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  • Communications

Websites for Big Local areas and groups

November 2015

Do you need a website?

The answer to this will depend on various factors. What other means of communication already exist? Will you be able to set up a website, and also maintain it? Is it appropriate for the people you want to reach?

The more channels you can communicate through, the better. But that can also be very demanding on your time and resources. So decide, together with everyone who’s interested – do you really need a website? How will it fit with all the other things you do? How do you want to use it? And what do you hope to achieve with it?

Here are some notes to help you.

Audience

Knowing your audience – who you are trying to reach – is essential for any form of communication. Decide who your audience is (you might have more than one). Do they have any particular needs? Is a website the best way to speak to them? How will they find it? What action do you expect them to take after they have visited it?

Thinking through these questions should help you to work out how your website fits in with what you're doing and with your other communications.

Content – what’s going on it?

In your group, discuss what content you want to share and what functions you want. You might have quite a long list, so decide what your priorities are.

Don't feel you have to pack a website full of content - some really good ones consist of a single webpage with basic information. And don't feel you have to treat all your content the same way - some material works better on other, linked platforms. Say you want to share galleries of all your photos. You could upload them to Facebook or Flickr and just feature one or two of the best on the website.

Finally, think of the website as part of your overall communications strategy. Don't neglect other methods, both low and hi-tech. For example, if you want to promote an event, you could also share it on Facebook and put up posters in the area.

How much time do you have?

If there isn’t enough time to manage all the things that everyone wants the website to do, then it will just have to do less. That may be no bad thing - it’s better to do one or two things really well, than try and do lots of things and not achieve any of them.

Who’s going to build it?

There are many options for building your own website, with easy-to-use templates. Wordpress is just one example. This is sometimes free, depending on the templates you want to use.

If you are looking to have a website built for you, you need to be clear about what you want. The first thing is to write a brief. You might then approach local professionals, in which case it is good practice to get several quotes for the work. Or you might have an arrangement with someone willing to build the website at low or no cost, if it helps them with getting experience or getting their work seen.

Whoever builds the website, it needs to be easy to use. So make sure that in-putting and updating content can be managed by various people, not just by the person who built the website. For this you'll need a web-content management system.

Finally, don't forget copyright law. The creator of the work has exclusive copyright, and the only way that copyright can be transferred is through a signed contract. So it's a good idea to agree early on that the rights to the website are with Big Local, rather than with the person who built the website. This will avoid the risk of losing it in the future.

Who’s going to manage it?

The content might be managed by volunteers, or it might be part of someone's paid role for Big Local.

A web content management system means that people with little or no programming knowledge can use tools to add and edit content. If they are keen to learn new skills, you may want to offer some training, technical or creative, such as how to post a news story or job advert, write for the web, edit photos, and so on.

Share the work

Sharing the work means that it doesn’t become too much for one or two people, and it doesn’t just represent the views of one person. Some Big Local areas have sub-groups to share the work so that a number of people can feed in their ideas.

Make sure that more than one person has the log-in details, so that you don’t get locked out of your website or lose the information if that person goes away.

Branding and logos

Big Local areas are required to acknowledge the Big Lottery Fund by using the logo on publicity materials, including websites. This is so that people who take part in Big Local activities know that the funding for them has come from the Big Lottery Fund. Big Lottery Fund’s logo and guidelines can be downloaded from http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/index/grant-uk/logo/logo_download.htm

It is not a requirement, but we also encourage Big Local areas to use the Local Trust | Big Local logo on publicity materials and press releases. You can download our logo here http://localtrust.org.uk/media

Big Local areas can also create their own logos and use these as well as the Local Trust | Big Local logo, or instead of them. If you are not using a Big Local logo, you should mention Big Local on your website to associate yourselves with the wider programme.

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