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Society Web Sites: Plain and Simple - FGS Wiki

Society Web Sites: Plain and Simple


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[[Category:Strategies for Vice-Presidents]]
  
 +
 +
INTRODUCTION
 +
A Web presence is as important to a society as a
 +
telephone number or an address. In today’s
 +
environment, if folks can’t find an answer or
 +
resource immediately, the seeker goes elsewhere. A Web presence also lists the society in
 +
on-line directories used by those who seek
 +
organizations by location or focus.
 +
Some Web opportunities for societies include
 +
creating a society Web site, listing the society at
 +
FGS Society Hall, using electronic mailing lists,
 +
posting on bulletin boards, and engaging in chat
 +
room discussions. Each option is an inexpensive
 +
way for a society to communicate with its
 +
members and promote itself to the public.
 +
OPTIONS
 +
If your society does not have a Web site, it can
 +
still be listed at no charge in Society Hall. The
 +
Society Hall welcomes Internet users who
 +
indicate an interest in family history. These
 +
visitors get important information about your
 +
society while learning about the Federation of
 +
Genealogical Societies. The site, hosted by
 +
Ancestry.com, part of MyFamily.com, accepts
 +
free listings from societies that include the
 +
organization’s membership requirements, dues,
 +
meeting dates, publications, officers, items for
 +
sale, and special events or projects. Societies
 +
from all over the United States and Canada are
 +
listed. You can visit Society Hall at <http://
 +
www.familyhistory.com/societyhall/main.asp>.
 +
For societies that have a Web site, a link from a
 +
page in Society Hall brings visitors to you.
 +
INTERNET OPPORTUNITIES
 +
An online presence enables a society to:
 +
Advertise. Creating and maintaining a Web site
 +
is becoming more affordable for even small
 +
societies. It might be as easy as using the FGS
 +
Society Hall, described above, or as simple as
 +
creating a Web site through a free Web hosting
 +
service (i.e., <freepages.rootsweb.com>). You
 +
might also register a new domain name for your
 +
society, i.e., <genealogicalsociety.org>. The
 +
registration fee and Web hosting fees for
 +
individual domain names are inexpensive and
 +
give the society a unique presence online.
 +
If you decide not to host your own site, consider
 +
sharing your meeting information and special
 +
events with USGenWeb hosts and commercial Society Web Sites: Plain & Simple
 +
Page 2 FGS Society Strategies, Set III Number 5
 +
sites. (i.e., <ancestry.com>, <genealogy.com>,
 +
<heritagequest.com>, and others).
 +
Promote Events. If you do not host your own
 +
Web site, ask others who do if they will display
 +
your event advertising. Many bulletin boards
 +
allow the posting of genealogical special events.
 +
Focus on Web sites that your potential audience
 +
will be most likely to visit. You might need to
 +
supply the text and graphics, but the exposure
 +
will broaden your opportunities.
 +
Provide Educational Opportunities. Whether
 +
you use a chat room, a mailing list, or a Web
 +
site, the Internet is an excellent tool for sharing
 +
facts about local records and their genealogical
 +
use. Even when the information is given in
 +
small snippets, genealogists appreciate learning
 +
more about the records that help their search.
 +
Adding valuable resources is as simple as
 +
providing related links for your area. Dispensing
 +
record and repository news via the Internet can
 +
build community with your members and make
 +
them and others more sophisticated users of area
 +
resources. This educational application can also
 +
generate support for records preservation when
 +
it is most needed.
 +
Post Original Records. Perhaps you have a
 +
large number of cemetery transcriptions or
 +
abstracts of local records, but decide not to
 +
produce a print publication. Instead, publish the
 +
data on the Internet. Although it is essential to
 +
include specifics about where, when, and how
 +
the information was collected, and citations that
 +
allow verification of the original source; it is not
 +
beyond the capability of most societies to post
 +
original or copied material. Easy-to-use
 +
programs such as Adobe Acrobat
 +
allow the
 +
publishing of documents on the Web where they
 +
are accessible to all. A caution: do obtain
 +
written permission from the original “owner” of
 +
the information before placing anything online.
 +
CREATE A WEB SITE
 +
Find a Home. Every site needs a good home.
 +
There are many fee-based and free “hosting”
 +
services that are eager to accommodate your
 +
Web site. Here are a few things to keep in mind
 +
when selecting a Web host.
 +
1. Reliability. Consistency of service and access
 +
to professional-level technical support are key
 +
considerations. Free hosting services rarely offer
 +
the level of reliability and technical support that
 +
fee-based services provide.
 +
2. Distractions. Free hosts often add pop-up ads,
 +
banners, and other detractions, which can be a
 +
real nuisance to visitors. This might reflect
 +
poorly on your society.
 +
3. Simplicity. The ability to access, edit, and
 +
upload your pages in a simple matter is
 +
important. Direct access to your Web site’s
 +
server using an FTP client is the standard
 +
method. FTP or File Transfer Protocol works
 +
much like Windows Explorer.
 +
4. Consider Options. Internet Service Providers
 +
(ISP) such as AOL or Yahoo!, offer limited
 +
Web hosting as part of their package. You may
 +
receive as much as 40MB of free storage space
 +
on the company's server, but even 5MB of
