Creating a site for your network
Creating a new network site is very simple, especially if you follow these brief guidelines
Where to start
First of all you need a network for you and your like-minded colleagues. This can be for anything you like, clinical, administrative or social, but not for sales or other commercial purposes.
You also need to have a personal Networks account to set up a network site. If you haven't got one click on the join link in the top right hand corner or read the article on joining for more information.
Once you've joined and logged in, you're ready to create a web site for your network. Look for a grey box on the right hand side of this page (or the homepage, or most pages which don't belong to another network) with the heading "Network administrators", and click the "start" button it contains.
Create your network site wizard
Step 1 The start button takes you to the first of seven short screens which guide you through the process of creating the site.
Give your network a name in the first field, and fill in some keywords or SHORT phrases (two or three words is best). Put one word or phrase per line i.e. add a carriage return after each word or phrases. Keywords will help your network be found by potential members via the network finder, by other network administrators for affiliation, and by search engines such as Google, is this is important to you.
Don't use the keywords field to add a description of your network. That comes later.
When you're ready, click the next button.
Step 2 You should now be on a list of networks with similar titles and keywords. Have a quick check to make sure someone else hasn't already created a very similar site. If they have, you should get in touch to see how closely related your networks are, and whether you need two network sites.
If you want to change the title or keywords you used, click the "back" button. You can go back and forth changing details with the back buttons until you reach step five, at which point your network site will have been created.
If you're happy that your network is sufficiently unique, scroll to the bottom of the list of links and click the "next" button.
Step 3 Now you're ready to fill in the main details. The fields with an asterisk are compulsory and you won't be able to create a network site unless you complete them.
- The short description is a quick summary of what your network is about, to give visitors to your network homepage an instant overview. You'll probably want to add a lot more detail about your network, but this belongs on an "About us" page, or similar pages, which you add later.
- The mission statement reinforces the short description. In some cases it may not be necessary, so this field is not compulsory.
- Select one or more options from the "type of network" drop down list. To select more than one, hold down the ctrl key and click on the options which apply to your network.
- The target member and coverage area fields should be obvious. If you don't have a particular type of member in mind, leave it blank. If you're coverage is non-specific, type in "national".
- The membership policy defines how people join your network. If you leave it "open to all", then people with networks accounts can join your network site. This means they can sign up for your newsletter (if you have one), share any network-only documents and participate in any member-only forums. If you select "apply to join", then when someone applies, they will be added to a list of "pending" members and you will be sent an email informing you of this fact. You can then view the list of pending members and accept or deny their application via the network tool box.
When you're happy, click the "next" button at the bottom of the page.
Step 4 Add some contact details. They'll probably be yours unless you have a large organisation and someone else is the main point of contact. The name and email fields are compulsory. Any emails you send out from the network (newsletters or event alerts etc.) will come from this email address.
When you're happy, click the "next" button. When you do this your network site will be created. It will not be visible to anyone but you (and top-level Networks administrators in case you need our help), and you will always be able to edit the details you have added, so if you get something wrong, don't worry, you can correct it later.
Step 5 At this stage you can add a logo or other image which will appear on the top right of your network homepage. It will be automatically resized to fit into the space available, so don't worry if you only have a large version. Please don't upload images with huge file sizes however. If the image is over 2MB, please make a lower resolution version for uploading. Ideally your image should be no more than 200KB. The site accepts jpegs, gifs and pngs.
If you have the image handy, do it now, but if you don't you can always add it later. Click the "skip" button to move directly to the next step, or browse your computer's hard drive for the image and click "save" to upload the image ready for display.
Step 6 Networks have one of six colour schemes. These affect the navigation bar, headings and some of the boxes of content that appear on your network site. If you click "skip" your network will be created with the default blue theme. You can always change this later via the network administrator's tool box.
Step 7 Your network is now set up with the information you provided in the steps above. Most of the text you added will appear on the homepage, with the contact details also being added to a "contact us" page. Other items added by default are a "News" section where you can add news stories about your network and event listings, and an empty "About us" page, where you can add more detail about your network.
If you click on the "Publish now" button, your network site will become fully visible to everyone and will be listed in the network finder. If you click "Preview network" your network will remain visible to you alone. You can publish it later via the tool box if you prefer.
That's it. Your network site is created and ready to go. Now you can start encouraging people to sign up, set up forums, blog, galleries, document sharing areas and more. For more information on what you can do with your new web site, have a look through the FAQs.