Websites! And How to Start One For Your Section

Jessica Nayes, FY09 RCNE

One of my RCNE goals for my term was to not only update the list of our section websites and emails, but also to do what I could to help some of our sections that do not yet have websites going. I have had several emails about this, but I know there are more sections that would benefit from the advice so here’s a run-down of ideas and information that I hope will send you in the right direction!

Step 1- What?

To have a successful website, think about some of the following:

  • What should we put on there?
  • What will the site be used for?
  • What do we want it to look like?

At this point focus on what you want to get out of the site. Once you get your dream website in mind it will help motivate the work later, and help guide the actual implementation of the site.

Here’s a list of information you should definitely consider having (for your section’s site):

  • Name of your section
  • Section contact info (phone number, address, email, fax, etc)
  • Calendar of events (event name, location, contact info, details, etc)
  • Links to SWE National home page, information about SWE

Here’s some additional information sections tend to have:

  • Officer list, position descriptions
  • Photo gallery
  • Sponsors page
  • Scholarship info (if the section offers any, or links to national opportunities)
  • Section bylaws
  • Merchandise
  • Committee info
  • News
  • Alumni info

Step 2- Who?

Now figure out who can help you make this dream a reality. If there are no members who know their way around creating a website, think about branching out a little to find help:

  • Does your school offer classes about website design? Consider taking one to get you started.
  • If your school does offer classes, perhaps they also have some sort of help desk or technology tutor you ask for assistance?
  • Do you have any friends, not necessarily SWE participants, that could be asked to help create the site?
  • (If you are hosting through an online site) Does your web host offer templates that anyone, regardless of skill level, can use?

Step 3- Where?

Obviously, you will need somewhere to host your website so the rest of the world can see you. In general, our local collegiate SWE sections are recognized as student organizations at their respective university, which for some, means you have web hosting provided to you through the university. If this is not the case, but your section would still benefit from having a presence on the web, try looking into some alternate options. These may include paying for web hosting or searching for free alternatives: 

FAQ

Are there any website templates that we can use?
Depending how you host your site, there may be templates available to you. These may be templates provided the web host (like for Google Sites or WordPress), or perhaps your university offers basic templates to match the general look and feel of a typical university webpage (for example: UW-Madison offers templates for a few different layouts as part of their efforts to ensure all university pages at least start out accessible). Keep in mind that not all templates are completely customizable- see how others have adapted the templates to their own needs.
Can we change the SWE logo to make it fit the graphic design of out site?
SWE Communities– Communication Resources (community)- Resources
 “SWE Logo, Tagline, and About SWE Usage & Guidelines: The SWE logo and tagline are for use by SWE members and approved vendors only. The SWE logo and tagline can be used for marketing materials, ad specialties, give-aways, signage for events, general communication and web sites. The SWE logo cannot be altered from the guidelines put forth in this document without the expressed permission of SWE leadership.”
Would it be possible to put a link to our website on the Region H website?
Absolutely! The actual Region H website at this time has the older (nonrevised) list of links to the sections, but it does link to the most current list of links (which is on the Section Websites page)
Where can we get ideas for the look and feel of our site?
Check out the other section websites in Region H (or other regions too) on the Section Websites page, browse the internet, browse through you’re favorite sites, etc.

A few more links to get you started

Looking for more? Try a search engine: the web is based off HTML, so it stands to reason that there are many resources on web design out there already! Don’t forget to email your RCNE, rcne-h@swe.org, when your section gets its new site up and going!

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