This presentation was given at the 2008 LWVUS Convention in Portland, OR and updated in March 2009. Please use it to learn more about League Easy Web. Also, consider adapting it for use at meetings in your state to encourage your local Leagues to consider using this product which can help them build an online presence. League Easy Web (LEW) was developed in 2001 for Leagues in California. A past director on the LWVC Board moved to another state and asked that LEW be offered outside CA to assist Leagues in building their web sites. LWV California owns and operates the product. LEW was offered to all Leagues in summer of 2002. In June 2008, there were 146 Leagues in 32 states (including DC) using the product. In March 2009, there are 163 Leagues using LEW. Jennifer Waggoner has LWVC oversight responsibility. Carol Watts administers the site and answers email. The architecture and development was done by Carl Hage with some assistance by Carol.
The overview: If you can browse the Internet and feel comfortable filling out web forms, you can build your first web site. Just go to any computer on the Internet: Call up the League Easy Web start page, Fill out a registration form (a hard copy is available) and you will get 11 pre-built pages. Review each of them, modify some, approve each of them. You have built your first web site.
League Easy Web takes care of the look of the site: you need only think about content. All LEW sites have the same look – which tells visitors that we are all part of the same organization. No limit on the number of pages (but there is a “soft” limit on the size of any one file, in case someone asks). And, again, it was built so that League members, not computer specialists, can create and update pages.
This home page shows the look of all League Easy Web sites built after the end of June 2008. Most of the content comes from the values you fill into forms. The list of main sections on your site is on the left. LEW manages that for you, but you can choose the words. The center part of the page (the flag-backed areas) is intended for you to highlight what you really want people to find. If there is an upcoming Election, you surely want that highlighted. But if there is not, do not put it in the center of the page. People can still find information about any past elections from clicking on the “Elections” in the left hand column.
Here is an example of one of several Leagues who use LEW to publish their Voter Guides before elections. (Andover, MA). They put candidate statements directly on LEW pages. Other Leagues publish their guides are published in PDF format.
The Orange-Durham-Chatham League in NC has a complete Guide to Elected Officials on LEW pages.
League Easy Web is your web hosting service. You can use a Web address provided by LEW (yourll.yourstate.lwvnet.org) or you can buy your own “domain name” like lwvyourleague.org We recommend you buy your own – it is much better. Use it on your business cards, letterheads, public service announcements, newspaper articles, etc. No obligation to pay $$ until you are ready to go live with your public web address. One or more volunteers fills out the forms to create the initial basic site and to add more pages.
You have choices: here is a comparison of using LEW to build a League site and using a traditional web building process (Do it yourself). LEW: Easy enough for people without knowledge of HTML or web software to use. More than one person can update pages. Do it Yourself: LWV San Francisco was very proud and excited to win the 2008 Convention Web site award – they don’t use LEW. However, they spend over $3,000 per year as they are paying a web designer. They have serious challenges with updating (monthly): calendar example, home page. Corrections almost impossible to make. And if they run into problems, the designer needs to fix them. In return, however, the images and navigation are completely under their control and they can make a truly interactive web site.
If you don’t have a Web site now, you can easily create your online presence. Young people especially expect to find their information on the Web – be there for them! With LEW, you focus on content and need not think much about technology. Easy to transfer main web responsibility to another person. Consider sharing the ability to update pages: ask the person responsible for an area to create and maintain those pages. For example, let your Voter Service person update the election and voter registration pages; your action chair can keep the action pages updated; your VOTER editor can update the calendar. If you have a Web site now, but are having trouble keeping it up to date, consider using LEW. Over 35% of all Leagues using LEW today used to have their own Web site. In June 2008, there are 146 Leagues in 32 states (including DC) using League Easy Web. LEW has a very low price for its function and its ease of use. You also get excellent support when you have questions.
