Why Have a Website?
Before we go into the how to’s, we need to understand the reason to have a website.
1. What is the purpose of your website?
Ideally, a Rotary website’s purpose is to tell the Rotary club’s story and Rotary International’s story. There is usually not enough time in club meetings to inform members about what is happening in their club and in the Rotary world.
2. Who is the target audience for your website?
The target audience for a Rotary website at any level is members and potential members.
3. What kind of website do you want?
There are 2 major types of websites.
a. The first kind of website has a static or unchanging home or landing page. This kind of website is appropriate for e-commerce for businesses such as Home Depot, Hewlett-Packard, Adobe, banks and other service businesses. The visitor to this kind of site already knows what they want and will go to menus to find what they are seeking.
b. The second kind of website has a home page that has a recognizable banner or overall heading, but the content section is constantly changing. The examples of this are news sites such as: Yahoo.com, CBS.com, etc.
Visitors to a news site do not know what they are looking for. They want to find out what is happening (or in the case of Rotary, what is Rotary all about.) Because the visitor doesn’t have any idea about what Rotary is all about, the content has to generate enough interest to have the site visitor (member or potential member) click on a link to find out more about the story.
The content on a Rotary website must be in the form of a story about how Rotary changes lives. Rotary is not a product or service. Rotary is about how members join together as community leaders to exchange ideas about how to make their community better. Once they decide on a plan, then these leaders work together to take the actions necessary to carry out their plan. The results not only transform their recipients, but also give Rotary’s members the emotional satisfaction of making a difference.
4. What is the message you want your website to convey to a visitor?
This question becomes one which each club or district has to decide. It is about the culture of the club or district.
Background: For the next generation of potential members, the first impression they get about Rotary is most often going to be digital. If the digital (i.e website, newsletter, and social media information) impression isn’t satisfactory, the person who might be interested in Rotary won’t be motivated to even make the effort to attend the first meeting.
5. What information do you want to put up on your website?
What information do you want to be primary? Is it the schedule of upcoming events? Is it stories of how Rotary changes lives? Is it a story about the latest District function?
Remember that the site visitor wants to find out – What’s in it for me?
6. Who is going to maintain the website.
A Rotary website has to have frequent updates of home page content. Who is going to do that? Who is going to write the stories?
7. How often are you going to add new content to your website?
Ideally there should be new content weekly, but new content should appear at least twice a month.
The content doesn’t have to be just from the club or district. RI provides some excellent videos that can be used.
8. Is your club ready to welcome new members? (Does your club greet visitors?_______
Are visitor’s invited to sit with members or do your members just get their food and sit down and not interact with a visitor (Rotarian or non Rotarian)?________________
9. Who is on your membership committee?
Answer – everyone in your club or district is on the membership committee.
All Rotarians need to be able to answer the question – What is Rotary?
e.g Rotary invites people to join community leaders to build relationships in order to exchange ideas and then take action to change lives in the community and the world. We also have fun in the process.