Scouting Home Page setup tips

1. Deciding what should go on the page (and what shouldn't)

So, you want to create a home page for your Scouting or Guiding unit (or group, or pack or whatever) ? How do you start ?

You shouldn't start by writing HTML documents. No, like always, you should start by planning ("Be Prepared", remember ?). What should you take into consideration ?

  • Target audience.
    You can aim at internal communication (members, leaders, parents), but it never hurts to advertise your program to the outside world. This includes people looking for a group to join, but also leaders of other units looking for neat ideas.
    Your best choice is probably to aim at all of these potential audiences. But make sure people are able to find their way through the site.
  • General information
    Since there is such a varied audience, you should give brief descriptions of things like
    • What is Scouting?
    • What is [name of the unit]?
    • Where are we located?
  • Specific information for a specific audience
    • Information on how to join (+ a contact address !!!)
    • Upcoming events - useful for members, leaders and parents
    • ...
  • Fun
    Make the page fun, and show that your program is fun. (e.g. show pictures of your summer camp and other activities; lots more fun than reading the troop by-laws)
  • Links
    Make sure you include links to related sites: the web-site of your National Scouting Organization (if there is one), District or Council pages etc. But also links to other local community sites, or whatever is appropriate. Don't forget your sponsor if you have one !
But please restrain yourself:
  • Privacy considerations.
    Don't give out information that might hurt you or the members of your group. Home addresses or phone numbers of your Guides have no place on the web page. The members can look them up through other means, and outsiders have no business knowing such information.
    Also, ask people for permission before listing their e-mail address or other information like that. The same is true for pictures.
  • In general:
    As long as your page complies with the Scout or Guide law, it's probably OK.

There is probably a lot more to say about this topic. Suggestions are welcome.

Other links about this topic:

2. Creating the pages

So much to be said about this topic (and so little time; I will write about this at some moment....)

Don't forget to take a look at some existing web sites, and view their HTML source ! This might give you some nice ideas to use. But don't copy something literally without permission. The fact that something is published on the web doesn't make it public property !

Other links about this topic:

3. Finding your home on the web

Maybe you already have some space on the web. Many internet accounts at commercial providers include a (limited) space on their web server. Or, maybe you are a student who is allowed to have a page at one of the university computers. Or your employer is kind enough to let you use one of the computers at work.

But for the less fortunate: don't despair ! There are plenty of oportunities to get web space for free (or in exchange for allowing some commercial message on your page !).

International providers of free web space

(many more links still to be added and tested

Local providers of free web space

If you know more such services, please let me know.

Other lists of providers of free space:

4. Maintaining the pages

Whatever you decide to put on your site, make sure you keep your page up to date! If people see last year's calender of events, they probably won't bother to look at the rest of the site. Believe me, I recently came across a page which proudly mentioned that some of their scouts were going to go to the 1995 World Jamboree (yes, future tense). Need I say more?

The same goes for addresses, links to web pages etc. No information is usually better than outdated information.

This page has been translated into Spanish language by Maria Ramos from Webhostinghub.com/support/edu.

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