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How to Join TownLife

Types of memberships available and specific details about each type.

1. Getting Started with TownLife

1.1. TownLife Stages of Development

Congratulations, so you would like to join TownLife - these are general steps we need to accomplish to get you onboard! (bold text refers to customer responsibilities).

  1. Project Initiation

    • Determine project understanding, objectives and budget, create contract.
    • Sign a Contract, every customer must agree with our terms of service and other terms of use.  This is provided by your associate in our sales department (sales@townlife.com)
    • Once we have received your signed contract via fax or mail (and every page is initialed) we can then generate an invoice for your projection initiation.
    • Website development begins on our side once we receive your invoice payment.
  2. Planning

    • Submit all access information necessary to transfer website, unless site is new.
    • Site audit of old website.
    • Site architecture initiated.
  3. Design

    • Creative Concepts/Mockups created (only for larger projects).
    • Approval of Concept provived by our customer.
      • As a side note feedback is wonderful, but it's well-known that "design by committee" is a sure-fire way to get mediocre design.
  4. Production

    • Site constructed.
    • Content added to new website.
  5. Testing

    • Website tested for browser compatibility.
    • Review of beta website using hidden URL.
    • Final modifications made to draft website.
  6. Launch

    • Project given the go by our customer.
    • Training provided.
    • Email accounts go live.

1.2. Getting Started - How to Login

Log in to Administer your Website

To login to your website you can go to

  1. www.townlife.com
  2. www.yourwebsite.com

At the bottom of the page you will find a lock, simply click on this to find the login page!

 

Forgotten Passwords?

Once you have found the login page just login using the email address and password you have set up with.

If you forget your password, use the "FORGOT PASSWORD" link to reset your password.

 

Managing Access

Multiple users can be set up to access your website, but each email address must be unique for each website.  If you wish to add or remove a user from administrating your website this can be found by going to

SETTINGS - SECURITY

 

 

1.3. Searching for Domain Name

Domain Search Tips

Domain Names are an easy way for visitors to find your website.  It does not need to be your company name, but it should relate to your organization. For example "ABC Trucking Inc." could purchase www.crudeoiltrucking.com which would really help them for visitors searching for "crude oil trucking".

Please note the following service is for users wanting to purchase and manage their own domains; all TownLife customers have full domain management INCLUDED in their package price so best just use this just to find what names are available.

Domain Name Search Tool
Terms to Search for:

 

2. Microsites

2.1. What is a Microsite?

Why would I need a microsite?

A TownLife microsite is a mini website. Quick, easy and simple it is an effective way to leverage the TownLife community network as an introduction to the technology available to websites.

Your information can still be included in the business directory but instead of information showing within the host website, you get your very own page!

 

 

Features

MICROSITE

Full Business Website

Target Group

Small Business

Growing Business

Includes New Domain Name

Included 

 Included
or transfer current domain name

Website Builder (easy changes)

Included Included

Send Email Newsletters

-

Included

Visitor Subscribe to your Website Updates

-

Included

Create Blogs

-

Included

Photo Galleries

1 Slideshow

Included

Event Calendar

-

Included

Webpages

5 Short Pages

Unlimited

Advertise on Community Groups

-

Included

Monthly Analytic Report

-

Included

Website Design Options

Choose from Themes

Unlimited

Email Accounts

No Email Included

3 x 1GB mailboxes

Setup Costs

$0

Unlimited

Annual Costs

Low

Average

 

3. Advertising

3.1. How does it work?

Only business members have the privilege to advertise.

These advertisements appear on community group and sporting association sites, clearly indicating that they are ads.

Your advertisement will be regionally targetted and all ads are given equal accessibility for their area.

 

Sample:

3.2. On Community Groups

Community groups are given a price discount and the opportunity to receive the same service we offer municipalities (including dedicated uptime, business-class email, and exceptional Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and ongoing development) on the condition that a small advertisement displays on your website. The restriction is that the ad must be for a business that is in your same area. This way the businesses' annual fees are supporting your reduced operational costs and in return the community groups help increase exposure for these key businesses. It becomes a win-win arrangement.

Community Group Concerns

As a community group you are in the same category as the many libraries on our system, and we would be sure never to devalue your website by promoting potentially offensive businesses on your site. 

