I Have Taken Control of My Club's Website. Now What?
Before I answer the title of this article, I'd like to first say that if you have not yet taken control of your club's profile, please email email@example.com and supply proof that you are part of the officers for the club (A link to your name/title on the clubs website is usually easiest).
Most of the features below are free, however, any features that are part of the upgraded package will have it listed in that section. To see a comparison of free/premium, click here.
If you know the section you are looking for, you can jump to that section by clicking the link below.
Updating Your Club's Information
The first thing you will want to do is to make sure all of the club information is accurate. To do this, click on “Clubs" in the left menu, then search for your club (it should be at the top of the list) and click on the edit button (it looks like a pencil in the right column).
*Let's stay out of the “Website Info" tab for now. We'll get to that later.
Once you are in this page, update all of the information that you can. Most of the fields are self explanatory, however, there are a few that may need an explanation.
- “Club Slug" - this is how your club's URL will appear in Geology365.com. It will appear like “Geology365.com/you-clubs-name". As it currently appears is probably how it should stay, but that is up to you. This helps with search engine optimization and will help people find your club using an internet browser.
- “Geology365 Subdomain" - If you do not have your own domain name, you are welcome to use Geology365 subdomain. All this means is that you your website would have Geology365.com in its domain name. Your club would be uniquely identified by the portion to the left of the dot before Geology365.com. Ex: yourclub.geology365.com. *If you want to use your domain name, look further down the page. We'll cover that later.
- “Due Date" in the “Dues Info" section – This is really the date from when the dues are valid. As an example, if your club's dues are good from January 1 to December 31, this date would be January 1.
The last thing to point out is that only club members will show up in the drop downs for the “Club Board". This includes you! If you need to add yourself in any other roles, you will have to be listed as a member of the club. We'll talk about this next.
Now that you are in control of your club's profile, the first step you will want to do is to get your membership with the club logged. To do this, click on “Clubs" in the left menu, then search for your club (it should be at the top of the list) and click on the view button (it looks like an eye in the right column).
Once the page finishes loading, click on the “Request to Join..." button in the top right. Update any of the information in the pop up, then click submit.
*The process so far are the same steps that the rest of the members in the club will have to take to join the club, unless you add them (we'll get to that soon).
Approving Memberships (Including Yours)
As a member of the board, you have the ability to apply dues to a membership. To do this, click on “Memberships" in the left menu. This should show a list of any members in the club with an active or pending membership. In the “Action" column (the farthest to the right), you will see a dollar sign ($). The color of this will indicate if a payment is due or not. If it is green, then a payment is currently due. If it is yellow, they are currently paid up. In either scenario, you can click the icon and apply a payment. You can set the “Membership Type" and the payment period (this will show the current period and the next period).
Manually Adding Members
From this same page, you will also see a “+ New Membership" button in the top right. Clicking this will open a window that will allow you to enter a number of fields. Fill in as many fields as possible and click Submit. *Once you submit the form, the member will receive an email asking if they want to create an account on Geology365.com.
Updating the Board
Once you have added the board members, you can now navigate back to editing the club's details and add the board members in.
Updating the Club's Website
Earlier, I mentioned staying out of the “Website Info" until later. Well, it is now later!
Reminder: 1) Click on Clubs. 2) Click the “pencil" to the right of your Club. 3) Click the “Website Info" tab.
*Before you can see the changes you make to the club's website, you will have to have set a subdomain or pointed your domain at the Geology365.com server.
My recommendation is to have the “Website Info" tab in one window, and open your club's website in another tab so you can switch back and forth to see your changes as you go. The “website info" tab follows the flow of the website, so you should be able to tell what you are updating, but if you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll help you out!
A couple things to point out:
- The accent color will set the site's primary color throughout the site. The color is used for things like headers and buttons. Once you set the color, you'll see what I mean.
- Where ever a picture is requested, it will recommend a size for the image. I recommend you stay as close to that as possible, but it is not required. The system will try to make it work, but this may result in cropping or stretching that is not desired.
- You are welcome to use a Geology365 subdomain, however, one thing I like to point out is that you will likely be putting out marketing materials that have your website on it. If you do not own your own domain, this makes it difficult for you to switch to a different hosting company in the future. All your marketing would have the wrong domain on it! I would recommend that you purchase your own domain and point it to our servers.
Once you have the site looking the way you want it, the rest of the information that populates the site will come from listing your club's events on the site.
Using Your Own Domain Name
As I pointed out above, it is a good idea to own your own domain name and point it at the Geology365.com server. This isn't a difficult process, but it can be confusing, and unfortunately, each domain registrar will have slightly different instructions. I would advise you to reach out to your registrar and give them the instructions I will list below!
- Email email@example.com and let me know your domain name and that you plan on pointing it to our servers. There is a little bit of work I have to do on the back end to get ready for you!
- You will need to add an "A" record for your domain to point to 220.127.116.11. ***This IP address is scheduled to change before long as we migrate to our new/permanent server. I'll let you know when that happens!
- *You could also google "Add A record to ___________ domain". You would fill in the blank with your registrar (ex: GoDaddy, Dreamhost, etc.).
- That's it! Now you just have to wait a few hours for the new record to make its way around the internet.
- If 24 hours have passed and your domain isn't pulling up your Geology365.com website, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!
You can see a list of your club's events (past, present, and future) by clicking on “Events" from the left menu. You can click the edit or view link to update or see any events that are currently logged. This is also the page where you can add new events. To do this, click the “+ New Event" button in the top right.
