QUESTION: We already have a website. Can we still benefit from this service somehow?

ANSWER: Yes, in many ways...

1.     The service provides a free sub-site for every individual sports team and classroom in NZ which can be securely updated by coaches or teachers. These sub-sites each have their own photo and video galleries and can be used by your organisation even if you retain your existing website. They can be easily linked from your existing website to enhance that site at no cost.

2.    It is generally accepted that if you want people to know about your organisation, it should be listed in as many places on the internet as possible (especially where it's free). You can include a link back to your existing website so that if someone searches for your organisation, they'll see a link to your site.

3.    Sportsground and Schoolground sites include a unique tool for fundraising that allow organisations to raise funds through advertising banner positions. A supporter can click on a banner position and create a message or advert right there and then, then pay online. The message or advert is displayed for two months once it has been approved by you. And the advertiser can update it throughout this period. So, for example, a butcher could change their advert each week to reflect their weekly special. This can be used for fundraising campaigns around individual teams or classrooms without replacing an existing website.

4.    Sportsground and Schoolground websites are incredibly easy to update by logging in from any computer connected to the internet. You do not need any web design skills. When you're logged in you will see text that makes things easy, such as “Click here to add a picture”. There is also a comprehensive online Help if you ever get stuck.

5.    These free websites are HUGE. They accept over 100 pages of content, including photo and video galleries, newsletters, documents and provide group email for announcements. They also support third party services such as Picasaweb image galleries and YouTube video if desired. You can use these features to expand your existing site, or to upgrade from your existing site.

6.    Website hosting and maintenance is free!

7.    The service is designed to reduce common website mistakes. For example, some websites take a long time to load due to oversized images being displayed. This can be particularly frustrating for people trying to access your site, especially from a dial-up connection. Generally the only way to overcome this is to manually resize your images before they are uploaded. However, Sportsground and Schoolground sites do this for you automatically.

8.    The service reduces the risk of some website viruses. Some websites allow people to download MS Word doc files and MS Excel xls files. This is generally accepted as poor practice because not everyone has Word or Excel to view the files, and these file types can transmit viruses. Sportsground and Schoolground sites automatically convert these files types to PDF format for you - which are safe from viruses and can be viewed by everyone for free.
9.    It lets you have more than one editor and can be securely updated from any computer connected to the Internet, so the responsibility for updating the site can be easily shared between people with their own login details. This can transform your website from a static brochure to a dynamic communication tool.

10.    It is easy to retain your own web address (domain name) and display your Sportsground or Schoolground site if you wish.

11.    It includes opt-in group email for notices at both the main website level and for each team or classroom sub-site. This makes it a great tool for communicating to your community, even if you want to retain another website.