Follow the trail
We give some pointers on what could be of use to small to medium size organisations around using the internet. This is not intended to be a comprehensive approach, more what we have found, or know is, useful.
- Getting started on the Web.
- Online Communication - discussion lists and now extended to blogs, News Feeds and Podcasts.
- Web Site development. Easy web pages, tools.
- Web Accessibility/Design issues page, and also a Web glossary.
- Web-based facilities now have there own page - contact communication, client management, project working tools.
- Web Services page covers Web site designers and (internet) service providers (the latter can provide hosting and email facilities).
- Using email and web technology as a campaigning tool.
- Web in Practice for some good or interesting charity sector examples on using the internet.
- General computer tech tips.
- IT and internet books.
This page is a briefings/listings style cross, part of Specialist IT section.
Making the Net Work is putting together 'how to' guidance for those wanting to get their organisation or neighbourhood online.
See our sample Key questions for an Online Communication Strategy. What should you consider before you get stuck in?
ICT Knowledgebase Internet section.
There is no point us reproducing information widely available on such sites as WebMonkey (for technical advice and info) or TheFreeSite (for guides on free software or services). The search facility on Whatis.com is another rated service.
Writing for the Web is a corporate training firm, but has useful articles on its site.
Microsoft Developers Network has published a 3 pager, Critical Thinking in Web and Interface Design, which web developers ought to read, and others can take note of the questions which ought to be asked. We have reproduced the latter on Web Accessibility/Design page.
American but useful: SitePoint (was PromotionBase) on how to market/use your site.
Making Sense of the Internet, Mark Watson, published by National Institute for Social Work (1998), ISBN 1 899942 23 8, £6-50. Subtitled 'a guide for small voluntary organisations', available via DSC.
Business, the Internet and the Law - 'your entry point to the world of e-commerce'. Tolley's ISBN 0 7545 0107 8 £49-95.
Coyote Communications (an American service provider to non-profits) has various TechTips on use of internet, including creating and using email newsletters.
News Feeds, Podcasts, Blogs
See CharityBlog for some live examples of sector productions.
- Blogs - WordPress software runs well on most (Linux) shared hosting (or Movable Type), needing only a small amount of techie stuff (mainly to make sure security updates are run), and you can also register on WordPress.com to use their hosted service for free (a small annual fee to use your own web address here). Google runs Blogger and there are quite a few other hosted services.
- RSS/news feeds are often available automatically from hosted blog services. FeedBurner is one service which can help promote feeds - read its introduction to RSS.
- Create podcasts using your PC - O'Reilly article spring 05.
- Corante Podcasting weblog for wider background.
- Community Media Association provides a Canstream service of high quality, low-cost online media solutions - webcasting, podcasting etc - for voluntary organisations and schools.
Simple web pages/sites
The local/regional newspaper sites listed on Local Contacts provide an easy and free way of putting voluntary group information online, although it may not be easy for those outside the newspaper's area to find.
WordPress.com can be used as a simple site with a little bit of work.
Facilities and tools
Note: info here could do with an update!
Homestead is one of the most well known free facilities. Now allows fast drag and drop site creation plus a whole host of extras, including email account. Should still be 'clubs and organisations' templates there somewhere.
LivePerson (was HumanClick) is a utility for connecting web visitors to a live, human operator.
How we got this site going
VR started out by using software from front cover CD-ROMS of such magazines as InternetWorks and .net - Arachnoid, CuteFTP and then a Dreamweaver 30 day demo. This is probably the best way to try out ideas and software. There is also a lot you can download over the web, but phone bills soon mount up with 15 minute sessions, and you usually end up without any 'getting started' documentation.
We currently use a variety of software tools, but mainly Adobe Dreamweaver for its ability to keep things simple. Kerchunga's content management technology has been retired - News, Events and Jobs on VoluntaryNews now powered by WordPress (was Drupal) as is CharityBlog. Current web link checker is Xenu's Link Sleuth.
- See our Search page for search engine facilities.