Create a blog, website and e-newsletter
Here's our advice for starting a website, blog or newsletter
Build a simple website
A website can help make your activities or group look professional and official — it can create a home and an identity for your community or project. With the right management it can provide an important presence and service to your community. Simply lay out all of your key information that everyone needs to know in a clear and concise fashion and keep it easy to follow.
For inspiration, take a look at a few of your favourite websites and see how the information is organised. Look at websites for similar projects to your own and pick the best bits to recreate for yourself.
There are some great do-it-yourself online tools that enable you to create a straightforward website without much technical know-how:
- Wix is a great free tool that makes things pretty straightforward
- 1&1 offers a complete service for a relatively small monthly fee
- WordPress is very professional and offers a variety of customisable options, but may be a bit tricky for the novice creator
Write an ongoing blog
Treat blogs as a kind of newsletter or open diary and you won’t go far wrong. If you are on a continuing journey with your project then a blog is a great way to share your experiences and raise awareness. Bloggers can be mums writing about the trials, triumphs and tribulations of bringing up children or they can be rookie gardeners or cooks learning new skills. If you are writing about something useful and interesting in an open and honest way then there may be an audience out there who want to know how you're getting on.
The top tips are to keep each entry short (500–1000 words) and to keep it regularly updated so people are encouraged to follow your progress. If you're handy with a camera and know your way around YouTube then you may even want to try vlogging (that's video blogging to the uninitiated!).
Start an e-newsletter
Email is a straightforward way to share information and encourage feedback. Sending out monthly e-newsletters that link back to your website or blog can be regular little reminders for people to keep them engaged with your project.
Remember not to write too much in your newsletter as people can be put off by seeing huge amounts of text to read in an email. Simply write a headline or taster and then link back to your site for the full story. If you use tools like MailChimp then you can monitor the responses and ensure that no one gets spammed. If you do use a standard email account for a circular, put the email addresses in the 'BCC' box so they’re not visible to everyone and put your own address in the 'To' box. Remember, however you use email, make sure that your data is clean and that if someone says they don’t want to be emailed again, they aren’t!
Stay up to date with our own communications by signing up to our monthly e-newsletter!