The internet is a fact of life, but creating a new website can be a daunting prospect for a small care provider. Harnessing the web as a tool for telling the world about your organisation is important, even if you consider your services to be primarily offline and not reliant the internet. Not having an online presence makes your organisation difficult for funders and service users to find, potentially deterring new clients and connections. With a good modern website you can tell the world your story and celebrate your work with supporters, friends and families.
This article will get you started on the basics of planning, considering accessibility, writing a brief, dealing with a developer and integrating social media into a new or upgraded website.
Whether you’re planning a new site or enhancing an existing one, start by writing down and agreeing what you want. Questions to consider include:
For more information see our'New Website Initiative' webinar.
We'd recommend using the free Idealware Guide to website planning which asks 'Do you need a website?' and then through 10 east to follow worksheets helps you plan your website framework.
Make your website interesting to your target audience. Keep it up to date to encourage return visits with frequently updated news, examples of work and information relevant to your target audience. Consider:
Once again Idealware have produced another free resource and set of worksheets covering how to plan your approach to implementing a new website.
Although some people build their own website, many will commission someone else to design and build it. Whether you're buying in a web designer, or using a volunteer it is best to start by writing a website brief which clearly sets out what you require.
For guidance on writing a brief and what to include see our webinar on writing a website brief and Boagworld's '10 things never to leave out of a website design brief'
We've also produced this checklist which covers the sections you should include in any website brief you are producing for a web developer.
The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act and legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. Whilst the law is not intended to place barriers in the way of innovative use of technology, reasonable adjustments need to be made wherever possible to ensure disabled persons do not suffer disadvantage. If you’re commissioning a website you need to be aware of the key standards and ask for web designers to account for them in any website they build for you.
For more information see AbilityNet's Expert Resources.
Choose a solution that enables staff and/or volunteers to add and update content with ease, as regularly updated content attracts more visitors. A common approach is to use a content management system (CMS), see Idealware's 'Consumers' guide to content management systems'.
Integrating social media content into your website helps make it look more dynamic, interactive and social - and encourages people to make more use of your site. For example:
For further information see http://connectingcare.org.uk/articles/detail/social-media-resources
Comparison of content management systems used in the charity sector
AbilityNet exists to change the lives of disabled people by helping them to use digital technology at work, at home or in education
My Computer My Way
My Computer My Way is AbilityNet's easy to use guide to the accessibility features built into your desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone
JISC: Equality, disability and the law
JISC champions the use of digital technologies in UK education and research
BBC: My web my way
Excellent guidance on personalising accessibility features and assistive technologies available to view the web in a more accessible way
Connecting Care issues a monthly e-bulletin rounding up the latest technology and social care stories for providers of adult and social care. It's free for anyone interested in technology and adult social care.