Last week, I talked about the need and desire to build a better mousetrap. And by mousetrap, I mean user group website. If you think about it, a website is a good kind of mousetrap. You want people to easily find it. You want it to be enticing so that they want to learn more and get involved. And you want it to provide quality information so that they keep coming back.
Of course, having a good website alone will not guarantee the success of the user group. That requires a strong leadership team putting on interesting and challenging meetings and events every month. If you build upon this foundation month after month, the world will beat a path to your door. And a quality user group website helps accomplish this.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what features our user group website requires. As I mentioned previously, there are five very basic yet critical goals that I think are a must:
- Showcase who, what, where, when.
- Build a membership list containing names and email addresses.
- Easily communicate with members.
- Track meeting registration so you know how many people to expect.
- Build an online history.
These goals require the following high-level features:
- Clean, minimal site design viewable on “three screens”.
- Search engine friendly.
- Reduced user interface friction.
- Member management.
- Communication management.
- Event management.
- Event registration including both tracking attendance as well as support for cancellations.
- Searchable event archive.
I invite you to leave a comment if there is a feature you would like to add to the list above. The next step will be to design a database schema capable of supporting the data required for these features. And as always, leave a comment if you would like to participate.