For a website to be effective ypu need to establish what you wnat to achieve with it before you commit too much time.
The Parish Council - earlier thoughts
Seeing that EssexInfo.net has closed (is closing) and you wil have to have made other plans regarding a website for your organisation you should also have made the judgement on what you want your website to do. The primary goal in fulfilling the legal requirement is to provide Transparency in a matter that falls in line with Data Protection laws (GRDP).
Things that you don't need
If you are like me there was never a need to have "Members" being allowed to "join" the website.
Members and GDPR
Another consideration when having a "Members" function on your website is how you use the information captured in the process. It is likely, as the members joining are doing so via an email you not only need to have a clear statement of your GDPR policy on your website but you need specific permissions in how you use all the information onn your members. This not only applies to email addresses, members may want to recieve updates and news from your website, but street addresses, telephone nubers and any other personal information that you may have on the member.
A recent example relating to a survey asking those that attended a village event on what they thought could not be mailed to villagers that emails were known, due to an on-line booking or other communications, as a clear GDPR policy had not been established with the attendees.
Things that you want
Functionality such as an events calendar and on-line polls may be something that is important to your community.
If you require such functionality then you may want to consider a hosting slution that uses a CMS system such as Wordpress. There are services such as SurveyMonkey which you can use for surveys and polls. Events Calenders, while offered as part of thee EssexInfo cms, are also widely available and are often part of most technology users experience. The integration of such Event Calenders with apps that users may have on their Smartphones may obviate their use as you need to ensure that the interface works or it is useless.
Facility booking, such as the hire of a village hall, may be important for you. Again there are many of these available independantly and better for you as they are particularly difficult to implement yourself using a platform such as Wordpress. If you aren't careful you will spend too much time creating a webform that is not only a target for hackers and spammers it will be little more than an online email page that simply sends you an email that you will then have to deal with a return email or telephone call. You probably will have no means to process credit/debit card payments and check availblity and numbers booked. Third party apps and programs will do all this for you.
News letters and alerts may be something that you require. Automatic emailing of members about upcoming events, such as council meetings, and the results and resolutions of such meetings and polls can be useful but often not easy to setup and maintain.
What do I want to achieve?
I am not quite sure here. I enjoy coding pages and seeing who visits my website. I am not looking for work and I don't really care if anyone finds these pages.
As far as the other websites that I am responsible the goals are simpler:
- The Parish Council - Legal Requirement - Transparency, posting of meeting minutes, agendas and financials - Information on Village
- The Village Hall - Information and booking of Events at the hall, Information on the Committee Members and Hall Rental rates and conditions.
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) - including WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1.
- Can your pages be found?
- Semantically Linked pages
- Can your pages be found?
- An experiment in web design - my goal in August 2019
- Ia a single page website worth £1 per month?
- How I am going to solve the EssexInfo closing issue - an old page
- What are the legal requirements for a parish council website?
- Survey Monkey 🔗 - an online way to conduct a poll