When guests visit my home club, Club Awesome, one thing we often hear from them is, “I looked up a few local clubs, but I really liked what I saw on your website” … which is my cue to beam with pride.

There are certainly limits to what a website can do for you as a recruiting tool — what guests experience in person has to measure up to what they saw online — but a good website can attract guests and, ultimately, members. A bad website can also scare them away. And while I promote WordPress for Toastmasters and have considerable ego wrapped up in the idea that it is the best online platform for clubs, the software is less important than what you do with it. I’ve seen some very uninspired WordPress-based club websites, as well as some good Free Toast Host examples.

This post was originally published on the Toastmasters District 47 website and is based on a review of websites from the region (South Florida and The Bahamas).

I’m only sharing the positive examples, but here is what makes the good ones good:

  • They tell an attractive story, in words, images, and maybe video about the club experience.
  • They clearly explain, right up top, where and when meetings are held, how to attend as a guest, and that guests are always welcome.
  • They focus on answering questions people with little or no knowledge of Toastmasters are likely to have, rather than on insider information for current members. Particularly on the home page, avoid navel gazing.
  • The images, videos, and colors used are carefully chosen to support a clear, welcoming message.
  • Bonus: More depth beyond the home page. Examples: Member directory, blog articles, link to an active Facebook Group or Facebook Page.

I like the Miami-Wynwood Toastmasters example shown above because it features a collage of dynamic images: four Toastmasters in the act of speaking, not posing woodenly with a ribbon or a certificate.

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