The Internet is a great way to get information across to a large number of people with little effort. One to many. On demand. That’s why people make websites for their organizations or companies.
That is also why it pains me to see organizations like my local club / shooting range (Inland Fish and Game) with a horrendous website. The appearance of the website isn’t even my main complaint. It’s the fact that there is a complete lack of information.
Did you know there are regular matches held at the Inland Fish and Game shooting range on a monthly basis on certain weekends? No? Probably because it’s not on the website. Well, yes, they do make mention of the fact that there’s a Cowboy Action Shooting match every third Saturday of the month. But what about the Rimfire Benchrest match on the first Sunday of the month, or the Buffalo black powder shoot on the 2nd Sunday of the month? What about an event calendar? None.
Did you know that there are a set of range rules and rules of agreement you have to sign if you are a first time patron at the range? No? Probably because that information isn’t on the website. Sure they have a couple of the generic range rules on the page dedicated to the Rifle and Pistol range, but not a complete list of range rules.
Did you know that there are 26 rifle benches and a 30 yard wide area dedicated for short range (7 yards to 50 yards) pistol and smallbore? No? Probably because that information isn’t on the website.
Did you know that they used to have steel targets at 200 meters for anyone to shoot at, but took them down? No? Probably because that information isn’t on the website.
Did you know that the club has meetings every first Monday (after the first Sunday) of the month? No? Probably because that information isn’t on the website.
I can go on and on about the lack of relevant information on the website. What’s the point of having a website for your organization when you don’t post complete information or the latest news regarding said organization?
Going on, what about the poor technical design? I’m not even going to cite the crap-fest that is frames. The splash page to the domain uses a Java applet as the entry link to the actual website. Yes, a Java Applet.
The so-called Club Forum is a travesty. It’s running on some pre-packaged cgi-bin, which appears to be a Windows binary. And the program is very antiquated (circa 1998). No user accounts, no Captcha, no spam prevention. That’s why when you go to look at the latest forum posts daily, it’s just a mess of bot spam for viagra or porn sites. The site basically duplicates the forum with the Guestbook, which is just another rudimentary web form.
It’s not that hard to make an informative website, even for a shooting club/range. Take a look at these examples for some other California shooting clubs/facilities:
- Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club
- Chabot Gun Club
- Sacramento Valley Shooting Center
- South Bay Rod and Gun Club
These sites are in no way perfect, but all do a decent job giving clear and concise information about their facilities as well as the activities and events held at each respective location.
And for those wondering why I don’t offer to help the IFG with their website, I already offered a couple years ago. They were only slightly receptive and didn’t want to meet me halfway. I felt like they were more into having complete control over the site and didn’t seem to trust me. Well, my offer has long been off the table because I have no desire to pick up another website to design and administer (especially when the club is notorious for not passing down information to it’s members). I helped out the Santa Margarita Gun Club this year and got their static site converted to a WordPress based site, simply for easy of maintanance, and with the hopes of getting the club officials directly making content additions (and edits) themselves, as opposed to me or the designated web admin doing it. The work I did isn’t that great, but it got the site turned around and usable, which is the goal for any stagnating web presence.