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How to quickly and cheaply create a web presence for your charity

Having a presence on the web is a great way to bring the work of your organisation to a wider audience. Just like having an entry in the yellow pages was a decade ago, having a website or other destination on the web means that people interested in your work (either as potential users of your services, or potential volunteers, staff or donors) can find out more about you and, most importantly, how to get in touch with you.

It's very possible to spend a lot of time and money setting up your organisation's web presence. Luckily, there are also some cheap and quick ways you can get your organisation online.

Things you'll need

  • An email address
  • Your organisation's colours, logo and contact details
  • A little bit of time
1

What sort of web presence do you want?

Before you get cracking you need to think about what sort of web presence your organisation actually wants.

  • Do you want to have something that gives visitors information about your work? Then you probably want a webpage.
  • Do you want a forum to allow supporters to discuss subjects relating to your organisation? Then you probably want a community site.
  • Do you want to have your own customised site that you can quickly update with nuggets of news? Then a blog is for you.
  • Do you just want a space where people can easily find you? The a Facebook Page may be all that you need. 

Having decided on what you need, then you can choose the tool to create your online presence.

2

Creating a webpage

There a number of websites that will allow you to build a webpage for your organisation at no cost. Just Google ‘free website’ or check out:

Many of these free sites will let you choose from a menu of colours, layouts and images for your page so you don't need to know anything about how it all works under the bonnet.

Often these sites are free, but in effect you pay for their services by having them place adverts on your site. If you don’t want the ads, then you can usually pay a small fee to have them removed.

3

Building a community site

If you want to give your supporters or staff or service-users somewhere to talk about issues relating to your work, then you want a community site.

These sites offer tools like forums and chat, events and messaging. Some sites to check out are:

Again, free options are often available and funded through advertising.

4

Launching a blog

A blog (or web-log) is a site which is very quickly and easily updated, presenting the updates in chronological order on a page. While the layout is often simplified, a blog is an excellent way to keep your supporters posted about what you're doing.

If it’s a blog that you’re after, then you can get excellent free ones from:

Freebies exist but again you can pay a little extra for extra functions, or improved design or reduced advertising.

There's more information about getting started with a blog in this How To guide.

5

Use Facebook

Over 1.23 billion people have Facebook accounts and this number continues to rise. It’s easy and free to set up a page for your organisation that can often act as your online destination.

Some good, step by step instructions about setting up a Facebook page can be found on the Facebook For Non-Profits website.

6

Tell people about your site

Whichever way you decide to create your webpresence, you should make a careful note of the URL of your page or site. Your URL is the address of the page, and is often something like www.yoursite.com

Many of the free sites and site-builders will give you a URL which incorporates their own site name, so for instance: www.myfreesite.weebly.com

Facebook allows you to create what it calls a 'vanity URL' to make your Facebook page address a lot easier to remember.

Whatever the page's URL, use it in your emails and on your newsletters and posters to bring people to your site.

About your domain name

If you require a specific name you will be able to buy it for one year, or two or more, on site such as:

www.123-reg.co.uk
www.nominet.org.uk

Read carefully before you buy the domain name, many site will offer options you might not need. For example, they will offer x numbers of email addresses, x web capacity, e-commerce option, etc, that is why it is key to plan your website. What you website will need to do for its end users will also affect the hosting options.

Further information

This how-to gives some information about creating a website cheaply and quickly and without a lot of technical knowledge.

 

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Page last edited Jul 25, 2017 History

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