Setting up your website

In the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), you may choose among a range of environmental projects and select one that matches your interests and passions. 

For most projects it is worthwhile to set up a simple website to explain and promote your project.

Setting up a suitable website is free and relatively easy.

If you have had negative experiences trying to build a website or if you have heard horror stories about the expense or the technical difficulty, you are in for an entirely different experience here.

For one thing, you have a very important message. Many websites fail because they don’t have an important message, or are not clear on what that message is.

But yours will be different.

Your engaging message …

If you are pursuing a rain garden project, for example, you know why rain gardens are important and why we should have more of them in our community.

So … you have an important message. Check.

You are clear about what you want people to do in response to your message. Check.

You have visually appealing subject matter. Check.

You’re way ahead of the game.

Download the app …

When you’re ready, download the free WordPress app on your smartphone, and set up your WordPress account.

  • Then go to “My Sites”
  • Click on the plus sign.
  • Click on “Create WordPress.com site.”
  • Then give your site a title and a site address.
  • Click on “Create site.”

Questions? No problem. Just ask your facilitator.

Write your first blog post …

The next step is to create content.
To start creating content

  • Go to “Blog Posts.”
  • Click on the plus sign.

Give your blog post a title and start writing.

You will probably want to draft your first blog post in Word or Google Docs, because the WordPress editor is a little clunky.
What do you write for your first blog post?

Here’s my advice: Lay it all on the line.

What to write …

For your first blog post, tell them everything you want them to know about your project.

Tell them …

  • What you propose to do.
  • Why your project is important.
  • Why our community needs it.
  • What problem does your project solve?
  • What you will need to complete your project.

The help you have already received from others.

How they (your reader) can help.

For a longer set of helpful questions, go to Your Fundraising Pitch.

Image …

After writing your blog post add a suitable image, possibly a photo from your phone. To import your photo find the button that says “set featured image”, and upload your photo.

Questions? No problem. Ask your facilitator.

Reinforce key concepts …

You can and should write subsequent blog posts, but you should always reinforce a few critical concepts.

Your “About” Page

Now, in addition to your blog, you also want to add text to your “About” page.

In the WordPress app, click on “Pages”.

You will find that there is already an “About” page.

Click on it.

Fill it in … but with what?

At first, your About page should be simple.

At this point, your reader just wants to know the very short version of your story. He/she just wants to know how your website fits into the universe.

Write something like this …

The purpose of this website is to explain my Rain Garden project in the Earth & Spirit Center Environmental Leadership Program, to enlist support for this project and to explain the importance of rain gardens.

My name is Jane Doe and I can be reached at myemailaddress@gmail.com.

Thank you!
There you have it.

The purpose of this blog post has been to show you how to get started on your website.

Your website should start very simple, with one blog post and one page.

You will add blog posts and pages to your website over the course of time.

How to add to your website …

When you add to your website, remember these principles …

  • Be clear, but also warm.
  • Be friendly, but concise.
  • Remember this: People won’t know unless you tell them. Don’t assume that your audience already knows what you’re trying to get across. They probably don’t… because you haven’t told them yet.
  • And remember this: People won’t know unless you tell them … repeatedly. So in your ongoing series of blog posts, and in the pages you add, you should always circle back around to those few key concepts that you want your readers to understand.
  • And remember this: Save some for later. On any particular blog post, there is always more that you could say. But don’t try to say it all at once. Save some for the next installment.

For questions, email Hart at nhhagan@gmail.com.

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