20 Feb Front Page Features
In addition to publishing news and notices online, the FHA website provides another place for Fearrington groups to publicize their activities. There are no space limitations on the website, and color photographs and illustrations are easily included. There are now more than twenty Fearrington groups with their own websites contained within the FHA site, and an increasing number of representatives of these groups are learning to create articles that are unique to the website. As a user, you have probably noticed more of these featured articles on the front page of the website, particularly in the last year. It was with the two long, informative articles by written by Guy Baird with photographs by Jim Brooking — The Trees of Camden Park and Trees in Fearrington Village Center — that we first became aware of how great the interest was in content original to the website. Each of these articles now has over 2500 hits.
With the latest redesign, we have decided to end the practice of duplicating the weekly events roster on the front page in single-column format (with a long list of links at the bottom of the page) and listing them again in two columns under News. All upcoming events will as always appear, in date order, on the News page, now in three column format, and most will appear again on the Coming Events crawl which can be seen on all four main pages. The opening page of the website will now contain fewer articles, but will include all the featured articles we can get.
So how does a group get an article featured on the front page?
The most important requirement is that any group wanting front page exposure must have a representative who creates that article on the website to begin with. The website team does not create articles for groups that want publicity, as much as we might sympathize with that need, but we will happily train any who are willing to learn to post their own.
The second criteria is that in almost every case there should be some sort of illustration. A photo or two adds interest and color to any article. We encourage features regarding upcoming events, but there are some cases in which past events will make a good feature. Good examples of reports of past events are the Women of Fearrington article informing us of the success the “Dress It Up!” accessory sale results, which can still be seen on the WoF website, and the Adopt-a-Highway pick-up reports.
Speaking of rhythm, timing is everything. The website has its busy times and its slower times. Towards the end of the newsletter cycle before the new edition comes out, for example, is a good time to get some special coverage.
Finally, a featured article should be different from your newsletter blurb — expanded or, ideally, completely new. It could be an article written for your group subsite’s Home and News page. It should be written well and look and read more like an news article than a poster announcing an upcoming meeting. Poster-like formats are strongly discouraged as they need editing and formatting to make them website-friendly.