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Online Policy Group Services: Website Tutorial

A website is a collection of pages stored under one name on the World Wide Web. You can create a website displaying information about you or your organization without the need to handle many of the technical details that are normally involved with the construction of websites. OPG can manage much of the complexity of creating a web page for you and you will have the ability to control the information and to change the web pages in your site.

You can create a website for a variety of purposes. Websites can be interactive, as in the case of online gaming websites. Or they can be used as a forum for visitors to discuss specific topics. More than likely, the website you create will provide basic information about you or your organization.

A website provides your organization with a continual presence that visitors worldwide can access. Often, your website will be the first impression you make on a prospective client, customer, or member. Thus, you can benefit from planning and designing the website well for it to be successful. Make sure to maintain your website properly so that the information on the website is is up-to-date and reflects you or your organization most positively and accurately. To create a successful website, you must first have a preliminary plan and answer a few critical questions:

  • What is the purpose of the website?
  • What information will the website contain?
  • What web address would you like the website to have?
A web address is closely related to something called a domain.

Consider this analogy: A website is like an apartment or a house. Before you can start using the street address for an apartment, you have to sign a lease or an ownership agreement. That's like registering a domain for your website. Once you have registered a domain, you can set up the website using that domain.

If you want more information about domains, click here.

If you have not registered a domain, you can register one here using OPG's domain registration form.

If you want to transfer a domain you have already registered to the Online Policy Group, click here for the domain transfer form.

Once you have registered a domain, you can request web hosting for that domain here

The web hosting form asks for some basic information about the website creator and the organization associated with the website, if any, as well as information about the website itself. This information includes:

  • Personal information - General information about the creator of the website so that in the event of a problem, we can contact you.
  • Affiliation - If you are representing any organization (e.g. National Goat Liberation Organization) or group for the purpose of this website, choose Organizational Use and fill in the organization's name. Otherwise, choose Individual Use. There is no formal definition for organization in this context, so incorporation or legal nonprofit status are not required.
  • Description of organizational or individual activities - A brief description of the activities of the organization or individual creating the website (e.g. All things goat-related).
  • Annual Budget - There are no restrictions to the use of this service based on your organization's budget, though any financial support is much needed and greatly appreciated.
  • Usage - Websites provided by OPG are restricted to nonprofit use.
  • Web domain registered - This is the address of the website.
    Note: The domain name should be a single word that is descriptive of the purpose of the group (e.g. Please make sure that the name does not contain spaces or non-alphanumeric characters other than dash (-) or underscore (_). "goatsandcans" or "goats-and-cans" is okay, while "goats and cans" or "goatsandcans!" aren't. If you wish to use your own domain, but have not yet registered one, you can request a free domain registration from OPG here.
  • Web hosting username requested - This is an online identity that you can use so you have administrative access to your website. As the website creator, you can sign in as this identity and are responsible for modifying and updating the website.
  • Web hosting password requested - This is the password used to access administrative capabilities of the website. Along with signing in as the above identity, you will be asked for this password. Please keep this password in a safe place as you need it to make any changes to the website. We ask you to type the password in twice to make sure that you specify the password you intended. To change the password, see the Changing Your Web Password section below.
  • Additional comments - Any notes regarding answers to questions in the form or any special requests which are not covered.

Note: Any information you give us is covered by our privacy policy.

After you submit the form, there will be a delay before OPG sets up web hosting. OPG will notify you once the website has been created or if there were problems with the application, such as a missing information or a duplicate domain name.

Once you have decided on a domain name and it is registered, you must decide on the content on the website. Remember, a website is like an apartment. When you first move into an unfurnished apartment, it is empty. You have to buy furniture and decorate it. Similarly, the website that OPG provides you is empty and you have to decide on how to "decorate" the website.

If you want to work on the website yourself, here are a few preliminary things to consider:

  • How many pages is your website going to have?
    If you have very few pages, the website may be easier to navigate, but each individual page can be more cluttered, slowing down the load time for that page. But if you have too many pages, the website may grow too complex to navigate.

  • How are visitors going to navigate through the website?
    Ease of navigation is critical to a website's success. Navigation should be intuitive and the visitor should be able to visit the pages throughout the website as easily as possible.

  • What kind of content will your website contain?
    That is, will your website be plain, containing mostly text? Or will your website contain many graphics and sound? If your website has many bells and whistles, a visitor with a slow Internet connection may be frustrated with a slow load time. Also, people usually visit websites to get information, so it is usually best to keep these extras to a minimum.

If all of this seems too intimidating, please visit OPG's web solutions partner Charity Focus. They can help you design your website.

Changing Your Web Password

There are three methods for changing your web password—

  • Do it yourself on the web:
    • In your web browser, go to
      Note: If you get a certificate warning, say you wish to continue.
    • Log in with your web username and current password.
    • Click "Login" in the top icon bar.
    • Click "Change password".
    • Specify the new password and confirm.

  • Do it yourself using an ssh (Secure SHell) client (putty is a good free open source ssh client if you need to install one):
    • Connect to your website.
    • Enter your web username and current password.
    • Once connected, specify a new password and confirm the password.

  • Request OPG support staff change the password for you:

For support questions not covered in the online tutorials, please fill out the Support Requests Not Covered Elsewhere form.

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