Creating a Chapter Website
STTI has already created websites for every chapter through The Circle, STTI's professional networking platform. To learn how to manage your chapter's website, contact email@example.com, or visit The Circle Training Page for Chapter Leaders.
Listed below is helpful information designed to guide chapters in building their own chapter website. Resources compiled in part by Linda Q. Thede, past Region 10 Communications Committee Member.
Why create a chapter website?
There are many reasons chapters create a website, but the primary reason is to provide information in a user-friendly format for members, prospective members, campus community, general community, other chapters and the media. When designing your chapter’s website, keep your audiences in mind. Try to think like they do—make it easy for them to find the information they need.
General Information: Headquarters does not prescribe what a chapter's website should include, however, it is important that we retain our Sigma Theta Tau International brand.
Images: To use the honor society's name or crest on your website, read the Guidelines for Use of Crest. To protect copyrighted images, other images and photos on the honor society's Web site should not be copied or reproduced on your chapter's Web site without contacting the honor society and requesting permission. Hint: Keep images small so download time is minimal.
Links: Your chapter's site should always provide a link to the honor society's website on its home page, www.nursingsociety.org, and the school of nursing with which your chapter is affiliated. You may also link to organizations supported or partnered with your chapter.
SUGGESTED MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION: This information may also be included in the monthly newsletter you create via the Chapter Management System on www.nursingsociety.org
- Meeting minutes
- Chapter or member news
- Calendar of chapter meetings and events
- Chapter newsletter
- Contact information for chapter officers and committee chairs
- Chapter scholarship and grant information
- Chapter award information
- Call for volunteers with volunteer position descriptions
- Photos from recent events
- Membership criteria
Who will be responsible for the website?
Ideally, someone in the chapter who has some experience with creating and updating webpages. It is important for a person to be responsible for updating your chapter's website, which should be done a regular basis to keep information up to date.
How do I create a website?
To create a chapter website, you must design the site, host the site and name the site.
Creating the site:
There are three ways to create a chapter website:
- Use a website template and customize it to meet your needs. This option provides you with a basic template that can be customized for your chapter. You may find free templates online, pay a design company to create a template especially for your chapter, or ask a student to design a template as part of a leadership intern project.
- Use an HTML program to create your chapter’s site. This option requires you to purchase html software like GoLive, FrontPage or Dreamweaver.
- Hand-code HTML in a text editing program like Microsoft Notepad. For this option, you must learn HTML code—HTML code is the language computers use to "read" webpages. You would write text for each webpage of your chapter's site and insert appropriate code. Each page would then be saved as an HTML file. By linking each file together, you would create the website. An online tutorial for building websites with html code is available at www.how-to-build-websites.com.
As you design your chapter's site, remember that most users want to find information quickly and easily. To help them:
- You may provide a series of links at the top of the webpage or along the left margin of the page.
- You should use colors that allow the webpages to be easily read. White is universally accepted as the preferred background color to use. Information about Web safe colors is available at Web Monkey, under the Web developer’s resource.
- You should use a 10 point or 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font for text. These font sizes and types are easy to read and generally supported by all Internet browsers. Use bold or italics to emphasize certain text.
Hosting the site:
After you design your chapter's site, you must find a host - a computer server where your chapter's website will be stored. Once you have secured a host, that organization or company will instruct you on how to move your Web files to the server. To find a host, you have several choices.
- Speak with your school's information technology staff and determine whether your school would host your chapter's site.
- Contact a website hosting company and rent server space from it. You may also be able to get free server space from a hosting company, but those companies will often insert advertisements into your webpages. Your school's information technology staff could provide suggestions or you could search for possible hosting companies on the Internet.
Naming the Site:
Once you know where your chapter's site will be stored, you must obtain a domain name. The domain name is the unique website address assigned to your chapter's site. If your chapter's site is hosted by a hosting company, you can select and register the domain name of your choice, as long as it is not already registered to someone else. It is likely your hosting company can assist you in registering your domain name. Registering domain names costs approximately US$10 to US$30 per year and names can be registered for one to 10 years. An example of a website address would be www.alphachapter.com.
If your chapter's site is hosted by your school or be a free hosting company, your website will likely be a sub-domain. This means the school or hosting company's name will be part of your website's name. Examples of these types of addresses would be www.indianauniversity.edu/alphachapter.edu or www.alphachapter.indianauniversity.edu.