Revised with new information as of June 16, 2017

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Web Tools & Tutorials

 
This advice is written with small nonprofits in the USA, Europe, etc., and tiny NGOs and government programs in developing countries, in mind.

You will have to decide for yourself what is best: developing your Web site yourself, in-house, with only the resources (human and technical) within your organization, or, seeking outside assistance, either from a volunteer or from a consultant.

A good way to help you decide which is best is to look at the development of your publications, such as your newsletter. How much of such publications are produced in-house by staff, and how much is produced by a volunteer or outside consultant? Your Web site development and upkeep should follow a similar process.

It is possible to do a Web site for your organization yourself. When I first launched the Coyote Communications Web site back in the 1990s, I used my little Mac Classic II with 8 megabytes of RAM -- just to show that a lot can be done with just a little technology. I had also never taken a class in .html when I did the first site, HOWEVER, I also had many years of experience in professional communications, including developing publications and setting up internal communications, so all that writing, layout, design, quality control, and software experience helped - my site quickly went to the top of search results on various web search engines.
;-)

Okay, yes, clearly, I'm not web designer. My web site is super simple, and that's because I'm a one-person operation. I may not win any web design awards, but I can easily update my web site, and it remains at the top of search results on various web search engines.

Contents:


Your computer probably already has all the tools you need

You can prepare a World Wide Web site with just a few tools:

There are also free web building programs out there. I use BlueGriffon, a free web editor for Firefox. It's as simple to use as a word processing program.
 
Your Web site can be developed before you ever chose a Web host, because Web pages can be viewed off-line.

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BEFORE YOU START BUILDING A WEB SITE

You need to think about what you want out of your Web site, what the rest of the staff wants out of the Web site, what your customers want out of your Web site, and how you are going to get there. Some staff will want more donations, some will want a web site focused on clients, some will want volunteers better supported, and on and on. A web site can do all of these things, but you need to hear from a variety of staff so you know all that the web site needs to do.

Please look at Coyote Communications' in-depth tip sheets on Web site development to help you define the purpose of your Web site and understand the basics about its development (just as you do your other publications!).

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Learning .html

It's important to understand the basics of .html, even if you use an outside consultant. Basic web language is simple to learn (I taught an intern to use it in 15 minutes - no kidding!). Yes, there is software that automatically marks up text with .html, but such software WILL make mistakes, so you need to know how to correct mistakes manually. This web language tutorial from Google is very good and shows just how easy .html is. Typing html tutorial into Google will provide even more resources.

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