Welcome to a (soon to be retired) Website about the Ruritan Rapidan District

Rapidan District map

Rapidan District map

Welcome to the original, (and soon to be retired) Ruritan Rapidan District Website! This website is in the process of being phased out, in deference to the newly created official website, which you can find by clicking on the following link: Ruritan’s Rapidan District’s Website.

The Rapidan District serves twenty-four local Ruritan Clubs in nine counties in Virginia. Clicking on the name of the county below will take you to the page on the new website that has information for your convenience about those clubs:

Albemarle
Culpeper
Fluvanna
Goochland
Greene
Louisa
Madison
Orange
Spotsylvania

Seven months and visitors keep coming!

Cake with 7 candles

Cake with 7 candles

From the desk of the Lt. Governor and Publicity Chairperson, Linda Bradshaw:

On February 3, 2014, the Rapidan District created this unofficial webpage. Every month since then (give or take a day or two) we have been pleased to share with our readers how many visitors the web page has had. On August 22, 2014, we created a new, “official” webpage, and copied the contents from this original webpage to the new one.

Doh! (free clip art)

Doh! (free clip art)

There have been a few “snafus” where some images disappeared, or migrated to the wrong place, and we have been working to correct that situation. If you should notice anything that looks “out of place” or has a broken image/link, please let us know via the “contact” form on the “contact” page.

Of particular concern has been to verify that all of the veterans information on our “Honoring our veterans” page is present and accounted for. If you are expecting to see your information on that page, and it is missing, or no longer in the correct alphabetical order (sorted by branch of service) please let us know so we can correct it!

We have been encouraging the good folks that have been “followers” to switch over from this unofficial site to the official site. Eventually the unofficial site will stop being updated. However, until that time we will continue to monitor that site to see how many visitors have come to the site, and we will share those numbers with you.

As of today, September 3, 2014, on the seven month anniversary of this original site, there have been 4,356 hits. And there have been 245 hits on the new, official site since it’s starting date of August 22, 2014.  Adding the two together, and we have had 4.601 hits on our website(s) during the past seven months!

We are extremely pleased that so many folks have come to our webpage(s) to check us out! Thank you all! Please continue to visit our new, official page at http://www.rapidandistrictruritan.com to see the latest news. While there, please consider signing up to be a “follower” so you don’t miss any important posts, but please be sure to go back often to check out any new or revised pages, and new or revised events on our calendar of events!

The Rapidan District’s Ruritan website is moving!

moving (free clip art)

moving (free clip art)

Notice from the webmaster, Linda Bradshaw:

This is to notify you that this website will be moving to a new location in the near future. The new website will be the “official” website of the Rapidan District! The new website URL is: http://www.rapidandistrictruritan.com/. You can also type in http://www.rapidandistrictruritan.org/. Either way should work. You can eliminate the http://www. if you want to, your browser should take you there without any fuss.

We are in the process of moving the information over from this website to the new one, and we expect the process to take a few days. Hopefully the “followers” of this website will be “moved” to the “new” one.

There are a few features that are different, but everything should be relatively seamless and easy. Please bear with us, and come visit us on our new site! There IS a chance that both websites will be maintained identically for a few days until bugs are ironed out! Stay tuned for more!

Best wishes!

A word about marketing local Ruritan Clubs

From the desk of the Rapidan District’s Publicity Chairperson, Linda Bradshaw:

I’d like to discuss publicity for a few minutes with our Ruritan Clubs today.

Whether we like to think about our Ruritan Clubs as businesses or not, they are, in fact, a type of business.

Target Market (free clip art)

Target Market (free clip art)

The primary goal of any business is to stay in business! In order for our Ruritan Clubs to “stay in business,” we must increase and maintain our membership!  We must “market” our clubs to the right “target market” in order to do that!

In order for our Ruritan Clubs to grow, we need to appeal to the younger, more technologically savvy generations. Those generations are our “target market.”

One of the most effective methods to market anything in today’s technology-heavy world is by using the Internet’s Social Media platforms.

Social Media (free clip art)

Social Media (free clip art)

Ruritan National workshops held at conventions advised the attendees to use websites, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to promote awareness and membership in our local Ruritan Clubs!  There is little doubt that Social Media is THE KEY to the future of Ruritan membership!

