in your Google Calendar.

If you have questions on Google Calendar, I'll be making up a quick guide for it next.

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