Questions, questions, have we got questions? I have a list of them from a variety of people who want to know more about living at a Brookdale community. One of the inquiries, which I am definitely able to answer, is “Can we create our own internet?” I am going to presume that the writer really wanted to know if it possible to have a community website. The answer is a resounding YES.
Brookdale has its own website geared toward information at a corporate level including that which is appropriate for marketing. A few Brookdale CCRC’s do indeed have their own resident created websites, as do some non-affiliated communities of which we are aware.
Individual websites can offer information on Dining, Activities, and local resources. An interactive process can allow residents to sign up for trips. Videos of entertainment events and celebrations are fun to have. Anyone in the world can see this information (Your kids can see the dinner menu). With appropriate security levels, (i.e. only your own residents can access it) a list of residents and staff can be included.
What do you need? It starts with the appropriate people. It is necessary to have someone(s) with either the knowledge of website building or the technical background to enable him/her to learn the process.
It is no longer necessary to learn HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) programing. There are easier to use, free packages available that accomplish the same thing. Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal are the ones we know of.
WordPress is the most popular and easy to use. Joomla is the most full featured. Drupal is the most challenging. To get started, any ordinary PC or Apple machine will do. An internet connection is necessary. This combination of software (downloaded at no charge from the internet) and your own machine will enable you to design a website. This does not mean that it will be on the internet yet.
The next step is to find a host. This is an outside company that provides website hosting services that will allow your site to fly.
Search the web for “web host”. There are many of them with variable prices. Just call them on the phone the old-fashioned way. The services provided will vary. You will need a domain name (the name of your website – your choice unless someone else already has that name). Then choose between an SSL or non-SSL (Secure Socket Layer) site. ‘Secure’ in this context means that all information is encrypted in either direction. ‘Secure” is more expensive than ‘non-Secure’ but is the best way to go.
Once you have your design (yes, you can change it later) it is uploaded (FTP) to the web host. It is from that location that your community website becomes available to anyone on the internet.
What are the expenses? 1) Registering a domain name can range from free to $25.00 a year. 2) The monthly host fee can be from $3 to $20+ depending on level of service (SSL vs non-SSL; How much storage you require; business vs private; number of associated e-mail addresses; etc.)
Mostly you need desire, a little courage, a lot of perseverance and some administrative cooperation.