The Internet is a place where people like to hang out. It’s no surprise that many groups and communities have their websites, which offer information about the group and its members, events listings, photos, and many more.
Like any website, community websites need to be accessible (so everyone can access them), easy to use (so they don’t need a lot of technical knowledge), attractive-looking so people will want to revisit them.
This article gives you some practical information on setting up your local website or improving an old one.
Choosing a web provider is the first and most crucial step. If you want your community website to be successful, you must use a website that offers many features and plenty of ways for members to interact with each other, as well as those who run the site.
It would help if you also considered cost, customer service, ease of use, and how well they integrate with other sites.
The website provider may also act as the hosting provider. If not, you will need to find one yourself or ask your provider for recommendations (if they can’t provide hosting themselves).
The actual cost of this depends on the size of your website and the number of visits it gets. You can probably get hosting for free or for a meager price for a small local community site.
A key concern when choosing to host is security, so make sure they have enough knowledge to help protect your website from hacking, spamming, and other cybercrimes.
It’s not a good idea to choose a hosting provider with basic security because it would be easier for someone to hack into your website and place misleading information or even cause other problems.
AI Chatbot Platform
It’s beneficial if your website can offer an online helpdesk. It makes it easy to solve problems without waiting on hold on a phone line or sending an email and waiting for a reply.
An AI chatbot platform offers your visitors more chances to connect with your team and resolve problems quickly. It’s also a great way to automate many tasks and save time for your customer service team.
Content Management System (CMS)
When you need to add new pages, photos, videos, events listings, and more, you’ll be able to do it yourself with a CMS.
It means you don’t have to wait on the website provider’s customer service to add new features or change how things look. Most websites have this feature, but not all CMS systems are the same. Think about what you want from a CMS and how you will use it in your community website.
You can choose a provider that lets you quickly add new pages and content without learning any coding yourself, but you also need to keep in mind that other website features (such as the chatbot) may not work with the default CMS.
Having an easy-to-use navigation system that helps visitors find their way around your community website is also very important.
It should be consistent across the site, attractive and well designed, and use a search function if possible. It will make it easy to find information for new members or returning visitors who want to see what’s new.
Creating a unified design for your website does require some graphic design knowledge. Still, you can get it done by someone with minimal experience because many tools help you create the visual elements of your site without knowing much about Photoshop or other professional graphic programs.
A well-designed site makes a good impression on visitors. If your website looks unorganized or poorly designed, it can discourage them from staying there to explore, find the information they need, and share their content.
A unified design helps keep things consistent so everyone will know what each page is for and where they should go next.
Forum Page or Community Discussion Board
Community forums and message boards are great for making members feel like they’re part of a wider community.
They can share information about events they want to attend, the latest news happening in their city or town, and discuss issues that affect them all. It’s an easy way for people to share knowledge and learn from each other.
There are many boards and forums, so you need to know what your community website should offer. It’s a good idea to include them on your site because it encourages participation from visitors and because Google likes websites that have this sort of user-generated content.
So, these are some basics that you need to think about when setting up your community website. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating a website that members will love and use often.