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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: squarespace for O-club websites

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 19, 2016 8:09 PM # 
johngodino:
Hola O-friends,

I have seen a fair bit of discussion on this forum about club websites. I'd like to share a solution that my club (Columbia River Orienteering Club) initiated about one year ago that's worked out very well - Squarespace.

Squarespace offers cleanly designed templates, wonderful customer support, competitive pricing, good event calendar functionality, and easy maintenance on the backend. In addition, square space gives you a 10 day free trial period for you to play around with their platform and see if it works for you.

Note that our club currently does not offer online event registration for our regular meets. It's my understanding that squarespace has some additional tools for online event registration, but I have not explored them.

If you want to dive more into it, we are using the “Bedford” template. Cost is $18 a month, prepaid annually. If you use the discount code “GIMME10” I think that gives a 10% discount off an annual plan.

Prior to this, we had a custom website built in Drupal. It looked pretty snazzy, but it cost I think around $2500 to get it off the ground, and the person who wrote it did not want to have any part in maintaining it afterwards. Finding someone locally who knew how to make needed changes turned out to be quite a headache. Squarespace might look a little more plain vanilla to some, but I can assure you that the simplicity in design and maintenance more than make up for it. (I made the website at zero cost to my club mostly over a long weekend.)

If anyone reading this is considering a makeover for their club website, I can highly recommend squarespace. If you're serious about this project, you can get in touch with me directly and ask more detailed questions about our site. I'm glad to help in anyway that I can. You can use the contact form on our website, those emails go to me.

Feel free to check out our site here: croc.org

Cheers,
John Godino
President and web gnome, CROC
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Dec 23, 2016 9:03 PM # 
johngodino:
Well, in looking at the not-so-rousing response to this thread, it appears that every club out there who's reading it is happy with their website and sees no reason to consider a change to a new platform. My impression was otherwise, but hey I'm happy to be wrong now and then. Merry Christmas.
Dec 23, 2016 9:08 PM # 
BorisGr:
Hi John,

I think this is really helpful information, and a lot of clubs could certainly stand to benefit from using a platform and template such as the one you propose.

I don't think the lack of response to your post indicates that every club is already happy with their website, but rather that the clubs that need the most help aren't actually on attackpoint reading this...
Dec 23, 2016 9:15 PM # 
JimBaker:
Also, club website redevelopment tends to be a task that's taken on once every some years, not necessarily on an ongoing basis like some other O tasks, and so it may be that those developing new or replacement websites are preoccupied with the holidays, or such, or between redevelopments. (RMOC 's was redesigned earlier this year.) I think that good website platforms is a very worthy topic, and I suspect that many have read this. (One concern I have with commercial platforms is that they tend to control and effectively own the backend data. Even if you're willing to pay them for some use of that data, they might not have developed the means, as orienteering is rather niche. For some clubs that might matter, for others not.)
Dec 23, 2016 9:29 PM # 
smittyo:
Yes, I read this. Yes, I went to your website to look at it. I'm not prepared to ask questions or delve into redevelopment right now. But it's been cataloged in my brain for the day when my club gets more serious about it.
Dec 24, 2016 3:29 AM # 
furlong47:
I already started playing with whyjustrun in an attempt to move our site over there but honestly, the limits of a template/boilerplate site annoy me. I can't make it do the things I want. I'm not happy unless I have complete control of the backend or else give 100% of control over to someone else and wash my hands of it. Thus, once all the holiday business is over, I am giving it my best attempt to learn Drupal via online tutorials, videos, and books since I haven't been able to find an actual in-person class.
Dec 24, 2016 12:11 PM # 
gordhun:
Sorry that I missed the original post but I want to post my congratulations for producing a simple, clear, informative and instructive website, just the qualities that Suncoast Orienteering (SOAR) is striving to achieve.
Great photos, mouth watering terrain, too.
Guess I should google squarespace, eh?
Dec 24, 2016 7:21 PM # 
Suzanne:
Thanks for sharing your experience John! It's great to use Attackpoint to share success stories that other clubs can learn from, as many clubs will have similar needs.

---

Personally, I've used Squarespace for our wedding website and found them quite useful and affordable.

Even though I'm web developer so could build my own website from scratch, I wanted to spend my time on other priorities. And, it meant that I could put the time I set aside for working on the website focusing on content itself rather than on the web development.

I was first introduced to Squarespace when a friend who is a teacher created a website for her student's parents to keep them informed. I was impressed by how fast and easily she got things set up and how professional it looked.
Dec 26, 2016 4:34 PM # 
johngodino:
Well well, pardon me if my second post above was a little snarky. I do appreciate the generally positive responses here.

As with all websites, there are trade-offs. Do you want simple, easy to maintain, great support on the backend, but with a fairly constrained template and "look"? Square space might be for you. If, as mentioned above you want complete artistic control over what your site looks like, and have the ability to add some cool custom code, then learning a programming language for having the commitment of a local person who does, and respects the small budget most clubs, could be the way to go.


I have been contacted privately by a couple of different clubs, and I'm glad to assist them through this process. Please use the contact form at croc.org and I will get back to you pronto.

I have a little background in web design, but zero coding and programming experience. I literally made this website in a long weekend, had a few feedback sessions with experienced members of the club, made a few tweaks, and here we are.
Dec 26, 2016 4:40 PM # 
johngodino:
warning, geek talk ahead . . .

I'd like to mention one other thing that has been a big help with website maintenance: starting a Google Drive account and parking all long-term archival sort of PDF documents over there rather than having them natively stored on the website.

I'm talking files like event maps, event results, meetings of the board minutes, PDF entry forms, stuff like that.
This approach usually simplifies maintenance because it essentially means you never have broken links to these files.
For example, you have a local event, and have a PDF file with the results. If you put the PDF file on a traditional website and make a link to it, there's a chance that link can be broken if someone changes the file name or moves it to another directory, or something like that.

However, if you make a Google Drive folder called "Results 2016" and just drag and drop the PDF file into that folder, and you make a permanent link to the folder from your website, and the link will almost always stay valid.
This also allows other people in your club who may not necessarily know about square space to post results, event maps, etc. without messing around with the code on your website.

Anyway, I highly recommend using Google Drive to archive club documents, and then link to Google Drive folders from your website.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions on this.
Dec 26, 2016 4:58 PM # 
JimBaker:
My local search and rescue also uses Google Drive, and I concur that it's very helpful. An easy way to share and/or link to documents.

(Teller SAR actually has a Google account, with Drive, Google Docs and email, for each member, which makes it even easier to share, search a member directory, browse documents or so forth. O clubs might find that useful for officers.)

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