by Haley Cahill-Teubert
Quick question: How often do you visit your chapter’s website?
Maybe the better question is: Since becoming a member, have you ever visited your chapter’s website?
You probably don’t spend a significant amount of time on that site, which is ok. That’s also a good reminder that our chapter websites should not be designed with us in mind. Our chapter websites should be designed with our stakeholders in mind.
Consider all the people who may visit your site: Potential new members, parents of PNMs, advisors, alumnae, campus faculty, transfer students, members of your organization at other institutions, and so on.
And they’re likely not visiting your site for the cute scrolling pictures or the hype video from last year’s Bid Day. They’re likely looking for information, and unfortunately, a lot of times the information they seek isn’t available.
Check out these common website mistakes that could have an impact on your chapter’s recruitment success.
You don’t have a chapter website.
This is an important and (hopefully) obvious place to start. Every chapter needs a website because you can’t necessarily share every piece of important information on Instagram. Plus, not everyone will look to Instagram first. Parents of PNMs and alumnae are probably going to try to find your website first when looking for specific information. Also, if every other chapter on your campus has a site, you definitely need one, or you run the risk of PNMs and parents thinking you’re not an active chapter on campus. If you don’t have a website, there are a ton of platforms you can use to create one. Your (inter)national organization may also be able to help you create one or have a standard template for you to follow.
The officers are not listed OR have not been updated.
If a PNMs parent wants to contact the recruitment chair for more information, but is not able to find a list of officers and email addresses on your site OR the information listed is for an officer in 2017, that’s not good. Are your current officers listed on your website? Are their email addresses listed as well? Some officers may not want their personal email addresses listed, and that’s ok. If you haven’t already, you can create an email account for each office that can be handed over to new officers each year. For example, your email address could be vprAlphaAlphaAlphachapter@gmail.com Ensure this information is updated annually by including it as an officer responsibility for your communications chairs, for example.
You do not have information about submitting letters of recommendation.
If letters of recommendation are required or allowed, your website should have information about where those can be sent. Be sure to include important details such as deadlines as well.
The website is expired.
This is a no-brainer, but if you don’t regularly visit your own site to make sure it’s updated and running smoothly, you might not know the site’s domain has expired, which isn’t good news for you if PNMs are able to access sites of every other chapter. Routinely check that your site is active and accessible on a variety of internet browsers.
You do not have social media handles linked.
Think of any company you follow closely. Maybe it’s a clothing store you love or a restaurant you can’t get enough of. You have probably signed up for their email notifications and follow them on different social media platforms so you can stay in the know and see any time they’ve made announcements, launched something new or are offering a promotion. PNMs, parents and alumnae often do the same thing. They want to see your website, but they also want to follow you on social media so they can stay informed. Be sure your website has links to your social media accounts, and that the links are not broken or go to old accounts.
You don’t link the website for PNMs to sign up for recruitment.
You might think PNMs always access the recruitment registration link through your fraternity and sorority life office’s website, but sometimes that can be hard to find, too. And truth be told, a lot of PNMs don’t know there’s such a thing as a fraternity and sorority life office. If they happen to stumble upon your website though and are inspired to sign up for recruitment, it’s important they can find information about it right on your site or at least a link to the appropriate site. Include the link (and update it every year) for registration and any other applicable information from the Greek life office because PNMs may look to chapter websites for that information.
You don’t have FAQs.
The funny thing about frequently asked questions is that it often feels like common knowledge to us, but for PNMs and their parents, sorority life is a whole new world that poses so many questions. Include a page for FAQs for PNMs and parents. That might include information about GPA requirements, what to wear during recruitment, your chapter’s philanthropy, how dues are paid, leadership opportunities, membership expectations, etc. Having this information available online also means you can spend more time building deep relationships with PNMs during recruitment and less time covering topics that are a little more mundane.
A chapter website is more than a collection of cute photos and information about your organization’s founding. It’s an opportunity to give your stakeholders important information they’re looking for. Keeping your website updated, easy to navigate, and designed with your stakeholders in mind can contribute to the overall success of your chapter.