Club Websites

All clubs should have a website. While I'm in the business of making sweeping statements let me also say that I like all the club sites that I have seen.
Before you throw your hands up in horror exclaiming that there is a fat chance that anyone in your club would ever get round to producing one, give me a chance to clarify that statement.

We have all visited impressive sites that can serve to intimidate the prospective webmaster as much as to inspire. So let us be clear before we start - a site does not need to be either big or flash to be good.

Lets start with Clay Cross. Go on, visit the site. It won't take you long. Their site is essentially an online advert for the club, providing outline information for prospective members. Many clubs are sufficiently small that if such an advert pulled in just one new member a year, then after only a few years it would be responsible for the recruitment of a significant proportion of the club.
Yes but, you counter. Someone has still got to secure some webspace and design and upload the page.
Your next destination is Bath Chess Club. They have used an existing community website to give themselves a presence in cyberspace. As have Macclesfield, Wantage (Oxfordshire), Westcliff (Southend) and many others. As some of these show, these community sites allow you to create something more ambitious if you wish.
Searches from late 2004 - mid 2011 are throwing up an increasing number of council/library listings. Good. Make sure they have the information they need for your entry to be effective.

But whats the point?, you ask. The only people who will find the site are those I tell, which rather defeats the purpose.
What would you do if you knew nothing about the organisation of chess but suddenly decided you wanted to find a club? Use a search engine is my guess, entering something like the name of a town and chess. If you use a community website your pages will be picked up by the engines because the community sites are frequently visited. If you have a separate site make sure that it is listed on one of the main links pages such as those at the ECF or on Britweb. The search engines will pick up these links. They also pick up Chingland (which may be how you got here!)


Go on. Give your club a presence on the web. Worry about expanding it to keep members abreast of the clubs progress or to attract a wider audience of viewers when you or another member has the enthusiasm and time. But let everyone know you are there now.