Ninebranches | Good Baha’i Websites Are Like Subway Stations
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21 Jan Good Baha’i Websites Are Like Subway Stations

subway-featured

Okay, what in the world could your Local Baha’i website possibly have in common with a lowly subway station? Plenty, if you’re lucky.

They Connect People

Firstly, they are the entry points for helping connect people from where they are now to where they want to be. Trying to walk from Lower Manhattan to Midtown can be a grueling experience, especially in the summer or winter. Driving around DC is not something I would recommend to the faint of heart (or actually anyone, for that matter). Fact is, the subway in these cities will help you get where you’re going faster, and you don’t have to be rich or an insider to access it.

Your Local Baha’i website is no different. When people are interested about the Faith, unless they have a personal connection in the Baha’i community, the first place they turn for information is the internet, and hopefully, your website. Where do visitors on your website want to go? Mostly, they want to know when and where your local community gets together. They might also be interested in knowing some cursory information about what you believe, what events your community has going on, and how to contact you.

They Show You How to Get There

When you walk in a well-designed subway station, they have big maps all over the place to show you which line you need to take to reach your destination. The navigation bar at the top of your webpage serves exactly the same function. Both should be clear, easy to read, and have all of the stops marked that people may want to get off to explore.

NineBranches___Tools_to_Grow_Your_Local_Baha_i_Community___Good_Baha’i_Websites_Are_Like_Subway_Stations-6They are Representatives for their Community

Of course, even a great subway station would never be confused with the attraction itself: the city it lives in and serves. That being said, an elegant subway system really helps a city create a better atmosphere that visitors especially appreciate. New York can get away with a decaying-looking subway because the city itself is such a great magnet that it pulls in people continually from all over the world, and the subway offers the only realistic way for most people to get around. For most other cities, though, a clean and modern polish on the stations and trains is essential to attract a large and stable ridership. All else being equal, the better subway a city has, the more comfortable visitors feel to explore the city.

Your Local Baha’i community is probably not in New York’s enviable position, either. When people show interest in the Faith in your city, go out of your way to make it easy for them to find what they need and to get connected with you. Make sure your website is both easy to navigate and easy on the eyes.

Outages or Old Info Make People Lose Trust

Rioting youth stands by a burning barricade in the center of Athens as riots went on for a third day in the Greek capital on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. Gangs of youths are smashing their way through central Athens and Thessaloniki, torching stores and buildings after the fatal police shooting of a teenager in the worst rioting Greece has seen in decades. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Rioting youth stands by a burning barricade in the center of Athens as riots went on for a third day in the Greek capital on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. Gangs of youths are smashing their way through central Athens and Thessaloniki, torching stores and buildings after the fatal police shooting of a teenager in the worst rioting Greece has seen in decades. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

If you want to see someone irate, walk around and look at people’s faces in Brooklyn if the L line goes down. People can also be less than friendly if they stand on a platform for 20 minutes and realize that subway service is being temporarily cut back for a few days and nobody told them. If there are schedule changes for a Core Activity that is posted on your website, let your visitors know, or they will (rightly) blame you and be more careful about trusting your local Baha’i community.

The Main Points

  1. Realize that most visitors travel through your website to connect with your Local Baha’i community
  2. Make sure your the navigation bar on your Local Baha’i webpage is clean and lists the big sections where visitors want to go
  3. Adopt a clean and nice-looking design for your website in general so that they have a positive initial view of your community
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