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Stay On Message

Resources for Barbershop Webmasters

Anyone visiting your web site already has a goal in mind. The most important thing you can do is quickly support the reader's immediate goal. Anything else is gravy! Try to identify the most common reasons someone would visit your site. You already know what you want to say to them, but what do they want to hear from you?

This list is meant to get you started, not to be the blueprint for your whole site.

What You Must Include

How to Visit

Mention the time and night of the week on which you hold chapter meetings.
Include a full street address--with postal code!--for people who want to use their own mapping system to get directions.
Mention parking details and directions from the parking lot if necessary.
If you have a member who can be reached during the day of your rehearsal, include his/her contact information. If a visitor is running late, they'll also appreciate a rehearsal hall phone number.

How to Hire

Booking Contact Information
Name, phone number, good times to call.
Themed performance packages? Birthdays? Anniversaries?

Optional Information

Now we're into the information that is of information to some of your readers, but not all.

How and Why to Join

What to Leave Behind

You're building a barbershop website for a reason. Stay on message!

Don't Add Frilly Elements

There are companies that will let you include a graphic indicating local weather on your site. I've also seen sites that include a live clock in the page. Unless your barbershop organization is composed entirely of meteorologists or horologists, skip gewgaws like this. The visitor came to your site to learn about your organization. They already know where to get information about the world at large.

Don't Shill for Software Vendors

There's a long tradition of sites advertising the tools they used to build their site. Unless you've been paid to do so, don't give the software folks free advertising. Your choice of software rarely impacts your readers in a meaningful way, so you shouldn't clutter your page with software logos. I suppose it's possible that a software package would require credit on web sites in their licensing agreements, but I haven't seen that yet.

It is much more important that you not shill for particular browser vendors. If you're offering a link to download a new version of a browser, you're almost certainly doing so because your site uses too much technology. Consider also that very few people have the ability of upgrade their browser, either because their hardware doesn't permit it (think WebTV and cel phones) or because they don't know how. The web is supposed to be an egalitarian place where most content is available to all browsers. See also the Viewable With Any Browser Campaign.

Don't Shill for Hosting Companies

If the hosting company you choose offers you free hosting or is a sponsor of your organization, it is absolutely appropriate to thank them somewhere on your site. If you're paying money for your web hosting, you shouldn't be under any obligation to include a link to the hosting company's web page. Read those licensing agreements!

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