Why should my association have a website?
- First is effective communication. It's important for any group to keep members up-to-date on the latest information, newsletters and official documents. A website is a great tool to disseminate this information to other people. Plus, this information is at their fingertips 24/7.
- A website helps reduce administrative expenses. Not only does a website help relieve the administrative burden on the association board members but it also reduces costs for copying, mailing and responding to requests since fewer items have to be mailed.
- Better and timelier communication to your members. After a meeting you can post your minutes on the website so that members can be quickly informed.
- No more excuses from members that they didn't know the policies of the group. They can always view them on the website.
- With paperless processes, visitors can fill out forms online which will be emailed to the person(s) you designate. You can then respond to them via email.
- Members can see “what’s gong on” and communicate easier. This gives members more of a feeling that they are part of the group.
- Better organization of your association notes and documents. Store all of your document revisions, notes, minutes etc on your website. All officers and committee members can be given access to manage files online. This is especially useful when board members change and historical documents don't always get transitioned to their replacement.
- Added value to your group. Your website should show the pride members have of their group.
Why use a professional website design firm instead of doing it ourselves?
Many people have web design skills of various levels. Chances are somebody in your own association may volunteer to design and maintain your website. In these situations it's a good idea to consider the following:
- What is their level of expertise?
- Will the site appear professional?
- Can they create the functionality you need and want?
- How long will it take to plan and develop the website?
- Will you spend too much time on an unproven process?
- Can they manage a website hosting account?
- What time do they have now and in the future to maintain the website?
- Will they do what's in the best interest of the association?
- What happens when they disagree with the board's actions?
- What happens when they leave or become too busy?
Any of these can cause tough situations for association board members.
Who is Association Live?
We have been in the web design and hosting business since 2001. Our parent company provides full service website design and hosting to a wide variety of clients.
Association Live was formed as a response to groups and small businesses approaching us needing a custom website solution. Some of these people had an existing website nobody knew how to maintain and others were looking for a new website to help reduce their administrative costs. We knew we could help on both fronts by creating a service specifically for them.
What types of support do you provide?
We make sure you are supported from every direction.
- Our hands-on support is a phone call or email away.
- Browse our extensive knowledgebase filled with step-by-step instructions including screen shots to better show you the best methods.
- Helpful Tips are located throughout the Admin Panel to give you quick tips on best practices and to help you administer your website.
Can you support an association as large/small as we are?
Yes. Both our features and services were developed from the ground up to ensure they are always scalable to support associations of any size. Because of this approach we don't base our fees on the number of members in your association.
Do I need to know anything about websites to do this?
No. Our user friendly Admin Panel is designed to be a self-service portal for non-technical people. You'll be able to edit your text, upload documents and control your website's functionality through our familiar Microsoft Windows interface. If you're comfortable using programs such as Microsoft Word and checking email you'll find the Admin Panel very easy to use. You'll simply add your text in a box, click save and it's live on your website. No HTML or technical knowledge needed.
Can I see a demo?
Yes. Visit our website demo to see our features in action.
Do you advertise on our website?
No. We do not force any advertisements onto your website for our financial gain. Any sponsors you have who wish to advertise on your website is 100% income to your association. We will however place a link back to Association Live at the bottom of your website.
Will you share our contact information with other people?
What spam controls do you have in place?
We integrate features to help keep spammers from finding your email addresses to begin with. Fill in web forms are setup to hide the recipient's email address, require an image verification code and prohibit common spam words from being included in the message.
Can I see your service agreement?
View our Website Service Agreement here.
Can you also provide web design services to our members' businesses?
Yes. We can help your members with their website needs as well. Our parent company provides website design and hosting services to businesses of all sizes.
How much do you charge to create and host the website?
Our rates are a flat fee regardless of the number of members in your organization. View our pricing here.
How can your pricing be so much lower than the competition?
Each time we hear this question we know we're doing something right. Custom website design was nothing new to us, but we were not going to enter the association niche charging $700 per year for a website.
Instead, our business plan was simple...we worked backwards. We ignored the competition and asked association members who had never explored having a website how much they think a website for their low budget, not-for-profit organization would cost. As you can imagine those were some rather low numbers. After a year of thinking outside the box, we were very pleased with our creation. The key is reliable and efficient processes plus low expenses that we can then pass on to our clients. We could tell you all of our secrets, but then they wouldn't be a secret.
