Due to the recent passing of the sole proprietor of snowclubs.com, we have had many snowmobile clubs looking for a new website host.
We do find ourselves saying the same things to people. Yes, we can help you move things over, but if you chose to go your own way, here are some tips to consider. We will try to not toot our own horn too much
Cost of the New Club Website
Website domain names are usually pretty inexpensive. They range from 10-20 a year depending on privacy, etc. If you were an old snowclubs customer, most likely you were using whats called a subdomain – such as YourClubName.snowclubs.com. Unfortunately, this can’t move with you, and your club will learn an important lesson: Always own your own domain name. However, you should be able to ask for a 301 redirect to help your transition. You were paying $200-250 a year. Thats the least they can offer, if someones going to actually be around to help.
The Web hosting cost though is a much bigger variable. With ClubHosting, you pay $50. Thats it.
With others, depending on if you want to have half of the features we offer clubs, you are going to need a Database, etc. And it’s going to cost $8-12 a month – or approximately $100-150 a year. Then pile up the cost of the plugins we offer. You could do a poor mans version maybe for around $100-300 in licensing fees.
Now you may ask yourself “Don’t I just need a simple website” – The answer is no. You wan’t something that is complex inside the code, but simple to maintain and easy to use. Simple websites (such as plain html) are a nightmare to manage. If you don’t keep your site updated because it’s too difficult, or that you rely on one person, then what’s the point of even having one?
How hard is it to Understand?
This is a big one. Every club these days has someone a little a head of the technology curve, and they, like the mechnically inclined members, get taken advantage of when it comes to administering the website. However, your new solution should be manageable by the most basic of computer users. We know that many clubs are primarily made up of retired club members who do almost all of the work for fundraising, organizing events, membership drives, etc. You should have a site that is easy enough to use that they can log on and add an event quickly.
Focus on what’s important to your Snowmobile Club
Many clubs will want neat features when planning the next site that are great for current members, but always remember to identify where your club’s lifeblood comes from, and focus on it. If you have a huge advertiser base, or a big resort puts up plenty of funds for gas, etc, then remember to build around that idea. If your club has hundreds of members, like those NE clubs, but most are inactive, find a way to engage them (email subscribe, comments, facebook publishing etc). If your club gets 90% of it’s revenue from an event, build your site around that event.
You always want to hit the lowest hanging fruit first. You may feel that memberships are important, so you may want to have 3-4 places pushing memberhsip. However, that would be better used in providing soft sells, like “we need some members and riders to share photos” – or ” We need someone to write some trail reports for us!” - aka, engage the users. If you engage them, you will do much better in your membership recruiting quest. Also, you may be able to engage that 30something family man/woman into participating with the club, who wouldn’t normally due to time constraints. Let’s face it, trail clearing is hard to do when you have to find a babysitter on a saturday.
Lastly, futureproof your club website
Wherever you go, you shouldn’t be running into the edge of the solutions limits. You always want to be somewhere that gives you the option to grow. Of course, if you own your domain name, you can always change things up later, but that’s always harder than finding a great club website provider who is able to offer everything you need and so much more.
Good luck in your transition. Let us know if we can help!