I would like to encourage each club to have BOTH a website and a Facebook Page.

Facebook (free clip art)

Facebook (free clip art)

Consider this:  Everyone that reads Facebook uses the Internet, but not everyone that uses the Internet reads Facebook!  Only 25% of Facebook users are in the United States, and 25% of Facebook users are under the age of ten. Although Facebook is still a valuable resource, there have been several articles this year that suggest that Facebook’s popularity is waning.  Of my own personal circle of family, friends, and neighbors, the majority of them have Internet access but refuse to join, or use Facebook. Yet they all use the Internet’s Google’s Search engine to find information that they need.

Internet - man searching online (free clip art)

Internet – man searching online (free clip art)

Having a “real” website that has the proper keywords built-in will help people find the information they are seeking about your club quickly and easily without having to search multiple posts through a long timeline on Facebook. “Real” websites can have “search” features and multiple pages that Facebook simply does not have. Don’t get me wrong – Facebook is a valuable supplemental resource that can enhance the publicity and marketing of a club. A “real” website, however, is the keystone of an Internet marketing campaign.

Sharing options on WordPress websites

Sharing options on WordPress websites

One useful feature of some websites I’ve developed (using the free, easy, user-friendly WordPress platform) is that they can be set up to automatically cross-post to their associated Facebook pages.  This is done on their “Sharing settings” page under the “Publicize” option (see photo above.) They can also be set up to cross-post to other platforms as well, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, and more! That feature eliminates duplicity of work.  You can publish a post to the website, and be done with it! The information goes everywhere you can possibly want it to go!

Calendar of events (free clip art)

Calendar of events (free clip art)

The websites can also have calendar of events features, so your club can use it as a resource to publicize upcoming meetings and events.

Now, I understand that some clubs may have concerns about the costs and technical difficulties of buying, creating, and maintaining a website.  Not very long ago, websites WERE expensive, and difficult to buy, create and maintain.  Today the annual cost is very affordable.

For example, GoDaddy is selling domain names (dot coms) this month for $2.99 for the first year. Their renewal fees typically are below $20 per year.  (The prices vary, depending on sales and promotions at the time.)

Internet (free clip art)

Internet (free clip art)

By having the local clubs purchase their own domain, the local clubs can maintain total creative control over their own websites, and can create as simple, or as complex, a website as the club desires. The WordPress platform is free, and easy.  The WordPress Platform can be used to create a static page website for a club that only wants to have one or two pages that don’t change, or it can be used to create a blog-style, dynamic web page that can be updated with posts about current news and events.

The Rapidan District Cabinet will purchase a “real” domain name for the District, and purchase the web hosting service plan that will allow the Rapidan District to host unlimited websites on their server. The Rapidan District is offering to host the websites of local clubs within the Rapidan District on the District’s server for free. This offer applies to both existing sites, and new sites.  Hosting the local club’s websites on the District’s server will save local Ruritan Clubs a significant amount of money each year. (GoDaddy’s least expensive web hosting plan is $84/year, although it sometimes goes on sale for 50% off.)

By putting the local Ruritan club’s website on the District’s server, the local club can then spend the money saved on some other important Community Service Project! That is a win-win situation!

workshop (free clip art)

workshop (free clip art)

One free workshop was held in July 2014 to help local club’s volunteer webmasters understand the basics of creating a WordPress platform website.  Another free “make-up” workshop will be scheduled in the near future for those clubs whose webmasters were unable to attend the first one.

If your Rapidan District Ruritan Club is interested in participating in a future  free (yes, free!) workshop, please use the contact form below to express your interest and to advise when your volunteer webmaster would be available to attend a workshop!

The Website’s Six Month Mark

6 candles cake (free clip art)

6 candles cake (free clip art)

This website was created exactly six months ago, on February 3, 2014! Happy six month anniversary to the Ruritan Rapdian District Website!

During that time, there have been 3790 hits! That’s an average of 632 views per month!

Blog stats widget data as of 8-3-14

Blog stats widget data as of 8-3-14