Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Southern Crescent Cycling Website

This past week I've been working on a new website for my local bike club, Southern Crescent Cycling. In 2010 the club had a website that was maintained by someone else.  That site administrator charged a fee.  I think the club paid about $600 per year.  That may not be much money, but the club's annual budget is only a few thousand dollars.  So, in 2011 the board decided to forgo the formal website and utilize Facebook instead.  Most of the members had already been using Facebook to coordinate rides and post pictures.  It worked well for those day to day, more spur of the moment things.  However, Facebook seemed to be lacking as a way to provide the club with a true identity on the web and as a place for non members to find out about us.  I discussed this with the club's officers at our Winter Party in early January and decided to see what I could do.  I spoke with club sponsor Tim Cannady of AdvoCare about it.  He had already started construction of a website for the club under his existing Weebly account.  I liked what Tim had started but I felt uncomfortable using his site.  So, I decided to strike out on my own.

Weebly Website Access Page
I created a Weebly account for myself.  I hadn't used Weebly before but it seems to work well.  I started with a free account.  After a few days I upgraded to a Pro account for $72 for two years.  A Pro account has added features like video and secure pages.  The club has a domain somewhere but using it had unknown obstacles to conquer so I chose a new domain and started to work.  The new domain was BikeSCC.org.  It's similar to the Southern Bicycle Leagues domain and easier to type than SouthernCrescentCycling.com.  Short and Sweet!  The domain costs $40 for one year.  I know that's a lot just to register a domain but I figured I was paying for convenience.

Weebly Website Editing Interface
The Weebly interface allows the user to select from a list of predefined templates.  Various features are simply dragged and dropped into the template pages.  More pages are easily added as needed.  As I get used to the Weebly interface I realize that it relies heavily on Google apps.  Google handles any e-mail issues easily.  Forwarding emails took a minute to figure out though.  Google maps and calendars can be added to web pages by dragging and dropping a "CUSTOM HTML" box onto the page and pasting the HTML embeded code into the box.  Getting the calendar settings correct for public viewing is a bit of a puzzle though.  Once I figured that out I was happy!

So, please go to the new Southern Crescent Cycling website and let me know what you think.

Southern Crescent Cycling's New Website
In addition to creating a new website I setup on-line membership registration through Active.com. Here's a link to that bit of work - Join us! 

It seems that a marriage between facebook and a somewhat static website will be the best bet for my club to keep members informed.  I hope that's the case!

Thanks for reading.

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