Most importantly we value happy customers, and the primary purpose has always been for Local Community-minded businesses to be better connected to the community groups in their area.  The idea has always been to strengthen the connection of community, not erode it.

At this time our policy simply disallows such businesses from even having a website on TownLife, even if this policy were to change there is a way to upgrade your website so that no advertising appears – but this would mean a higher monthly fee.  We recommend starting where other groups already are, and just letting us know if you have any concerns.

For your reference, see more details in our terms of use:
http://www.townlife.com/termsofuse.html

3.3. Size Restrictions

Business advertisements must be family safe and are limited to 180 pixels wide x 180 pixels high.  This restriction allows a universal placement without disrupting other member sites.

This image can only be a JPEG (*.jpg) as Flash and Animated Gif's are too much of a distraction on a site. 

4. Target Groups

4.1. Types of Members and Memberships

There are multiple types of members; Community, Business, Associations and Municipalities.

 

Community Members

  • Created for Non-Profit, Volunteer Organizations
  • Lowest price point, show a small business card sized advertisement of local businesses on their website
  • Examples include your local community groups, amateur sporting associations etc...

Business Members

  • Created for any Profit orientated member that wishes to leverage advertisements
  • Examples include small businesses, retail etc...

Municipality/Association Members

  • Created for Municipalities or Regional Associations
  • Focus is to invite moderated public input in additional to the powerful features of TownLife
  • Examples include Towns, Hamlets, Cities, Clubs with Members (where each member would want their own site, yet still remain connected to the host for events etc)


NOTE: Any member can Become a Hub, and then your members directly connect to you, allowing their content to help populate your website!

4.2. Free Community Websites

FREE COMMUNITY GROUP WEBSITES

FREE Community Websites

Terms

  1. This offering is meant to help the smaller community groups with little or no funding available and will result in a simple yet fully functional website for your organization.
  2. The FREE website is only available to community groups and non-profit organizations located in the participating municipal locations.
  3. You must follow and agree to the terms of use, required by all our members.

Conditions

  1. Your website must be updated regularly and information kept current.
  2. Additional advertising may be displayed on your website.
  3. This is a limited offer and may change without notice.

Supporting Community Power !

All community groups and non-profit organizations that are located in our municipalities are eligible for a FREE community website!

Currently these are the participating member municipalities.

 

JOIN TOWNLIFE for FREE today!

5. Comparisons

5.1. Website Hosting vs TownLife

Web Site Hosting

When you pay for website hosting that is all you receive. Hosting is an expensive decision to park your website and watch it dereriorate. Hosting only provides electricity and a storage location for your website.  When you realize that the internet is constantly changing it becomes obvious that your internet services needs to be actively changing simply to keep up. Some ongoing Internet changes that affect your website include updates to HTML, CSS (cascading design styles), website browsers, mobile devices, security concerns etc.. When a decision is made to only host a website it becomes clear that there is no funding and no plan to improve the website foundation over time.

At TownLife we know you need much more than just hosting, you need to be investing in a software development company that is EVOLVING (just like the Internet) and IMPROVING (just like your Municipality).

 

Advantages of the TownLife Solution

Our customized Content Management System (CMS) is called TownLife and our solution provides all the aspects you need to be SUCCESSFUL online!

  • Municipally-focused ongoing custom development that continually improves your website!
  • FREE updates to your website 24/7 without the need for additional software, as long as you know your login information you can make changes from any computer online
  • Once you have a site, you will want people to find you!  Search Engine Optimization is already built into every site we manage which ensures you will appear in the top of major Google Search results
  • Measurements are then needed to know how you are performing, your site will receive monthly analytic reports!
  • Most importantly it is easy to make changes.  A website that is launched and never updated will simply become outdated and irrelevant quickly.  With the TownLife system we help get your message online and heard with easy updates.
  • Being heard is difficult in the ocean of internet websites, on TownLife we use community hub marketing (which is only available to TownLife members) that ensures even the smallest websites get world wide exposure - see our testimonials to hear how exceptional this is working!
  • Connected also means being able to be contacted, which is why every website on TownLife receives email accounts on one of the most trusted email providers in North America - imagine a system even Fortune 500 companies trust!

The list continues to include stability, trusted, and reliable results for an evolving software solution you can trust, TownLife.

