The Toastmost.org service provides Toastmasters clubs and districts with a modern, mobile-friendly WordPress-based design for marketing, recruiting, and agenda management. Signing up at Toastmost.org is the easiest way to get access to the WordPress for Toastmasters software. You don’t have to be a techie, but you do have to want to put some energy into improving your Toastmasters club’s digital presence.
This course is based on a training webinar I gave on June 29, as a follow up to a 5-minute promo video delivered as part of the Tech Tips session at VTM CON, an international online event organized by online Toastmasters clubs. You’re getting the more concise, edited version.
You can watch the whole series of videos (about 50 minutes total) as a YouTube playlist or browse them individually here. See the section at the end of the blog post for a summary of the Toastmost value proposition in comparison with Free Toast Host and other options.
The 5-Minute Pitch
Toastmost Detailed Overview
Signing Up for Toastmost and Initial Club Website Setup
Update: The latest version of the signup form allows new users to set their password up front, rather than creating a random password and including it in the confirmation email. You can change the random password suggested on the signup form, but please don’t use a weak password that will get your club website hacked.
Editing Your Home Page and Changing the Website Theme (Design)
Adding Blog Posts and Special Events
Working with the Agenda
Update: One significant user interface change since this was recorded: The list of roles you can choose and the field for specifying a custom role now appear in the editor sidebar. A preview of the timing of your meeting, according to the currently specified times for each role and activity, appears within the main editor window. You can see that here (no sound).
If the effect of your changes on the timing preview is not shown immediately, click update to ensure your changes have been saved. Then switch between blocks, and the updated timing summary should appear.
The Toastmost Value Proposition
Toastmost is an alternative to the free, basic toastmastersclubs.org web page you can get from Free Toast Host, which is subsidized by Toastmasters International. Another volunteer-led project, easySpeak, is underwritten by several of the districts where it is most popular.
Toastmost is seeking support from districts to underwrite free websites for clubs in their districts. Otherwise, clubs get 6-months free — a generous period for testing — then are asked to invest $50 USD / year in the continued growth of the service. Why would you consider making that investment?
Here’s a summary of the alternatives.
Free Toast Host
Has the advantage of being Toastmasters-specific and makes it relatively easy to create a club home page — but offers limited capabilities beyond the home page. No blog and not as good for promoting special events.
Little opportunity to customize your site, optimize for search engines, and integrate with social media.
Loyal fans like the agenda and club management tools. I periodically get requests to get some features of my software more easySpeak-like — however, not everyone loves it equally.
These websites are not particularly attractive — my shorthand is that easySpeak looks like an accounting application. Some clubs wind up having both an easySpeak site and a marketing website for that reason.
Toastmost aspires to deliver both marketing power and innovations in agenda and club management in one package. The software benefits from continual innovation in the broader WordPress community, so features like mobile website support and social media integration are superior.
Because the underlying WordPress for Toastmasters software is available as open source, other web developers and designers with a love for Toastmasters can contribute to making it better. Non-technical club leaders can also give constructive feedback (Toastmasters are supposed to be good at that) or contribute documentation and training materials.
Club leaders who invest time in learning WordPress are also learning a transferrable skill. WordPress is commonly used for small business websites (talk to me if you want help with one) and pro speaker websites (see Linda-Marie Miller’s testimonial at sensationalkeynote.com).
This is a labor of love for me. I invite you to be part of it.
David F. Carr, DTM