9th May 2016

Websites for non-ringers

There are many ringing websites (society, branch and tower) with useful information for ringers (details of bells, ringing times, contact details, etc). Some of this information might also be of interest to non ringers (information about the history of the bells, pictures of the bells, life of the ringers, etc). One way to help spread information about ringing is to provide a lot more information that is specifically intended to interest non-ringers, and to inform them about ringing.

What to include

Include anything you think might interest non-ringers and raise their awareness. Here are some ideas:

  • Ringing at your tower – when you ring, learning at your tower, your performances (peals, quarters, any historic ones, etc), ringing outings, competitions you have won, etc
  • Your ringers – Contact details, pictures (friendly faces), details of any famous ringers at your tower, names of former ringers (which often get picked up by people researching family history), etc
  • Your tower and bells – Details of the bells, other interesting things in the tower, views from the roof, etc
  • Your history – If you know something about the history of your tower, bells or ringers, include it. Local historians may pick it up and show an interest.
  • Your project – If you have had a big project (augmentation, restoration, recruitment drive, or whatever) write up the story with plenty of pictures.
  • General information – It’s useful to put something about how bells work and how ringing works. The level of detail on your own site is up to you – if you prefer, you can use links to other sites such as bellringing.org. Here is an example of about ringing on a tower site.
  • Services you offer – If you offer tower tours or talks on ringing, then give a summary and contact details.
  • Links – Provide links to other ringing websites (which provide more information) and other organisations within your community (which shows that you are part of it).

Use plenty of pictures on your website, as well as words. Make your site look interesting. Look at other websites for good ideas. See an example of what is on one tower website.

Promoting your website

There are four ways to get people to see your website:

  • Tell people about your website. – Include the web address in any article you write or poster you produce. Put it on notice boards, etc where people will see it. Give it to people whenever you talk to them about ringing. Carry some ‘push cards’ (like tower visiting cards) with your name, an image and a link to your website, see an example.
  • Get other websites to link to your website. – Try to get links from as many other sites as possible: civic sites, church sites, council sites, community sites, personal sites, historical sites, and any others with which there is some sort of connection, however tenuous. Look at the other sites and suggest where you think the link might best fit. Providing a link to the other site makes a return link more likely.
  • Help people to find your website. – People using search engines only look at the top few pages listed. Making your site attractive to search engines will get it higher up the list. Having a lot of links to and from it helps, and so does having plenty of diverse information on the site. For more advice, see: Google’s search engine optimisation guide.
  • Help people to ‘come across’ your website. – Most of the time people don’t search for bellringing, but if they come across your site while searching for something else and it looks interesting, they might stop and have a look. The more diverse your site is, the more likely it is to be picked up by a wider range of searches. This is a useful bonus for adding information about things other than bells (the tower architecture, the clock, local legends, former ringers, and so on) – your site is more likely to be found by people looking (or just browsing) for other things.
  • Use suitable keywords. Keywords are hidden in the header of your web pages. They help search engines to know what the page is about. Add keywords like ‘bell’, ‘bellringing’, ringer’, ‘bell ringer’, ‘tower’, and whatever else the page is about, for example ‘peal’, ‘teaching’, ‘maintenance’, history, the name of your town, or whatever. Remember also to include ‘campanologist’ and ‘campanology’. You don’t need to use these words on the page of your website (most ringers don’t like them anyway) but it helps to have them hidden among the keywords because any non ringer who does want to find out about ringing is quite likely to search for those words and the search engines are more likely to send them to your website if your keywords include them.
 If you know of other useful sources of guidance for ringing websites, please let us know.
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