Are there any fees for support or questions?
No. Our support is included in the annual fee.
Will the annual hosting/support fee ever increase?
The prices you see are not a gimmick to get you to sign up so that we can later increase your costs. Of course we cannot predict the future of the economy as it relates to labor and technology costs. If we do face a situation to where we need to increase our fees, our goal will be to keep it reasonable and in line with the industry.
Why don't you charge different rates based on the number of members?
We don't see a need to. From the website design and hosting perspective it doesn't cost us more money just because an association has more members. So, it isn't right to charge more for the same service.
What types of payments do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards. We also accept association checks because we know how those treasurers can be.
What is our billing period and when does it start?
Billing is done annually and begins the day your website is set up.
Can we pay monthly or quarterly for our website?
Our fees are due on an annual basis. This saves both you and us the expense of processing multiple payments throughout the year.
Are there any long-term contracts?
No, you may cancel at any time. Refunds are not issued for the months you have paid in advance.
How does the money-back guarantee work?
If within 30 days following your signup you are not satisfied for any reason you will be refunded the money you have paid minus a domain registration fee if applicable. See the full details here.
Do you provide search engine optimization services?
Yes. We've partnered with a SEO firm who specializes in providing search engine optimization and online marketing services. See the full details here.
How do we make money from the sponsors section?
Other companies pay you directly to advertise their services on your website. We create a special section on your website for these advertisements. We recommend $40 per year for each company. It is also a good idea to include your sponsors in your newsletters and other announcements.
Can we have a local business sponsor our website for us?
Yes. Contact some local businesses (especially realtors) and ask if they'll pay for your website in exchange for exclusive advertising. We suggest that they pay (reimburse) your association directly so that you remain the owner of the website in case they stop being your sponsor later.
Who owns the website that you create for us?
The text, documents and photos you submit for your website are your property and continue to be your property. This also includes the domain name(s) we register for you. Photos and content we provide plus the website's design, code and functionality remain our property.
How much work do I have to do on the website?
Initially, your involvement will include: input on the look of the website, text for the pages and documents/photos you wish to incorporate into the website. We take care of the design, registering the domain name and providing support. You will always be able to maintain your own content, documents and functionality through the Admin Panel.
How many people can have admin access to update the website?
Through the Admin Panel you can assign unlimited people admin access to help maintain your website and keep it up-to-date. We suggest keeping it to a core group based on the "too many cooks in the kitchen" philosophy.
Depending on your plan, you can also have unlimited sub-admins that are given restricted access to manage the content on specific pages and manage the functionality you specify in the Admin Panel. Each sub-admin can have their own access profile independent of other sub-admins or use sub-admin groups that share the same access profile.
How long does it take to create an association website?
Normally the design for your website is assembled in a day. After that, we stay on top of your change requests until you're happy with the layout. Once we present you with the initial design for the website you can immediately start adding the text and documents you wish to include. Then, once you're happy with the website you'll be ready to announce it to your association.
Can I decide what pages are on the website?
Yes. You can have whatever pages you would like on your website.
How does our website get updated after go-live?
You will be able to maintain your own content, documents and features through the Admin Panel.
What features are included?
There are many. You can view a list of features available here. You get to pick which features to include or not to include and even suggest new areas for inclusion. As part of our dedication to fully maintain your site, you can also change your mind after your site goes live without any additional cost.
Are there items we cannot include on the website?
We require all websites to maintain a level of business professionalism with regard to its look, content and use. Websites are not to be used for posting personal matters of or for members or non-members. This includes but is not limited to blogs, dating, match making, personal photos, online chat etc. There are too many legal implications to items such as these.
What is the Admin Panel?
Whoever you assign as one of the Administrators for your website will be able to edit the content on the pages, upload documents and run the features on the website through the Admin Panel. The Admin Panel works a lot like Microsoft Word and sending email, so it does not require any technical knowledge.
Can we have FTP access to our website?
FTP access allows you to connect to the back end of the web server and gives you direct access to the code that's running your website. Therefore, we don't allow FTP access because we need to protect the value and integrity of our software and features. You'll be able to update your website's content and manage its features through the Admin Panel. If there are other changes you need done to your website let us know so that we can take care of them for you.
