You have about 20 seconds to make an impression online

Resources for optimist club websites

In newspapers they called it "above the fold" - that prime real estate at the top half of the first page. On a website, it's that first screen on the home page. Clean and clear, with use of color in a good quality photo as the banner, coupled with engaging text will guide the public's decision whether to stay or go. It's called "bouncing" and the decision happens in seconds.

Photos and banners

The use of  clear, crisp photos and banners, showing happy, participating members having an impact in your community - working with children and youth, leaves a permanent mental image with the public and potential new members about what an Optimist Club does.

Use the best quality camera you have to take photos. Note that photos do not always need to be centred. In actual fact, one of the basic guidelines of good photography is the Rule of Thirds. Imagine your photo as being divided into thirds vertically and horizontally. The photos above demonstrate this and the one in the middle above shows with the red crosses where people tend to focus. For some reason, people view things better on those grid lines than they do in the centre. So try and use this as a guideline when taking or editing photos. 
You can also edit your photos before putting them on your website using tools like Adobe Photoshop Express, to change the brightness and contrast, use filters, and crop photos. The best way to learn how to use it, is to take some photos and experiment with what you can do with them. 
Remember the visual look of your website, forms the initial impression of your Club, entices people to stay and learn more or leave.

easy to navigate. Responsive. engaging. 

Make sure your website has easy to use and clear menus, an important part of the user experience.

It's all about first impressions. Does your website look inviting? Is it crisp, clear and modern? Is it easy to find your way around the menu? These are the key factors. Make information easy to find. Also keep it updated with news for return visitors considering joining your Club. If it is slow to respond it will seem dated to the users. Remember, websites are like self-service. People are forming their own opinions from what you are showing them. Keep the tone light and informal. If you want to attract new members, and younger members, your website needs to POP! 

Some quick tips about VIDEOS:

  • Google loves video. When it searches the web for new content it looks for video first. So if you want your website to come at the top of the list in a search, add some video. There are quite a few you can use on the Optimist International YouTube site about the Oratorical contest, Junior Golf and even a cool video version of the Optimist Creed.
  • Keep videos you create short  - 2 to 3 minutes maximum. Post your original videos on YouTube and then embed them using the link into your webpage.

Finally, never forget that your website is your credibility - particularly to parents. Anyone can create a Facebook page - a good website requires much more commitment. Be sure to include a page about Optimist International with links, to further enhance your Club's credibility to people who are not familiar with Optimism. Also be sure to take advantage of Directories available at Public Libraries and Town/City resources to list your Optimist Club, your website and contact information.