Ham Radio Club Website “Woes”

One of our pet hates, and something we’ve discussed online lots… problems with club websites.

A club’s website is the club’s online front door – there to attract new members, and to help promote and grow the hobby. Are we really doing the best we can to sell ourselves online?

In our 2019 survey, over 500 amateurs told us what they want from an amateur radio club. Here are the results:

2019 Club Survey: What do you want from your club?

Top answer – “An up-to-date website” – so, how well do clubs do at staying up-to-date, serving their members and promoting the hobby? We thought we’d take a look.

In June 2019, we had a look at some of the leading amateur radio websites for the RSGB Region 12 area. The results were quite interesting, and below you’ll find some of the “could do betters” that we found on our surf around the worldwide wireless web.

Disclaimer – these examples are here to demonstrate some of the more common problems – there’s no intention put down the work put in by those who maintain club websites (a thankless job), but to make a point that now and again, it’s important to assess just how we’re looking to the outside world…

It’s Dead Jim

We found a few broken and “coming soon” sites in Norfolk & Suffolk – not a great start:

Screengrab of ham radio website issue

Screengrab of ham radio website issue

Screengrab of amateur radio website issue

4 Oh 4

We found a few broken home or primary pages, such as:

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Nothing to see – move along…

Several less-than-active clubs agendas detected in Region 12…

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Screengrab of ham radio website issue

We admire the honesty of this club…

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.. we checked, and no, they hadn’t forgotten – still nothing going on!

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Back in time

It’s great that clubs take pride in previous events and have a photo gallery – but if the last set of photos were taken 15 years ago, the club may some across as a little passive…

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Screengrab of ham radio website issue

If it’s broke, fix it…

Guessing no-one’s looked for a while and spotted a broken plug-in…
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Screengrab of ham radio website issue

True Colours?

White on light blue, and a lot of inverse colour can be fun, but…

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Space – the final front-end

When your homepage only has a couple of paragraphs, some side-borders or photos can help to fill out a page that shows 80% whitespace when widescreen

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Shhh – We’re a secret!

This club may have taken the new GDPR rules a little over-seriously…

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Videos are great at selling the hobby… so why hide them behind a password. Unless they’re “that kind of video”…

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A picture could paint a thousand words

Nothing is less inspiring than a monochrome Times New Roman site with no images. Would this inspire you to enter a tech hobby?

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TBA

Dates for the diary – three opportunities to watch a mystery DVD, or to listen to an unnamed talk. Make sure you stick it in the diary now…

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Let’s Make a Date

Not updated for over 6 years? Decent detail though, so we cacalculate the exact number of seconds of since it was last touched

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Is 2018-19 copyright-free?

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And what of this club calendar… are these entries 2018 or 2019? Either way – they need removing. And what happened in January, lads?

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Read all about it

Every month we’ll have a newsletter, apart from August, and the occasional year off…

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Have we got a video?

Great that this club has set up a YouTube channel… but not unsurprising that no followers are following no videos…

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Safety first

Site security is an important issue. If you’re taking money from the public, having an insecure site is a bit of a no-no, especially when there are free SSL certificates like LetsEncrypt out there…

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One of the RAYNET groups seems to have been compromised. Originally, we were going to observe that the last blog entry was 5 years ago, but on closer inspection, the blog is full of spam links. The site is running WordPress 3.9.3 (nearly 4 and a half years old), which might explain how ths happened…

Screengrab of amateur radio website issue

Like a virgin

Found on these two training sites – Can the 17-year old Foundation licence still be classed as “new”?

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Screengrab of amateur radio website issue

Off Course?

And staying with training. No clues on Foundation, and as for Intermediate – We’re in mid-June… is this next April’s course, or one we missed two months ago?

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And again… 5 months ago?

Here’s an odd one. Exam date is last December, but the new syllabus starts in September 2019. The photo’s of the old syllabus book. Any guesses?

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This training club seems to have missed that Foundation has been 26 questions in 55 minutes for some years now…

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Pitch Perfect?

You can add a tag to make sure that your entry looks great in Google. The “Description” is the sales pitch for your club. This club’s selling cookies!

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Staying with Google listings. Mis-spelling “amateur” is not a good start if you want to rank well. And who is Kim?

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Google also shows another entry for the same site. Both the title and description tags need some TLC…

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Auto Pilot

Every club needs its committee. Has this club been running on autopilot for the last two years?
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This club needs some new blood. Their committee meetings must be fun… Is each committee member their own quorum?

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Where am I?

Then there are sites that still use Framesets. Land on a page from Google, and you can’t get back home – plus you get some fun web addresses

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Squint and Stab?

More and more folk are surfing on mobiles. When you hit a mobile unfriendly site, it can hurt. Very difficult selecting a tiny link from a collection of other tiny links with fat fingers…

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Google provides a free mobile-friendly site checker, which gives the above site a clear fail

Google Mobile Friendly Checker

Unsocial Media

Social media’s very important nowadays. It’s great that this club has a Twitter feed, but hidden from the public… really?

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This club created their Twitter feed in 2012 and gave up after 5 months. Time for an update?

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Found any that we’ve missed? Let us know!

More Reading

  • Improving Club Websites – Our printable guide for clubs looking to improve their online offering. Do us a favour, and pass it on to anyone in need!

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