Since we released our next-generation themes (more on the way!), we've seen many clubs, districts and even zones create something unique by ultimately making these themes their own. With the array of page layout and customization options, there is so much you can do to your site to keep it looking unique and unlike others. This month, we're featuring Rotary District 5810 in Texas.
There are many elements that make up good design and we'll go over just a few of them, how District 5810 mastered those elements and how you can too.
Connecting with the visitor
Your website is a hub from where visitors can find all the information they need about your organization and proceed further. It is what connects you with your audience and is your chance to make a good first impression for those trying to learn more about your group. Connecting with the visitor is about forming that impression, creating the journey for the visitor to easily find the information they seek and engaging them.
Check out this article to learn how you too can embed a video to your ClubRunner website from YouTube, Vimeo and other such services. This works on stories as well as custom widgets on your homepage and custom/site pages.
Using the "Full Width Top Band + Rest Bands' page layout, they used white space to their advantage by aesthetically breaking their content up into blocks through HTML customization. But you too can achieve a similar look by using the built-in template blocks and tables.
White space is important as it gives your content some breathing room so that text and images together don't make your site look cluttered. By being able to effectively separate and distance the different content blocks/widgets, it becomes easier to allow the text to stand out on it's own.
The perfect balance
Balance refers to many design elements:
- a balance between imagery and text
- a balance in the aesthetics
- a balance of colors
- a balance in the weight of the elements
- and more
Today, it's become essential to try and keep your content simple yet informative. Many of us browse websites on our phones while we're on the go, and as a result tend to skim through information. The challenge that all website designs face is how to combat this - how to present informative content in the most effective way possible. District 5810 manages to balance the design by breaking the content blocks into rows and by size using what's known as a grid based layout.
Wondering how you too can create a band similar to the "20 Reasons to Join Rotary" as shown in the image above, without using HTML? Place your custom widget on your homepage, then simply use the editor to add a table. In the table settings, ensure you select 1 row and 1 column, select your background color and keep your table width setting at 100%. Then, simply type in your text into the table and link it to any page you'd want.
With a blend of text, imagery and videos, they make it easy to allow the visitor to get to what they want to read about. Even within each content block, they maintain a balance in the weight of the fonts, size and color so as to not overwhelm the reader.
Bonus tip! When you add widgets to your homepage, did you know that you can control the padding between the text and the widget borders?
Engagement - it's always changing!
This is what keeps the visitors coming back. The best websites are dynamic and are constantly being updated with content to reflect new priorities, showcase the latest projects, activities, and answer the latest questions members and non-members might have. Though this seems obvious, it's difficult to dedicate time to update the website but it doesn't have to be, and there are many benefits of doing so! For example, a website that is regularly updated with newer content is more likely to appear in the top results in search engines like Google and it also signifies that you are an active organization, which will come in handy for membership development.
Helpful tips from the community:
We asked clubs to share some tips on how they work on creating fresh content for their website and here is what they had to say:
- Page Owner: Consider giving 'page access' to a specific member without granting them access to the entire website. Doing so will allow the member to update the page with fresher content without affecting the homepage design. You can do this with both site pages as well as custom pages.
- Rotaract Volunteers: We begin forming a relationship with Rotaractors by asking them to volunteer some time for the club. They often help us edit videos from our meetings and club activities so we are able to post these on our site. Bonus? They get to know our club members so well that we know we have new members on the way!
- Team: We have a team of 4 in charge of the website. They split the duties of writing out meeting minutes, stories for the site, taking pictures at meetings, etc. and then save their content in draft mode on the site during the week. Every week, they just publish their stories, which the bulletin editor adds to the newsletter and sends away. Great because even if one member is away on vacation, we still have a team to fall back on.
- Source resources: For content, we use all the resources available to us. We share a lot of content from Rotary.org as our main focus is promoting Rotary. From videos to status updates on End Polio now, we always dip into the resources at hand.
- Involve family: Our club invites children to help volunteer. In Ontario, high school students are required to have 40 volunteer hours under their belt to graduate. We add them as honorary members to our club and they help us with our site - it's a win-win.
What does your club do to keep its site fresh? Click on the banner below to check out District 5810's site.