My chapter is considering a website - where do we start? #website

Alan Katsura, Moderator, CA Diablo Valley Chapter

I have started this discussion thread as a continuation from the recent HLAA Leaders group thread on websites. 
Alan Katsura
Moderator HLAA Tech Group

Michelle Gross, HLAA Rochester

Thanks for doing this Alan; you are a brave soul indeed! By way of getting to know each other, my name is Michelle Gross from the Rochester NY Chapter. Our Website was my second foray into learing about Websites. I inherited the job knowing "0", a big nothing about Websites when the person who designed our prior Website suddenly left the job. He basically showed me how to sign in, then it was sayonara! That was in 2013. Fortunately, I had something to go on and over the years have grown into the job. Our current Website was redesigned in 2018 but of course is a work in progress.

Rich Osborne

I think it depends upon your skill level. I started out building on godaddy (at one time was free) using their web site builder. I graduated to doing my own with html, later added php. There are free and somewhat easy-to-use options with Microsoft Azure but this would require a smidge of technical ability. Our North Bay chapter uses squarespace (I think we pay a nominal amount), which suits our purposes and meets the requirement of not requiring technical knowhow. I developed a mobile app database for us using Xamarin but so few people have android phones that I have scrapped it; Apple Store policies prevent me from developing an ios version. I am currently developing a web-based database for us using razor, c# and sqlite on Microsoft Azure, which will be free using my technical sophistication. I have also installed and loaded a database using Sales Force for Non Profits. As I think you know, Sales Force offers a free 10-user license to non-profits but their product is a major overkill and highly complex. Both of these systems leave open the issue of replacing me but are a major asset in the meantime.  

Peggy Bell, FL

Basic Wordpress sites are pretty easy to set up, maintain and are reasonably priced - $99 to $299 per year for hosting, CMS and support.  Google for 20% off coupons before you pay! 


Michelle Gross, HLAA Rochester

When it came time to re-do our Website I  continued with the choice of our former Webmaster (Homestead Websites It uses a wysiwyg is rather expensive, but provides full support, "community" and phone and a lot of flexibility. It uses "Websitebuilder" (a program that allows you to create your website without knowing code) and is responsive (has the ability to adapt to different devices computer to phone), although the mobile version can be awkward when editing.

I looked into CMS like Word Press ( the builder not the Webhost), for me it wasn't a good fit. I wasn't confident about my ability to select "safe", reliable plugins and maintain their updates and compatibility. 

A lot of plug in use also can slow down page loading and we elected to have a multipage website.  There may be some other downsides and certainly it's widely used and can be very flexible and ideal for some Webmasters. WP was originally devised for Blogs so it's ideal for one page Websites but for me, it isn't the best fit. Of course lots of developers competeing for plugins can be a good thing as well, so I don't knock it. Also there are multiple Webhosts that provide a variety of services; just wasn't the way I chose to go.
Michelle Rochester ny

Sara Oser, President, HLAA North Bay of California

As Rich Osborne explains in his post, we use Squarespace.  My son set it up for us with our input.  We all got together one day and he asked how we wanted it organized, From that he created the site. Then we found images and paid for them.  We pay $200-$250 per year for the site.  It has a button where people can sign up for the newsletter.  That information automatically goes into Mailchimp.  I edit the website, but I haven't made any structural changes.  I feel that this is an easy way to get started if you have someone who knows Squarespace to set it up. Mailchimp works pretty well for sending newsletters and emails and connects to social media. I learned how to use it during a winter break. I just do what I can with what I can figure out.  

Alan Katsura, Moderator, CA Diablo Valley Chapter

There are WordPress hosts that donate services to non-profits. Although they are shared hosting plans, they are adequate for low traffic sites. Our chapter currently uses Bluehost. Bluehost's services include email - where you can set up personalized email addresses such as yourname@.... I understand the Mailchimp recently added basic website creation to its package of free services.
Alan Katsura
Moderator HLAA Tech Group

Wynne Whyman

Two website builders that are easy to use (minimal technical knowledge), with templates, tools (like visitor visits), and hosting all in one:


Domain name registration is extra (or you can connect to a separate registration company)

Alan Katsura, Moderator, CA Diablo Valley Chapter

Hi Wynne

Ann mentioned that Mailchimp has added a website builder to their free package. 

Alan Katsura
Moderator HLAA Tech Group

Tony Ferack

The volunteer that has been maintaining our website,, is retiring.  We are looking for someone that can maintain the site for us.  Can someone recommend a company that can handle routine maintenance?  Recently, someone pointed out that we are missing a SSL certificate.  I understand this may not be serious, but perhaps input from others will help clarify.  I believe we need to make sure plug-ins may need to be updated on a regular basis???  Any ideas on what we should expect to pay for any services?  The immediate need is to get someone to have access to the site so that our retiree can pass the baton. 
Tony Ferack, Hearing Technology Resource Specialist
Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
President, HLAA-MI Board of Trustees
SE Michigan Walk4Hearing Treasurer
President, Western Wayne County Chapter
Gallaudet University Certified Peer Mentor for Hearing Loss