Master Gardeners Website Draft
Most of the elements presented in this first draft are intended to demonstrate available features, not necessarily design. Your group may chose not to include some features (such as the countdown box that automatically shows the number of remaining days.)The Calendar page would be linked to your club calendar. When you click on the link provided (check out March 10th) complete details will appear. You can also set up email reminders so club members would automatically be sent a reminder. One possibility not included in your current site is the ability to link to documents and other sites that have information you deem valuable or authoritative.
Now on to design. The site background is intentionally muted and simplified, which allows the contents of the page to move to the foreground. The site needs more photos to illustrate your concepts and projects...xeriscaping, appropriate plant palettes, etc. Many elements of the design can be further customized. Colors and text fonts are easily changed. The general layout is less flexible. You would likely have to start over if you decided to change the banner on the top, the location of the navigation , etc. Additional pages are easy to add. The program details below the navigation links ( the countdown and the program announcement) can be be edited as needed. One detail that cannot be changed - and I wish it could - is the font size of the Navigation page links.
Your organization would have to provide pictures for the site, as well as all written content. If needed, I am willing to show whoever will be maintaining the site the basics of working with a Google site. It is not difficult - I liken it to scrap booking without the mess. I am willing to provide support, but your group will need to be able to do the "right now" change and updating chores. For example, what happens if Ed Hume has to change his speaking date? You will be able to change the online notice right away without waiting for an outside webmaster to find the time.
Preparing the site for launch will be an excellent opportunity to work together. The site will be fully transitioned to your group by the time it goes public. Someone who likes surfing the web and shops online should be able to learn how to do basic maintenance in about 4 hours.
You will notice that the URL - the web address assigned to this site - is rather long and 'wonky.' It is possible to set up a redirect on your existing website URL so your visitors could continue to use http://www.mastergardeners-yakima.org/ .
No matter how beautiful a site is, if the information posted there isn't kept current, the site will do more harm than good. One of the advantages of using a Google site is the ability to share the maintenance chores. One member usually keeps up the calendar, another monitors the email inbox and responds to messages, and so on. In these days of digital cameras, your subject matter and club photographers should make it easy to keep the site photos fresh.
Please review this draft and let me know if this is what your group had in mind.