GreenNet web projects are all about planning, designing, building and hosting websites that work for you and the issues you’re working on.
The GreenNet web team have worked for more than ten years building websites for NGOs, campaigns, social enterprises, development projects, ethically-minded freelancers and community groups. And we just get better and better at doing it which means a) all the work that is done in the name of one web project gets shared for the benefit of all subsequent projects and b) we're now the best we ever have been so there's never been a better time to ask us to build a site for you!
GreenNet web project basics
Every project is different but there are some pretty consistent threads running through all the sites we build:
- Transparent navigation
- Accessible content for both people and search engine robots
- Simple data structures for organisations to update
- Effective tools for collaboration between workers
- Engaging spaces for supporters to interact with your work
Step 1: Planning
Step 2: Building
Step 3: Testing
|Our web projects begin with a collaborative planning phase, in which we work together with you to devise a project plan and site architecture. This can take various forms – from meeting around the GN drafting table, to workshopping with you and your colleagues, to discussing things online by email.||With plans drawn up and agreed, we move onto the technical development phase. All our web projects use open source content management technologies. We install the core system and customise it according to the original plans with appropriate spaces for all the content and features.||Once the site has been set up, we provide you with documentation and training which guides you through how to manage the site. As you begin the critical work of populating the site with content, we work together through a phase of structured testing of all the site’s functions and features.|
So much for the basics, what about the extras?
We take a modular approach to web development which means that your site can be extended with additional features as and when you need them. Creating new features is about bringing together your organisational needs, our technical experience and a lot of joint creativity. The list below contains some edited highlights of features we've developed for recent web projects. If you can't see exactly what you're after in this list, get in touch and let us know. We'll have a think and let you know what we think might work for you.
You want lots of different people to visit your site. You want to make it easy for all of them to find what they're looking for but you can't possibly create a special menu for each of them. Please put your hands together and breathe a great sigh of relief for the guided search. From fridges to briefing papers, the genius of the guided search is in presenting the user with appropriate filters for narrowing down what they're looking for - guiding them through the themes, regions, and resource types (or eco-efficiency ratings!) that are covered in their original search query.
We know from the amazing work of our web clients that there's an awful lot to be done - prisoners to be released, censored voices to be broadcast, accused activists to be vindicated, humiliated people to be condoned - but sometimes it's not enough to simply let the world know about these injustices. The world needs to show its outrage and respond. GreenNet's CitizenSpeak action forms are designed for just that - providing your readers with immediate access to send an editable pre-written letter to the people who hold release keys for the victims of injustice.
You know how it is - a site full of pure gold content - each article more useful than the last and pretty soon you've lost the path back to where you started from. What you really need is a place to stash those gems as you find them. Enter the bundle maker - part filing cabinet, part shopping trolley, part case-builder. It's a tool for logged in site users to squirrel away selected documents and clippings that they discover as they go through the site in their own privately saved folders.
Jargon, we have observed at GreenNet, has become a bit of a neglected weakness in many organisations' communications strategies. Whether your work is about strategic use and capacity building, empowerment of marginalised communities, or even multi-stakeholder policy dialogue spaces, a glossary can help your readers understand what you're on about. If you're concerned with accessibility, your written content is a very good place to start.
Online subscription systems have come a long way since we began providing mailing lists in the 1980s. Now you can take your pick from simple online subscription forms and web-integrated emailed newsletters, to fully functional subscription management systems, with online payment options, renewal notices, and relationship management features.
Where in the world are you? An online map gives users a clear graphical display of who is where doing what. And the tool that we use to create it gives you a really simple way of plotting new members, initiatives, chapters or whatever it is that's got a location.
If your work extends to speakers of other languages, it's probably a good time to start thinking about getting your website to speak to them. There's a range of exciting technical ways of presenting other language content online.The one that's right for your site will need to first consider your capacity for producing translated content. It may be starting with a modest site section that simply lists any available translated docs, or alternatively if translation capacity is no object then you can go the whole hog and have replica alternate language sites that translate everything at the switch of the language menu.
Calendar of events
What's going on and where's it happening? Getting your events sorted into a time-ordered list is a great idea, especially when that list can also be downloaded as an iCal file and imported into personal calendars. It's an even better idea if you're trying to get more bums on seats and want a simple way to sell tickets, take registrations or just get an idea of numbers. We can do a little cutie calendar gizmo in the corner of your events section, a great big calendar grid with pop-up event details or just a plain and simple monthly list. Tell us what you're planning and we'll create a calendar that works for you.
Now we know that most people start their browsing journeys with a global engine like Google, but once you've landed on the right site, we think the site's own search should be sufficient for finding things locally. And yet you'd be surprised how many content rich organisations keep their content hidden from their own internal search engines by locking it up in not-properly indexed PDFs, sending their readers packing back to Google. And that's why we've started using the Apache solr search. It's an amazingly powerful search for organisations whose content stretches into the 1000s. It searches through PDF content and lets you control whether it's a document's title, index term or body text etc... that should decide whether it gets pushed up or down a search results list
Creating a private online space for your friends, donors, collaborators and partners to get together can have all sorts of useful consequences - apart from not needing to buy a ticket or drive to get there, they may also be more likely to post ideas, more willing to share information, or feel a stronger sense of belonging because of what they get access to in the private space. A members-only area on a website can be anything from a modest filing cabinet of privileged-access docs to a discussion space for conference agenda planning, an address book of members' contact details, or a collective calendar.
We implement site coding in either HTML 4.01 or XHTML, as defined by the W3C in their accessibility standards. This involves the use of CSS1 and CSS2 (Cascading Style Sheets) which allow different layouts for screen and print.
Sites are hosted on our renewably powered servers at a colocation centre in London. Overnight, weekly, monthly and six monthly backups are made onsite and offsite. See our server hosting page for more detail on GN’s hosting service.
Each web project is individually priced according to the development work necessary to build the site. Costs are always based on GreenNet’s hourly rate of £75 plus VAT.
Prices for recent projects have looked like this..
- A free lancer's CV style 5 page website - £1200
- An office intranet with a file store, calendar and contacts database – £4000
- A site rebuild including automated import of old content, and site re-structuring – £12000
- A multi-lingual site with a calendar, and discussion forum – £18000
Let us know if you are looking for a quote for web development which will form part of a funding application to a donor. We are happy to work with you on the technical component and costings of your proposal.