U3A Site Builder: Frequently-asked Questions

Site Publication

What does site publication entail?
A published site has its own URL (web address), so visitors can see it without going via the Site Builder. It also has space for uploaded files, and an extra "front page" to show an introductory picture.
Why can't I add pictures and document to a site before it's published?
Allocating the file-space involves some administrative work, so we usually wait until a site looks like a going concern before doing it. At any given time we have 20-30 sites "under construction", a good proportion of which never reach the publication stage.
When is a site ready for publication?
When it gives potential visitors useful information about, and a good impression of, a local U3A's activities — just as with printed publicity. There should be something relevant on each of the four main pages: Welcome, Groups, Events, and Contact. Many U3As apply more stringent quality standards: often a site must be "passed" by the committee before going public.
How do I get my site published?
Mail the support team at sitebuilderu3a@googlemail.com and ask. We'll either do it there and then, or suggest possible improvements to bring it up to standard.
Suppose I want to put pictures on a site before showing it to the committee for approval?
If the site looks near to completion you can mail the support team as above and that can be arranged. For a temporary period, links to it from the u3asites front pages will be suppressed.
What else must I do once my site is published?
Most importantly, get a link to it from the Third Age Trust site. Send a message to the U3A national office (website@u3a.org.uk) about your new URL, asking for the link to your U3A to be included or replaced. It sometimes takes a little time for that to happen, but it will eventually!
What form will the URL take?
Something like http://u3asites.org.uk/utopia where "utopia" stands for the real U3A name. If it's a long or "double-barrelled" name you can choose exactly how to represent it in the URL. URLs may contain only lower-case letters, plus a hyphen if required.
Are published sites automatically found via Google?
Not immediately. Search engines find and index web pages by following links from other pages, The more links to your site the sooner it will be found, and the higher up the hit-list it will go. So you should also try to get links from other relevant sites, e.g. those for your own U3A region and network, neighbouring U3As, and community sites in your area, including the one for your local authority.
How will my members find the site if they can't use Google?
They don't need Google if they already know the URL. Publicise it in as many ways as possible, via meetings, newsletters, notices, etc. Suggest that members "bookmark" it (make it a favourite) in their own web browsers.
My U3A has an old site — how do we make the changeover?
If you can still edit your old site, remove everything from it except the home page, and replace any content there with a link to the new site. That's an interim measure to allow visitors to find the new site while the search engines are still pointing at the old one. Once the new site turns up in searches, remove the old site altogether.
My U3A has its own domain name, i.e. http://u3topia.org.uk. Can I transfer it to u3asites?
You can't "transfer" it to u3asites, as we aren't a domain registration service, but you can usually "forward" it to your new URL. You'll need to log in to the site from which you purchased the domain name, and look for the forwarding option. Once that's done, anyone clicking on http://u3topia.org.uk (e.g. from the Third Age Trust or Google), should immediately be taken to http://u3asites.org.uk/utopia.

Back to the main FAQs page