“We Want A Website!”

I hear it asked a lot, in a few different ways. We have the direct, “We want a website.” Or there is the more casual, “We are interested in a website.” And of course, the more inquisitive, “So, what would it take for us to possibly, maybe, in some way, request a bit of your time, to maybe, sorta, possibly build a website?”

Sometimes the requests come from organizations themselves, or sometimes through various volunteers working with organizations. Most of the time however, they come with a level of ignorance about what a website even is. The same kind of ignorance that many Americans have about what a website really is, but here, there are fewer people able to clear it up, fewer people advertising their services in ways that local NGOs or Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) might be aware of, or, most contributively, fewer people doing it for free.

So I pimp myself out as a web developer, or apparently more appropriately a web consultant.

My latest, “client,” is the Likii Water Resources User Associate (LWRUA). Likii is an NGO that is devoted to informing local people about the impact their actions have on the dwindling water resources of the Likii (pronounced like “leakey”) River and catchment area. They also take active steps in promoting projects that help people better use and preserve these water resources. Steps include but are not limited to: building appropriately-drained outhouses, helping install drip-irrigation systems, build and install properly-draining wash stations, promote river clean-up days, and survey the general uses of the river and its current geographic characteristics. They also currently enjoy the service of a fellow Peace Corps volunteer, Gavin (whose blog you find linked-to at right). He’s the one who brought me in for the consulting because the organization is interested in a website.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to ““We Want A Website!”

  1. Jesse

    If it didn’t cost too much, I’d say a self-hosted WordPress blog is the way to go. I am also in the process of creating a business site for my mother using iWeb and I must say you can make some pretty slick, professional sites with it. My main worry about self-hosting WP is that you have to find space to host that won’t break the bank, then you also have to have enough knowhow to make your blog into a website that’s unique.

    What’s you’re take?

  2. iWeb is great and all, but still requires a) the iWeb software b) time. The organization needs to focus on generating content and what this all even means, so starting them off with simple, freely-hosted WP is the way to go.

    But WP was chosen specifically because it has a nicely delineated upgrade path, where we would migrate over to a self-hosted WP-based site. In terms of making it look good however, they would still need to bring in a web designer who knows how to work with WP templating to make the site look different. Also, it requires setting up an account with a Kenyan Web Hosting service, which are at best ok, and at worst, absolutely horrendous. And if my web-based research is anything to go by (which it may not be), then more of them are horrendous than ok.

    So for now the goal is to introduce the organization to the rigours of content generation without having other distractions to worry them. Because ultimately, if you can’t push solid content, get off the web.