Do you want to attract new members to your club? Would you like to provide important resources customized to your club, all in one place? An attractive and well maintained club website can help. It is a well-known fact that many prospective members check multiple club websites before deciding which club they are going to visit first.

In order to encourage clubs to design and maintain better websites, District 49 is launching its first Annual Outstanding Club Website Award and Outstanding Club Facebook Page Award.

Between October 1 and October 10, 2020, the District 49 PR Team will evaluate all club websites and club Facebook Pages (or Facebook Groups). The club with the best website and the best Facebook page or Facebook group will receive a $50 TI gift certificate. Winning clubs needs to be in good standing with Toastmasters International as of October 10, 2020. Club websites that are associated with the judging committee will be eliminated from consideration.

There is no need to submit websites or Facebook pages as long as their links are added in the District 49 Club Finder.

How do we make our Toastmasters Club Websites shine? What criteria will be used for judging?  Here is a list of elements for a successful Toastmasters club website accompanied by links to exemplary models. Please note that the examples are listed only for one particular element and may not work for other criteria.

1. BASICS

Meeting information

It is important to provide clear and up-to-date meeting information. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the club website needs to give precise information about Zoom meetings as well as your regular meeting place when we get back to normal.
Good examples to follow:
Zoom meetings: Kona Toastmasters Club – detailed info about how to join, including Zoom link. Regular: Waikiki Club – interactive map, parking info, reference to Siri and Google Assistant.

Up to Date

All information on the website needs to be up to date. If the latest club newsletter is from 2010, or an invitation to an open house happened six months ago, it may lead a visitor to conclude that your club is struggling. When creating a content strategy for your club website, consider the resources that your club currently has or might have in the future.
Good examples to follow:
Strategy with minimal time sensitive info: Nuuanu Toastmasters
Strategy with all the latest info, but diligently updated: Prince Kuhio Toastmasters

Mobile Responsive

Depending on their work-related industries, 35 to 80 percent of visitors to websites connect with mobile devices. Club websites need to work flawlessly not only on a desktop PC, but also on a smart phone. Unfortunately, as we see on most Free Toast Host websites, pictures on pages get distorted. If you need help with proper placing and sizing of the pictures, feel free to contact district webmaster. If you are using WordPress, use a theme that is mobile responsive.
Good example to follow:
Free Toast Host website without any issues on mobile: Ala Moana Toastmasters.

Brand Compliant

Toastmasters International invests millions of dollars in building and protecting a strong brand. We understand that each club is unique; however, non-compliant visual elements create confusion and dilute the power of the brand. Toastmasters International strives to communicate consistent experience across 143 countries, so it is important that our brand is instantly recognizable. If all clubs created their own visual style, there would be 16,800 of them, instead of one strong, unifying image.
Good point to start:
Please check the new Brand Manual by Toastmasters International. Typical non-compliant websites include landscape images, cartoons, illustrations, clip art, non-branded fonts or colors.

Call to Action

A prospective member needs to get the feeling that he or she is welcome to come as a guest. Include a welcoming message and a call to action to visit and join the club. A visitor needs to be able to send a message through a form or email AND the club will need respond in a timely manner. We will test it.
Good example to follow:
Be our guest section – Downtown Business Associates.

2. STEPPING UP THE GAME

Once the website has all the basic requirements, let’s tweak it further. Here are some ideas.

Photos

Add recent club photos from both in person meetings (prior to March 2020) as well as Zoom meetings. Add photos of members participating in district events – trainings, conferences, or contests. If you add dates with your photos, make sure that the last photos are up to date. For example, if you have a good group photo that perfectly represents the image of your club, but it is six years old, leave out the date and just use the photo. In general, good club photos are preferable over stock photos.
Good example to follow:
Good mix of Zoom and regular meeting photos – Hawaiian Dredging Club

More about Toastmasters

Although the Toastmasters International website has a plethora of information for prospective members, some clubs prefer to keep the visitors on their website and offer their own detailed information about Toastmasters. If you decide to go this route, it is important that the information is not copied from the TI website or other clubs.
Good example to follow:
Nice copy about the club history – Downtown Business Associates.

Resources

Various meeting resources may not have direct impact on potential members, but they can help with onboarding new members (new member kit) or assisting with regular club business (meeting role scripts). Well-designed resources can increase dwell time on a website, and this can have positive effects on search engine optimization.
Good example to follow:
Useful resources in the download section – City and County of Honolulu Toastmasters

Club Officers

It is a good practice to list club officers on all official documents, especially meeting agendas, but also on club websites. Make sure that the club officer list is current if you decide to make it public. For certain clubs, the club officer list is the only item that needs to be updated. The rest of the website can be free of time-sensitive items.
Good example to follow:
Clean Club Officer list with all educational designations – Aloha Toastmasters

Achievements

Good leaders always praise achievements of their team members and club websites can be a good platform. Highlight individual achievements of club members in Pathways, contests, or leadership roles. Add club achievements in the Distinguished Club Program, membership campaigns, etc. Make sure that the achievements are recent. If the last showcased achievement is from 2014, it may not show your club at its best.
Good example to follow:
Mix of educational achievements and awards with photos – Abe Lee Toastmasters.

3. TAKING IT EVEN HIGHER

Videos

If you would like to take your club website to the next level, add welcome videos. If done right, you can establish rapport with potential members even before they visit your club.
Good examples to follow:
Warm video invitation – Kamehameha Toastmasters.
Series of fun videos on “why Toastmasters” – No Ka Oi Club

GOING LIVE

Spelling and grammar must be correct. In addition, before publishing your website, search your club online and remove old, redundant websites. If the content on the old website is useable, merge it with the new one and delete the obsolete one. Make sure that multiple people in the club have access to information on the back end of the website, especially for the sites that are not built on Free Toast Host.

The District 49 PR team wishes you the best with your club websites. May you have many happy visitors and good leads for new members.

District 49 Public Relations Manager Slava Slavik
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Mission of a Toastmasters Club
We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Mission of a Toastmasters District
We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.
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