How to build a website for Scouts

So, you’ve been asked to build your Scout Group a website? Or you just want to give it a try? There are lots of ways of setting up a website cheeply, or even for free, but here I’m going to outline the 5 steps I would take take to get one up and running.

Step 1 – Choosing a domain name

What’s a domain name? When you go to any web page, somethign called a URL is displayed in the address bar of your browser. This URL is made up of a number of components, one of which is the domain name which tells us which website we are on. The rest of the URL tell us the position within the site. Here’s an example:

url-structure

So, in our example, the domain name is ‘scouting-themes’.  Coupled with the Top Level Domain (TLD), this makes ‘scouting-themes.org.uk’ which is what we normally tell people to ‘go to’ to see our site.  Sometimes we also add ‘www’, but if your server is set up correctly, this is not always required.

The protocol is ‘http://’. This is the same for all web browsing. On some websites, it might change to ‘https://’ denoting a ‘secure’ connection. However, you should never need to type either of these as modern browsers will add the correct protocol by default.

If your site belongs to a larger site, you may be using a subdomain (other than www). In this case, an example might be: ‘scoutit.scouting-themes.org.uk’ .

Purchasing a domain

You can use our domain search page to check if your desired domain is available.

Step 2 – Choosing your CMS

CMS stands for Content Management System and they are designed to make creating and editing websites easy.  The most popular today is WordPress where an estimated 20% of all websites on the internet use WordPress as a back-end CMS.

Others are available, but if I’m honest, I don’t know much about them.

Step 3- Choosing your website hosting

There are many companies out there that will host your website but if you know you want a WordPress website and it’s for a scout project, you can apply to get a free one from ukscouts.org.uk.  They presently host over 150 scout websites and you get a free ‘<yourname>.ukscouts.org.uk’ domain name.

Step 4 – Choose a theme

That’s what this site is for.  Use the menu at the top of this page to find themes for all sorts of CMS.  My own theme that I use on my Group’s website is called ScoutIT! .

Once you have chosen a theme, follow the installation instructions included.

Good luck! And please do contact me to let me know how you get on!

– Jack