If you are part of a volunteer organization, you know that the organization needs a website. You may also know that it is difficult to find a webmaster for the group. Most folks don’t know HTML, so you need a website that anybody can edit through a browser. Here is how you can set one up quickly for very little money and without much technical knowledge.
1. Buy a domain for your group. I volunteer at the IEEE Technology Management Council, Central Texas and Austin Chapter. We bought the austin-tmc.org domain from GoDaddy.com.
2. Install Google Apps for your domain. Select the Standard Edition (free–ad supported, as of Jan 2009). Go to the Google Apps site, follow the steps described in the documentation on installing Google Apps for your domain. They have specific steps for domains bought from GoDaddy. You will have to go back to your GoDaddy control panel to add CNAME and MX entries to your domain.
3. Add users to your installation of Google Apps. While you are waiting for the apps to be setup for the domain, you can already start adding users. Create a username for each of the volunteers helping out. In my case this is usually a group of 10 to 20 people.
4. Create a Google Site for your website. Ours is called web. We also create a site for volunteer use called Wiki.
5. Using the Google Apps control panel installed for your domain (you can get to it by following a link in Mail, called “Manage this domain”), go to the Dashboard. Next click on Site Settings, and Web Address Mapping. Setup a mapping for www to be mapped to the site you created in step 4.
That’s it. Now you have a website installed for your domain. If you need a mailing list, go to Google Groups and set one up. You need a GMail account for creating a mailing list.