Quick-start page

Written by Jane Atkinson on . Posted in Documentation

This is a guideline to getting your club website set up with basic features. It will give you a good foundation, to which you can add other features later.

Note:  There are many links below to the FreeToastHost online documentation (https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc)--this is intentional.  We try our best to keep our online documentation up to date and regard it as our authoritative source of information about FreeToastHost.  Moreover, if you post a support request in the online forums, sometimes we will refer you to the online documentation.  Once you have explored the important documentation topics referenced below, it is a good idea to review the overall documentation later as your time permits.

If you prefer a more visual approach to learning how to set up your website, then you may want to take a look at the following video-based learning series created by FreeToastHost Ambassador Marc Richards, DTM: Website Training Videos

If you need help beyond what is in the online documentation, see the guidelines for joining the forums and posting your first message.


Before you begin

Get the club's information set up correctly on the Toastmasters International website, especially contact email address. This saves problems later, and will be needed when you apply for your site. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/updating-club-contact-on-toastmasters-international-site

Note: There is NO data sharing between Toastmasters International and FreeToastHost. When verifying a new site, the system looks for the club's information in the publicly-accessible Find-A-Club page on the TI website.


Apply for your site

Use the form at https://www.toastmastersclubs.org/welcome/

No activation is needed.

Once your request for a website has been approved via email, the website is immediately "live" and accessible by typing the following into your browser address bar:

https://nnnnn.toastmastersclubs.org (where nnnnn is the club number... no leading zeros)

OR, for a district website:

https://dnnn.toastmastersdistricts.org (where nnn is the district number... no leading zeros)

See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/access-new-website#login for details about logging in as admin.


Setting up

Edit Basic Settings. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/basic-settings. Add club name, Description, Keywords, and Website alias, and set the Club Time Zone.

Description is more important than Keywords for good Google ranking.

Make sure that your website alias is short! See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/website-alias for more information.

Add admin name to Admin Console and set admin password. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/administrator-info


Set up your home page. Less text and one or more pictures is more attractive than a wall of text. Replace the stock photo with one from your club!

Choose a good, descriptive title (The commonly-used "Welcome to the xyz Toastmasters site" is best avoided – it's very bland and rather dated). See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/home-page

If you want instructions for the content editor, there's a very comprehensive user guide at https://ckeditor.com/docs/ckeditor4/latest/examples/index.html. If you want to actually experiment with the editor without fear of doing any damage, there is an online demo at https://ckeditor.com/ckeditor-4/demo/.

For details on uploading your own images, see https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/adding-and-editing-page-content#images


Add meeting info and directions to your meeting info / directions page. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/meeting-information-and-directions

Put your club's meeting venue address in the box named "Google Maps Address / Iframe". (Make sure that you include the street number.) This literally gets you on the map quickly. If you wish, you can tidy it up later with the instructions given on https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/google-map-for-directions-page.


Use the Membership management - quick add tab to add your members. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/quick-add-panel If you have a large number of members, it may be worth downloading the information from TI. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/importing-membership-list-from-toastmasters-international

Define your club officers. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/main-membership-panel. (Scroll up the page to see the screenshot of the member management screen.)


Define club contacts for contact form. Using officer roles rather than people's names will make it easier to keep it up to date in future. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/contact-forms. Don't worry about changing the contact form wording at this stage.


You're almost there…

Test to make sure that your new website is working. When you've done this, go back to the TI site and update the website field to show your new website address. That helps Google to find your site.

Important: If your club has other listings (e.g. on District website, list of community clubs), update those as well. This also helps with Google ranking.

You now have a basic, working site. You can add other features later as you wish.

When you've added other features, you may like to ask for feedback about your site.

If you do this, please also offer your evaluation of another poster's site. That way, we all help one another to improve.



Invite your members to visit your site. See https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/new-member-welcome

Tell them about https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/doc/item/browsing-and-logging-in for help with logging in.