In compiling the Greenbelt Online Directory I found dozens of clubs, teams and groups that have no web presence at all – at least that I could find by Googling their name. These days, people assume that if a group isn’t online, it must not even exist – really~! And there are myriad advantages to having the basics about an organization online somewhere, so here are some easy ways to get online, fast and free or almost free.
Have your own page here on Greenbelt Live
Send me your group’s basic information and maybe a photo or two and I’ll create your own web page and web address, which you can distribute to people. This is a free service, and I’m happy to update the information occasionally.
Create a free site on Blogger.com
Even better, with no website skills at all you can have your own website online in less than an hour by using the free blogging program Blogger.com, which is the most popular blogging program in the world and is now owned by Google (isn’t everything?) And yes, I’m talking about a website, not a blog. Because blogging programs are so easy to use, people started asking for ways to use them for static websites, and blogging programs have obliged by now offering static pages, in addition to the blog “posts” that scroll down the main page.
An example is the website I created for Greenbelt’s community gardens just the other day in about three hours, including customizing the colors and fonts and creating the header with a photo I took in one of the gardens. It’s very simple, but if you look in the left sidebar you’ll see that there are other pages, and there could be many more if needed.
Really, this site is so easy to use, eventually I’ll bet other Greenbelt gardeners will be adding or editing content – not just text but photos, too.
Another example of a Greenbelt website using Blogger.com is the Greenbelt Writers Group. Notice in their web address the “blogspot”? That could be eliminated if the group purchased their domain name. More about that below.
Other blogging programs can be used to create static websites but they’re generally not free, and they’re more complicated; I can certainly say that about Typepad and WordPress, both of which I’ve used.
Now if your website needs are complicated, then by all means spend some bucks. For this blog I paid $50 for a custom template for WordPress, which is hosted for no additional cost on my regular hosting account ($10/month) that covers this and several other websites and blogs I publish.
Get your own domain
Now here’s where you’d be well served to spend just a bit for your site. If it were here on Greenbelt Live the web address might look like this: www.greenbeltlive.com/bridgeclub/ and on Blogger.com it would look like: www.greenbeltbridgeclub.blogspot.com. Either one of those works fine but I recommend instead that you spend the $7-10 per year to buy your very own domain name – in this example www.GreenbeltBridgeClub.org, which you can just point to the longer web address. It’s easier to send people to, and if you decide later to get your own website or move it from Blogger.com, you can just point your domain name to the new destination, while continuing to use the same URL (web address).
There are several reputable domain name dealers I recommend: Dreamhost and 1and1 (which I’ve used for years) and Hostgator. It’s very easy to buy and then direct or forward to the actual location of your web page or whole website.
Just leave them in a comment and I’ll answer as best I can, based on my blogging and website-creating experience. I’m no technie, which is why I can suggest solutions for other non-techies.