Can we post surveys?
Yes. Online surveys give you the opportunity to ask for your member's opinions on topics you choose. You can post multiple surveys and members can view real-time results. Closed surveys can be left online for view only. Members may also leave a comment with their vote to further share their thoughts. This also includes features to restrict one vote per survey.
Can I restrict access to certain pages or documents?
Yes. We've found some associations wish to hide their financials and other member documents from public view. Therefore, we set up a username and password members can use to access these types of items. There are also multiple levels of security for each page. This is helpful if there is a page you only wish certain people to access.
Can members create a profile with their contact information?
Yes. We have 30 standard fields plus you can also specify 10 additional custom fields to gather even more information. Members are also able to update their profile themselves in real time or you can restrict certain fields to be only updated by the administrator.
Can you import a spreadsheet with our members' information for their online profiles?
Yes. Depending on your plan, we can take your existing data and use it to create usernames and passwords for your members. There is no additional charge for this service. If there are new fields you're wanting to start tracking, members will be able to log into the website and update their own profiles with the new information.
Can we have a member directory?
Yes. We will use the member's profile information to include in the online directory which is viewable by other members. You'll be able to control which fields to include. Members are also able to choose to make their details public or hide certain data such as email address, phone numbers or children. Plus we feature a powerful resident search that will find/filter members based on multiple criteria.
Can we have a message board?
Yes. Message boards allow members to share thoughts and post questions for other members to respond to. Categories are also created to help keep things organized. The person assigned to be the editor is instantly notified via email of new posts so that they can monitor and edit/delete inappropriate posts.
How do we resize large photos from our digital camera?
One of the issues with sharing photos over the internet is the size of most photos produced by a digital camera are too large to effectively share online. We have the problem solved. Our Photo Album functionality automatically resizes your photos when you upload them to your website so that they are user friendly to view online.
Can we send out mass email announcements to our members?
Yes. We have a user friendly Email Publisher that enables you to create email announcements with formatting (bold, fonts, color, bullets, graphics, links, etc). You can also target your emails to specific members by filtering on their profile data...such as only sending an announcement to members with children.
Can we export our member data to make mailing labels?
Yes. You can export your member profile data into Excel at any time. This will be useful for creating mailing labels. Although, we hope your website has drastically reduced your need to mail items to your members.
Can we have you customize the way one of your features works?
Always let us know how you think our features could be better. If it's something all of our clients could benefit from we'll make it an enhancement request for future development. If it's something specific to your situation we'll need to determine if the customization would be compatible or restrict your website's ability to receive future enhancements. Additional charges may apply.
What is a domain name?
This is the same thing as a web address which is what you type in to pull up a website in your internet browser. (www.associationlive.com)
Will our website be viewed on our domain name?
Yes. You may find with some providers that when you type in your domain name it is redirected back to their domain name for your website's hosting. So, instead of seeing your website on www.yourdomain.com you'll see www.theirwebsitename.com/yourname. Not only does this result in branding issues, but this can also be confusing to visitors and more difficult for you to direct people to a specific page when your website isn't hosted on your own domain name.
What if I don't have a domain name?
You will need to have your own domain name for your website. You can purchase your domain name through another company (there are literally hundreds of domain providers) or you can have your domain name through us. View pricing here.
Should we purchase our domain name(s) before we signup?
That is up to you. Keep in mind that once you've notified us your domain name and we've set up your website you cannot change your mind later about your domain name.
Do we get private registration for domain names you manage for us?
Yes. We will automatically register your domain name with our privacy protection service which hides your contact information from spammers and marketing companies. This service is included for free with all domain registrations.
Can I search for an available domain name now?
I already have a domain name, can I still use it?
That would be up to the company you have your domain name through. You can continue to keep your domain name with your current provider. You can then simply point your domain name to your new website.
If I wish to leave Association Live, can I still use the domain name?
Yes. Each domain name we register and maintain for you is always the property of your association. If you decide to leave, we will release your domain name to the registrar you indicate. This will enable you to still use the domain name to create a new website. We will not charge you a fee to transfer your domain name.