Today there are 11 pre-defined pages that you can usually modify, but you don’t have to build: About the League (5), Contact Us, Join Us (2), Donate to Us, an Elections page, and the home page. Special functions are available for a Calendar: LEW will keep the events ordered for you and you can easily copy and move events from one calendar to another. A special template is provided to easily create one or more Frequently Asked Questions pages. Many people using the Web look for a FAQ page to learn more about the contents of a Web site. LEW manages the table of contents of the pages you choose to have on your site. It is important for each League to plan the organization of the content of their site. LEW provides a report of how many times each of your pages was accessed and which web sites link to your pages, plus more. And, you can build a complete separate web site for your members. Leagues put their By-laws, procedures, internal calendars, on these pages. In July 2008, we upgraded to a new look and feel as shown in examples. It is similar in color and graphical images to the current lwv.org Web site. It helps assure that any one visiting League Web sites know they are looking at online information from the same organization. Any change in appearance just happens “magically” because LEW administration can change the templates used to create your pages. You have no work at all.
For more information, go to lwvnet.org and find: A list of which Leagues are now using LEW. Click on their name and see what they’ve done. This presentation A paper copy of the Registration form. Fill it out to get you started quickly. Carol’s Top Ten Tips – things to think about when building your site FAQ on League Easy Web Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask any questions.
To get started, Send an email to email@example.com with your League’s official name and state and you will get an email in return with instructions and a password. Build your first site Get board approval Choose your domain name Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking to “go live”. After the site is activated, you will receive an invoice for $300 the first year, and $200 each year thereafter. The price was increased in March 2009 – the first increase since the service started in Sept. 2001. Print an MOU, sign it, and send it to LWV California. You’ve joined the online world!
Agenda <ul><li>How to build a LEW site </li></ul><ul><li>What you get with LEW </li></ul><ul><li>LEW versus “do it yourself” </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits to your League </li></ul><ul><li>Features and further information </li></ul><ul><li>How to get started - Cost </li></ul>
Testimonials – 146 Leagues in 32 States <ul><li>Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your League Easy Web site template is wonderful! It's design – very attractive. It's ease of use - fabulous. I was afraid to try it, but found it very user friendly. You have thought of everything.” -- a satisfied LEW user </li></ul><ul><li>League Easy Web... provided the features and flexibility for everything I needed to do, and presented no mysteries or anomalies. It's a pleasure to work with. -- George Kendrick, LWV Orange-Durham-Chatham, North Carolina </li></ul>
<ul><li>Complete, branded Web site customized for your League </li></ul><ul><li>Add the content you wish (unlimited number of pages) </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone who can browse the Web has the skills to update LEW </li></ul>What You Get With LEW
About Your LEW Site <ul><li>Hosting by LEW </li></ul><ul><li>Site look and navigation by LEW </li></ul><ul><li>Web address </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LEW: yourll.yourstate .lwvnet.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy your own: lwvyourleague .org </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web forms and controls for you to build your web pages </li></ul>
LEW versus “Do It Yourself” <ul><li>LEW: </li></ul><ul><li>Internet connection </li></ul><ul><li>Web browser </li></ul><ul><li>Basic information about your League </li></ul><ul><li>One or more volunteers to update data </li></ul><ul><li>“ Do It Yourself” </li></ul><ul><li>Hosting service </li></ul><ul><li>Web designer: images and navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Web Software </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of HTML </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to troubleshoot </li></ul>
<ul><li>Your League’s information available “24/7” </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on content, not technology </li></ul><ul><li>Transfer or share responsibility easily </li></ul><ul><li>35% of Leagues upgraded to LEW </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Better price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easier to use (with excellent support) </li></ul></ul>Benefits To Your League
<ul><li>11 pre-defined pages </li></ul><ul><li>Calendar & FAQ </li></ul><ul><li>Email address forwarding – spam control </li></ul><ul><li>System-managed Table of Contents </li></ul><ul><li>Statistics </li></ul><ul><li>Separate Web site for members </li></ul><ul><li>LWVUS look and feel </li></ul>Features
<ul><li>www.lwvnet.org </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to current users: who, how </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overview & statistics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FAQ, Tips, and more </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>Further Information
<ul><li>Email email@example.com </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get email with instructions and your password </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build your site </li></ul><ul><li>Print your pages and get board approval </li></ul><ul><li>Notify firstname.lastname@example.org to “go live” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Site activates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Invoice $200 annually plus $100 set up fee </li></ul><ul><li>Memorandum of Understanding </li></ul>SOLD! How To Get Started