There will always be free email accounts or cheap website hosting - be forewarned you get what you pay for.

 

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."

Warren Buffett 1930, American Investment Entrepreneur

 

What about Wordpress or a Standard Hosted Website?

  • Specifically, Wordpress is an inexpensive blogging tool, which translates to a low cost buying decision that does not include any ongoing  development customizations. If a community does not value their website, neither will its citizens. Unfortunately decisions to choose Wordpress are usually made based on its cheap hosting price, and if no resources (time+fund$) are invested in your website this project is doomed before it even starts.

Can you afford what Wordpress/hosted website will cost you:

  • The internet is constantly changing.. and your website needs to evolve with it. @TownLife we are constantly making updates, improvements and ensuring browser compatibility for the best experience possible.
  • Wordpress is meant for general blogging, @TownLife we built the most efficent municipal administration from the ground up. Typical example of what this means.. while any website may appear to have a list of businesses, most hosted websites will either have a PDF document or a hand-typed page of their businesses. Need to make a change or addition? Someone in your office needs to dedicate the time to make the file changes and then ensure all parts of the website are properly updated.. anywhere from minutes to hours depending on how complicated the document publishing process is.
    • @TownLife our business directory additions/changes can be made by the public or a website visitor and either APPROVED/DECLINED via an automatic email to administration. 100% moderated content, 100% accurate, all within seconds.
  • Updates are more complicated with the overwhelming technical options that distract your staff whentrying to make simple website changes = More Stress.
    • @TownLife we continually receive compliments from our users on the simplicity and easy of use to make changes quickly and efficiently.
  • Wordpress is very popular which makes themes (a 1-time design change) inexpensive but also means hackers are continually attracted to attacking these types of websites. Do you have the technical staff to apply the necessary updates, patches, and regular technical upgrades necessary to ensure your website is not hacked?
    • @TownLife we are continually monitoring & improving; your Domain/Email/Website services are 100% managed by our experts.
  • When your website goes down do you have a support contract with a database developer, designer and/or programmer to get your information recovered and restore uptime? Hosting contracts only provide power.
    • @TownLife we ensure your website is available with over 99% uptime.
  • A poor unmaintained website is a lone iceberg, slowly eroding over time. What steps are you going to take to ensure the public can engage your organization and contribute to the ongoing growth of your online content?
    • @TownLife we deliver a unique solution as the only municipal CMS to deliver a  website AND a platform that attracts and strengthens your community groups' online presence. With our HUB model we give free websites to community groups within your municipality thereby allowing local event promotion in your event calendar at no cost to your staff!
  • And this list goes on...
    • We are happy to see new municipalities start with a Facebook, Wordpress or free hosted website, getting online is the first step.  It just becomes a question of where on the ladder do you want your organization to be delivering its services? @TownLife we believe by commiting the resources necessary to the important task of online presence, ongoing custom development, and a solid municipal-grade platform you will be in the best situation to realize the true benefits of e-governance.

For More information please see:

 

6. Secure Member Area

6.1. Private Websites

Looking for Private/Password Protected Website Content (Intranet)?

By upgrading your email accounts from our webmail to Microsoft Exchange this is the first step to full Fortune 500 services, including Microsoft Sharepoint!

What is a Microsoft SharePoint site?

A SharePoint site is an internal web site (intranet) that provides a central storage and collaboration space for documents, information, and ideas. A SharePoint site is a tool for collaboration, just like a telephone is a tool for communication, or a meeting is a tool for decision making. A SharePoint site helps groups of people (whether work teams or social groups) share information and work together. For example, a SharePoint site can help you:

* Coordinate committees, calendars, and schedules.
* Discuss ideas and review documents or proposals.
* Share information and keep in touch with other members.

SharePoint sites are dynamic and interactive -- members of the site can contribute their own ideas and content as well as comment on or contribute to other people's.

For more information please review the quick reference document attached or the following:

Top 10 Benefits

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/sharepoint/bb684456.aspx

DEMO Video?

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-sharepoint-services-help/demo-tour-a-windows-sharepoint-services-3-0-site-HA010205563.aspx

 

Costs?

  • Upgrade at least one account to Microsoft Exchange
  • 250MB included for free, then extra charges for every 1GB thereafter

Copyright © - TownLife by Econolution Inc.