We spend a lot of time teaching people how to use Blogger.com to keep a Blog. We define a Blog as a website with dated entries displayed in reverse chronological order. They are usually used as a journal. We keep a log of our travels on our Blog, as do many of you.
The reason blogs are so easy is because you use a web-based program like Blogger.com or WordPress.com to make them. These are also completely free.
What I want you to think about now is using the blogging software (Blogger or WordPress) to create a club website. I know lots of clubs, RV parks, FMCA chapters, or Good Sam groups that want to have a website of their own. Most of them tap the skills of a member who knows how to create regular old websites. That means than nothing gets added or changed on the website except what that one person will do. If the club loses that one person, they lose the website.
Winter before last, we stayed at Palm Creek RV in Casa Grande, Arizona. We got involved with several of the activities and clubs there, so I set them up with a blog for several of the clubs. It has a main page, with links to all the different clubs:
Each ‘page’ is actually a separate blog, but it’s all under one account, and I used the same template so they all look the same. When you click on the Pickleball club, you see:
This page is being maintained by someone in charge, or at least very involved in the Pickleball club. If the time comes that she doesn’t want to do it anymore, it’s pretty easy to show someone else how. And notice the menu of links at the right which include the club calendar and the club photo album. These are the free tools of Google Calendar and Google (Picasa) Web Albums. You can click on the images above to visit the real pages if you like.
To use Blogger, I had to create makeshift pages by creating separate blogs and tying them all together with links. If you use WordPress, creating pages is part of the package. The RV.net blog is much more complex than any club would create, but it’s a good example of what’s possible. This is not a simple journal, it is an industry website with articles by 30+ authors. And, it’s all done with WordPress. There is an extensive menu system which navigates to separate pages, like the Authors page, and to groupings of articles.
WordPress is a little more difficult than Blogger, but you have more options. Alberta Roamers is an example of using WordPress for a RVing group’s website. Notice the menu at the top – those are pages. Also notice the categories at the right – those are groups of blog posts organized by categories.
A reader recently asked me about using Google Sites to create a website for her club. This is another free service and, yes, you could make your club site with it but a blog would be much easier. You see a ‘regular old website’ is something that you have to create each page, lay it out and attach it to a menu option somewhere. A blog is actually a database of entries which can then be laid out simply by choosing settings. For example, in the Alberta Roamers site, you’ll see a category called ‘Lunches’ and another called ‘Events.’ If this was done on a ‘regular-old-website’ you would have had to create a page called Lunches and another called Events, and it would be up to you to have a menu option somewhere linked to Lunches and one linked to Events.
Let’s say you decided that you didn’t need ‘Lunches’, you wanted to call everything an Event. In the regular-old-website you would need to copy all the content from the Lunches page and put it on the Events page, then you would need to remove the Lunches page, and remove it also from all menus where it had been displayed. In the blogging software, all you have to do is change the category of the Lunches post to Events – they will automatically come under the Events link now and the Lunches link would go away because there’s nothing there.
Also, Blogs allow for comments, so it can become a 2 way conversation. A wonderful feature for a club website.
We would love to hear from any of you who have a club blog. Leave us a comment with a link to your blog.