Website and hosting for a club
February 20, 2017 1:09 PM   Subscribe

As the most tech-inclined person in the group, I've been left holding the bag on setting up a website for a new club / organization / what-have-you. It should be a relatively simple static website, with a calendar of events, the ability to subscribe to a mailing list, and possibly a slideshow of photos from past events. And I would really like it if non-experts could take over the care and feeding of the calendar and mailing list.

Option 1: Use a template from Squarespace, the free service tier from Mailchimp, assemble something, pass on the login/password, and call it a day. The downsides here are expense (like $150 a year), and maybe an issue with sharing a login / password.

Is there a suitable Option 2 that you recommend instead?

Based on past AskMe suggestions, I've glanced at Dreamhost, Bluehost, Laughing Squid, A Small Orange, NearlyFreeSpeech - seems like they all need FTP/SSH and hand-editing of HTML for updates. I can't pass that on to a non-specialist.

I host a site via GitHub's free personal pages, connected to a domain registered elsewhere. (And I think AmazonS3 also allows this?) But again, not for a beginner.

But Squarespace seems like massive (and expensive) overkill for how simple our needs really are. Is there a middle ground that I'm missing?
posted by RedOrGreen to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: $3/month gets you no ads, a custom domain, and email/chat support. WordPress would handle everything you mentioned.
posted by zebra at 1:17 PM on February 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I use Weebly and have been very happy with it. Have heard good things about Wix as well.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:23 PM on February 20, 2017

I should add, both Weebly and Wix have no-cost options.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:25 PM on February 20, 2017

Weebly and Wix deliver non-responsive templates and are bad options. is probably a better option.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:28 PM on February 20, 2017

Honestly, you could just use Facebook: lots of groups both professional & amateur do. Can host posts plus comments, easy to add photos, the whole thing.
posted by easily confused at 1:32 PM on February 20, 2017

Meetup does exactly what you described, plus Pages and Discussions. You don't have to be an expert, their UI is excellent. It's not free but it's reasonable and you can collect dues from your members via their website too.
posted by rada at 1:43 PM on February 20, 2017

Shutterfly share sites are not the most exciting but they are free and will do everything you need.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:51 PM on February 20, 2017

If you need it to look like a real website and not just a social media "space," a la FB groups, Meetup, etc., I personally like because the backend works a lot like the DIY/roll-your-own wordpress sites that can be deployed. The benefit is that you're more likely to find volunteers that have experience with that interface either from some other organization or from work.

As has been said, you can be totally free for style domain, really cheap (less than $50 a year) for a basic site with a custom domain, and they have higher level options too if you end up needing more storage. So if the organization runs out of money or disbands you can keep your content up in some form or another, provided you don't run out of the (generous) free storage level. Most of their less expensive service levels DO serve some ads to your visitors, so be aware of that.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:39 PM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

If your club is an official non-profit (meaning 501(c)(3)) you can get a free account on DreamHost and run Wordpress site from there:

I've set it up for my swim club and it was pretty painless.
posted by funkiwan at 4:26 PM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

you could use Dreamhost and their self-install options to install Wordpress on top of that...
posted by almostwitty at 3:32 AM on February 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure why DarlingBri thinks Wix is a bad option. I use it for a club I belong to and it does everything you want, including automatically creating a mobile site. We have a calendar of events (Google Calendar), a mailing list and slide shows. You will need to pay extra to hook up your own domain name, but you can set up a free site first to see how it works.
posted by Joleta at 7:58 PM on February 21, 2017

Response by poster: As a quick follow-up: Wix looked good, and so did WordPress. But Wix wasn't meaningfully cheaper than SquareSpace, while SquareSpace seemed more flexible than the easier WordPress options. For now I have two domains on Hover (.org and .com), both hooked up to a SquareSpace site. I guess all that podcast advertising really works.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:54 PM on March 3, 2017

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