the digital charity

Important message

CITA will cease to provide services to the sector on the 31 August 2017. However CITA associates will continue to provide services independently.

Read more: CITA closes its doors

Create a free website with WordPress.com

Tuesday, 07 February 2017 12:05

A quick and simple way to build a website for your charity or community organisation.

We all know how important it is to have an online presence. But how do you get started if you run a small voluntary group with limited resources?

We recommend using WordPress.com as a good way to create your organisation’s first website.

Why WordPress.com?

Here’s why we think WordPress.com is a good choice for community groups:

  • free or low cost

  • flexible

  • great for social media

  • good for search engine optimisation (SEO)

  • stay protected with automatic updates

  • built on open source software

There are several other online platforms that allow you to create a simple low-cost website.  These includes the likes of Wix, Google Sites and GoDaddy website builder. These might meet your needs, but most of them are proprietary platforms. This means that there’s very little that you can do if the vendor goes out of business or decides to hike their prices. You are also stuck if you outgrow their services. You can either stay with what you’ve got or you can start from scratch and rebuild your website elsewhere.

WordPress.com is built on the open-source WordPress software. At any point you can export your content and move it to your own hosting package. You can always download a copy of the WordPress software for free.

How can I get started?

It takes a matter of minutes to create your own website.

Visit WordPress.com, click on ‘Build a website’ and follow these five steps:

  1. choose your homepage style - in most cases you will want to choose a welcome page

  2. select a theme - there are over 160 free themes to choose from

  3. choose your domain - you can choose a .wordpress.com domain for free

  4. pick a plan - you can choose the free plan for now and upgrade later if you need to

  5. create your account

That’s it! You’ve created your own website.

Now, you just need to add some content. Read our article on writing better content for your website for some tips.

Need some inspiration?

We helped these organisations create a website using WordPress.com:

Use your own domain

With the free plan your website will have a domain like www.my-organisation.wordpress.com. This is fine, but if you want your site to look more professional you may want to register your own domain name. This means that people can visit your website at an address like www.my-organisation.org.uk.

You can either choose your domain at step 3 in the set-up process or you can add this later.

To register your own domain you need to upgrade to one of the paid plans. This currently costs from £18/year. The paid plans also mean that there are no ads on your website (similar to other platforms, the ads keep the free plan free).

Need any help?

There is a well-written support website that should answer most of your questions. This includes some video tutorials to help you get started.

Alternatively, we offer guided training to help you build your own website.  This can be with WordPress.com or any of the other commonly used platforms.

Please get in touch if you’d like more details.