How About Creating A Website For Your Probus Club

and thereby create a greater awareness of Probus in your local community

Whilst many Probians - especially those who are in the 70+ age bracket - still endeavour to maintain a degree of denial about the value of using the internet, younger Probians - and especially those that have more recently retired - are very much into making use of the internet as their principle communications medium and information source.

No longer do we need to rush to the encyclopaedia as our prime information source, and often a telephone call - especially to government institutions - involves a lengthy wait for someone to answer. Then one is sometimes told that the information that one requires can only be obtained 'on line'. Your time has been seriously wasted! The internet can be your best source!

Whether we like it or not, we are being forced to recognise the value and necessity of learning how to use a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. Otherwise we even run the risk of being ignored by our grandchildren who have started to use these devices when even barely out of the cradle!

As administrator of your Association's website, I am asked by your PAV executive and your sponsors to post information on your website including sporting information, Probus events, travel and tour details, and administrative information. Yet I am very much aware that there are still many club officials that rarely - and sometimes never - view our website, and then wonder why they miss important news and information.

Club officials especially need to know how to use the internet NOW, or be left behind!

I also  receive questions at the quarterly delegate meetings from club delegates, as well as phone calls, about information on the website which sometimes show that a delegate is obviously unfamiliar with using our website. In fact, because of enquiries received, there are many organisations, businesses and individuals outside of Probus who take more interest in our Association website than do our Probus members.

What could your club include on its website?

Where and when you meet

What your activities are, such as outings, sports and social activities

Your club's tours and trips

A contact person to enquire about membership

Some clubs with websites even post their monthly news bulletin on their website which can be read by the world at large

Some photos of recent activities can tell the viewer a lot about your membership and whether they appear 'user friendly'!

As you can see, the information can be quite basic, but the more interesting the content, the more likely you are to attract new members.

There are unfortunately clubs that are facing a decline in membership, so a club website could be your best advertisement. If you are hoping that younger seniors might join your club, then remember that these are people who are already familiar with internet use, and their internet searches could lead them to your club.

How do you go about creating a club website? Where do you start? Here are some suggestions for your club committee to consider:

Start by forming a website sub-committee with a minimum of three. One to actually administer your website; one who is a deputy; and one who 'knows the ropes' in case one of the first two decides to retire from the 'job'. All three need to be competent users of their personal computer. Maybe your club might also have its own laptop, in which case they should be familiar with that.

Decide on what information you want posted on your website. This could amount to just a single page, or extend to a number of pages. Maybe your committee should view the 'Probus Club websites' page on this website for ideas used by other Probus Clubs. Some have comprehensive websites whilst others are quite simple.

Your club committee then needs to consider allocating a budget, because there are domain and hosting costs, and, if employing a professional webmaster, he/she will need to be paid. There are many professionals around who would be willing to set up your website, but at your expense. They will charge a one-off cost for website design - this could be several hundred dollars, and there will be always be annual hosting fees and domain charges. You may even be fortunate enough to have a member with the relevant skills to set up your club website 'in house'.

Another option is to approach a local secondary college to see if they have a student or students who would like to tackle creating you club website as a project - great experience for them, and a great help to your club. This could greatly minimise your costs. Maybe also a willing grandchild could provide inexpensive assistance, as computers, tablets and mobile phones, and the workings of the internet are 'second nature' to that age group. Recompense for any work done would be for you to negotiate. Other options to investigate are U3A, or maybe your local community house. If a club finds an inexpensive option for website construction, please advise your website administrator on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You may also like to do your own research by typing - for example - 'how to create an inexpensive website' - into Google. There are a number of listings, and you may find something that suits your club's budget and your capabilities.

For one example, check out recently advertised GoDaddy.com on the web and see if this could be an option for your club.

Finally, clubs should be aware that neither your Association nor its administrator are willing to become involved in website design. The Association employs Chris Maber of YouChoose to host this website and, while all postings are made by the current PAV website administrator, he cannot offer advice on website construction.