This will take you to a page to fill out the details of the upcoming event. Most of the fields should make sense, but I would like to draw attention to the two checkboxes in the Privacy section. The first checkbox, “Only Visible to Members", will require the member to be logged into Geology365.com AND be a member of your club in order to see the event. The other, “Show on Website", will determine whether the event will show up on your club's website.
The locality management module allows you to store pertinent information about the localities where your club goes on field trips.
*Disclaimer: Locality information is currently available to all clubs using the platform. In recent discussions, it was determined that the club should be able to determine if the locality should be public or private. This change is coming, but please check back for updates. I will also add an alert at the top of the Locality pages when this happens.
To access the Locality Management module, click on “Localities" from the left menu. The list that loads will be a list of all localities that you have access to. This includes localities from other clubs. *When the option to make localities private is available, this will only include localities from other clubs that are listed as public.
You will notice that the edit icon (the pencil) only appears next to localities that are managed by your club. Clicking edit will allow you to update the information about the locality. This edit page is identical to the page to add a new locality (to do that, just click the “+ Add Locality" button on the locality list page).
The purpose of this page is to track all of the information that is needed when booking a field trip. I think the only one that needs an explanation is the “Mineral(s)" field. This field has a “Help" icon (?) next to it, so if you need a refresher when adding/updating a locality, simply hover your mouse over the icon and follow the instructions in the pop up. This is what it will say, “Start typing. Once you see your selection, click on it or press the down arrow until it is highlighted, then press enter. If you don't see what you are looking for, type it in fully, then press enter or comma."
The locality information is then accessible in the “Field Trip Planner" module.
Field Trip Planner
The Field Trip Planner module is designed to help you organize a season's worth of field trips. It is NOT intended to help you manage a single field trip. You will see what I mean by this as I describe it below.
To access the Field Trip Planner, click on “ Field Trip Planner" from the left menu. This will load a list of all previous created plans with the most recent on the top of the list. You will see two icons next to each plan, a pencil to edit the season's plan, and a calendar to select the dates for the localities you have already added to the plan (you can also get to this from in the edit screen).
To add a new plan, just click the “+ New Plan" in the top right of the list page.
When adding/editing a plan, a few things should be noted:
- If you plan trips for multiple clubs, you will see a drop down to select the club for which you are creating the plan.
- You should name the plan something memorable for the season you are planning. I would recommend something like “2021 Season", or if your plan by the actual season, something like “2021 Summer".
The next thing you will want to do is add localities to your Field Trip Plan. To do this, click the “+ Add Locality to Plan" button that is located in the top right of the “Localities for the Season" section. This will open a pop up window that will allow you to enter a search term in the search box (usually the locality name will suffice), then click “Search".
A list of matching localities will show up, as well as the managing club. It is possible that other clubs may create duplicates, so be sure to choose the most applicable result by checking the box next to “Add to Plan", then click the “Add to Plan" button at the bottom of the pop up.
This will cause the locality to now appear in the “Localities for the Season" section. You will notice that it will have a “View Details" button next to each locality you have added. Clicking this will show you all the details necessary to help you plan that particular trip. The next column, “Potential Dates", is designed for you to add any dates that you might possibly visit this locality. Clicking in the date box will cause a calendar to appear. Use the left and right arrows at the top to find the appropriate month(s) for your trip, then click on each date in each month where you may visit the locality. You can specify as many potential dates as you want or need. The idea here is not selecting the actual date of the trip(s), but rather, specifying the potential dates. Do this for each locality that you currently have information on, then click “Submit" at the bottom of the page.
*You can visit this page often, so you can come back and add more localities and dates to the plan as you receive more information about the season. Don't feel you have to do it all at once!
When you are ready to start nailing down dates, you can click the calendar icon for the plan from the list of Field Trip Plans, or you can click the “2. Select Dates" tab at the top of the edit screen. This page will show all possible dates down the left column, and all the selected localities across the top (The information icon next to each locality will open the pop up with information about the locality). In addition to the selected localities, this page will also contain any “Events" the club has planned (for information on managing events, please see the “Events" section earlier in this article). This will help you in not scheduling field trips when the club has a Meeting or Rock Show planned.
To select a date for a locality, simply click the button in the cell that corresponds to the locality and the desired date. This will change the button to green which signifies that it has been selected and is now currently in the plan (there is no need to click a save button as clicking this button has saved this already). If you select multiple dates for a locality, it will give you a warning that this locality already has a date selected, but this is just an informational popup and will allow you to select the date.
Once you are done with your plan, you can click the “3. Finalize Plan" tab at the top. You can actually click this at any time to see how your plan is progressing. It will only show you a summary of how the plan is looking and how many days until the field trip.
Creating Website Articles
One of the most important things you can do to attract new users to your website via Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to add original content in the form of articles to your website.
By logging your club's events, you get this to some degree, but this allows you to write in more detail. You can also incorporate multiple images in the article.
It is also recommended to write articles on topics on collectors, localities, minerals, tools, techniques and anything that may be interesting to your club members.
Ultimately, you will want to create content that helps unknown individuals find your club when they are just searching the web for things related to your club.
Managing External Links
Most clubs maintain a list of links to external sites that are important to the club and its members. You can choose to show them in the menu bar at the top of the page, or have them listed on an "All Links" page that is accessible from the menu.
To manage your club's list of links, click on "Links" from the left menu when logged into Geology365.com. Click "+ New Link" in the top right to add a new link to your club's list.
Paying Dues Via Your Club's Website
With a premium account, your club's website can accept dues payments online. This is done through an integration with Paypal and is relatively easy to enable.