 +
storage could be sufficient.
 +
THE DESIGN
 +
Welcome Guests Wisely. Think of site visitors
 +
as your guests and potential society members.
 +
The design of your site should make them feel
 +
welcome and should help them find the
 +
information they seek quickly. A simple
 +
interface is important, even on a site with just a
 +
handful of pages. An all-glitter site with flashing
 +
signs and music can be exciting, but it also
 +
might suggest a lack of useful information.
 +
Maintenance. It is not uncommon for an
 +
organization to “leap without looking,” that is,
 +
design and mount a Web site without knowing
 +
the hours it takes to sustain the site. Lack of
 +
maintenance will result in a site that is soon out
 +
of date. People tend to revisit sites that have
 +
fresh and current information. So, when Society Web Sites: Plain & Simple
 +
FGS Society Strategies, Set III Number 5 Page 3
 +
planning the site, keep it simple. Follow the
 +
80/20 rule: 80% of the content is static, 20% is
 +
regularly updated. A good Web site is always a
 +
work in progress.
 +
The Planning Stage. Web developers often use
 +
flowcharts and storyboards to help them
 +
visualize the content of a site's pages and the
 +
links between them. A low-tech flowcharting
 +
program is to depict each page with a 3-by-5
 +
card and then draw lines on the cards to
 +
represent links. It may sound simplistic, but this
 +
technique gives you get a bird's-eye view of
 +
your site.
 +
Move to Reality. Although there are many
 +
programs that will help you create a Web site,
 +
the example uses a simple text editor like
 +
Notepad. Using a simple format and software
 +
will make updating your Web site easier. All of
 +
the ideas and suggestions can easily be applied
 +
to any program.
 +
Promote Your Web Site. After you have
 +
created the society Web site, submit the URL or
 +
address to the most popular search engines, and
 +
especially to the genealogical portals and link
 +
lists (both commercial and free). As Internet use
 +
continues to grow, more and more people will
 +
seek society information on the Web.
 +
Stay Alert. Visit other society Web sites for
 +
ideas and inspiration. Consider how the site can
 +
be modified and improved. Keep the
 +
information current and remember that
 +
copyright laws do apply to the Internet.
 +
HTML IN BRIEF
 +
This HTML code: Appears this way on
 +
the Web page:
 +
<H1>TheHome
 +
Page:</H1>
 +
The HomePage
 +
<P>This is the first page
 +
of our Web site.</P>
 +
This is the first page
 +
of our Web site.
 +
Tags (<H1> <P> <LI> <BR>) are the simple
 +
codes used in basic HTML or Hyper Text
 +
Markup Language, the programming language
 +
used to create web pages.
 +
Add a few special tags and formatting for an
 +
elegant Web site. Each element has an opening
 +
tag and a closing tag that surround the text you
 +
wish to format.
 +
<H1>Heading Level 1 (There are 5 levels for
 +
headings, with 1 being the largest)
 +
</H1> This is the end or closing tag to “turn
 +
off” the Heading Level 1
 +
Basic HTML Tags:
 +
Image <IMG SRC=”Image.jpg”>
 +
Page link <A
 +
HREF=http://www.southtowngs.org
 +
>Southtown Genealogical Societies
 +
Home Page</A>
 +
E-mail link <A
 +
HREF=mailto:office@southtowngs.
 +
org>Send e-mail to office</A>
 +
Bold <B> text to be shown in bold </B>
 +
Italics <I> text to be italicized </I>
 +
Center <CENTER> text or image to be
 +
centered </CENTER>
 +
Paragraphs <P> text in the paragraph </P>
 +
Left Align
 +
Text
 +
<P ALIGN=LEFT> text </P>
 +
Center
 +
Align Text
 +
<P ALIGN=CENTER> text </P>
 +
Right Align
 +
Text
 +
<P ALIGN=RIGHT> text </P>
 +
Line Break <BR> (similar to a single carriage
 +
return)
 +
Horizontal
 +
Rule
 +
<HR> (horizontal line across the
 +
page to divide sections)
 +
Page
 +
Background
 +
<BODY BACKGROUND=”URL
 +
for the background graphic to be
 +
used”>
 +
Line Item
 +
Bullet
 +
<LI> (no closing tag necessary)
 +
Use a combination of pre-planning with the
 +
flowchart approach and appropriate HTML tags
 +
to create an attractive, effective and easily
 +
maintained Web site. Consider this template:
 +
<HTML>
 +
<IMG SRC=”stwnlogo.jpg”>
 +
<H1>Southtown Genealogical Society</H1> Society Web Sites: Plain & Simple
 +
Page 4 FGS Society Strategies, Set III Number 5
 +
<P>The purpose of the Southtown Genealogical
 +
Society is to promote the study of family history,
 +
and encourage others to participate in this activity.
 +
We meet on the first Monday evening (7pm) of each
 +
month at the Southtown Public Library.</P>
 +
<B>
 +
<LI><A HREF=”memship.htm”>Membership
 +
Information</A>
 +
<LI><A HREF=”topics.htm”>Topics Scheduled this
 +
year</A>
 +
<LI><A HREF=”comm..htm”>Committees
 +
Available</A>
 +
<LI><A HREF=”contact.htm”>Contact the
 +
Society</A>
 +
</B>
 +
</HTML>
 +
The code above is for the home page, or the
 +
front page on the society’s Web site. Four
 +
additional Web pages will be created, each with
 +
file names that end in the file extension “.htm”
 +
as shown in the page links above. The code for
 +
the home page above, looks like this in a Web
 +
browser:
 +
FOR MORE INFORMATION
 +
• NGS Guide for Publishing Web Pages on the
 +
Internet
 +
<http://ngsgenealogy.org/comstandWeb.htm>
 +
• The Web Design Group Help Page
 +
<http://www.htmlhelp.com/>
 +
• Barebones Guide to HTML
 +
<http://werbach.com/barebones/>
 +
• Case Western Reserve University - Intro to
 +
HTML
 +
<http://www.cwru.edu/help/introHTML/
 +
toc.html>
 +
• Cyndi Howells has a comprehensive online
 +
guide to creating your own Web site.
 +
<http://www.CyndisList.com/construc.htm>

Latest revision as of 08:14, 14 August 2013

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