Tell The World About Your Troop!

Several pages of your troop's web site will be available to the general public without logging on:

Your Home page should introduce your troop to the viewer, who could be a member of your troop, a potential new member, or just an interested person in your community.

Members of your troop may appreciate some guidance on how to use the site.   Persons interested in joining your troop will want to know when and where you meet and who to contact for more information.

Consider this audience when you plan your home page.

The About Our Troop page should go into more details about your troop: your philosophy, history, and types of activities.

You can Add Custom Pages to your site that you can edit like the Home and About Our Troop pages.

The Adult Leaders page will be automatically constructed using the information you enter into your database about your adult leaders.

Similarly, the Download Forms page will list those forms and documents that you have authorized to be available to the general public.

The Photo Gallery will display a list of past events for which you've uploaded photos.

The Video Gallery will display a list of past events for which you've uploaded videos.

These last two pages can be removed from public view using the Set Photo Gallery Access function on the Administration menu.


Home Page Layout

The first time you visit your site the home page will look like this:

The Photo Gallery Preview column on the left is empty now, but it will be automatically populated with the first photo from the six most recent events for which you've loaded photos into your Photo Gallery.

The Announcements & Upcoming Events column on the right is also empty, but it will be automatically populated with current Announcements and a summary of the next twelve events on your calendar.

You will replace the center portion of the page with your text and photos by Editing Your Home Page.

Soon it will look more like this:


Editing Your Home Page

You must log on to the site before you can start editing your home page.  Only those users assigned to the User Role of Web Page Editor are allowed to edit the home page.

After logging on to the site, stay on the home page and click the icon in the upper right corner of the page to reveal the Tools menu, as shown at right.

If you are on the home page - or any other page that you can edit - you'll see "Edit This Page" at the top of the Tools menu.  Select that option to begin editing the current page.

Once you are done editing the page, go back to the Tools menu.  The top item will now be "Exit Page Edit".


Page Sections

When you enter edit mode, you'll see the page divided into sections, as shown above.

There are two types of sections:

The first type of section will have four buttons at the top:

Widgets only have two buttons: "Settings" and "Delete".

The buttons that you see scattered about the page will create a new section in that location.


When you click the icon, the system will display this pop-up window with the settings for your new section.

Choose between "My Content" which will allow you to enter text and images, or "Widget" which will fill the section with information from your database.

If you select "Widget" you'll then choose the type of information you want to display in this section.  Your choices currently include:

For any of these widgets you can specify the maximum number of entries that will be displayed.  This can be used to limit the height of this section

The Maximum Width will default to an appropriate value for the type of section you've selected.  For "My Content" sections, this can be used to adjust the height of the section.

Public Access determines whether the public can view this section without logging on.

The default Background Color is "transparent", but you can change this to any color you want.  The drop down list gives you some standard choices, but if you select "Other" you'll have the opportunity to enter any RGB color you'd like.  On most brosers other than Internet Explorer you should see a color picker.

Border will draw a border around this section and Shadow will create a shadow effect behind this section.


WYSIWYG Editor

Clicking the "Edit" button will open up the editor for that section, as shown above.

This is the same editor you use when you compose an e-mail message.  It gives you control over font size, color, and other formatting.

You can drop images into this section and resize them by pulling on the lower right corner of the image.

Best of all, if you accidentally delete your work, the Restore button at the bottom of the editor window will let you pick an earlier version of this content.


Source

The "Source" button will display the raw HTML source code for this section, as shown above.

You can edit the HTML, or copy and paste HTML that you've compsed in another editor.

There is no limit on the number of characters you can enter or copy into this window.

Note: If you add complex HTML to a section using the "Source" function, do not subsequently use the "Edit" function to modify it.  The WYSIWYG editor may modify your HTML and remove some of your code.



Add Photos To Your Home Page

Most of the photos you add to your site will be linked to events.  You will upload these photos to the photo gallery.

But you'll want to pick the very best photos to display on your Home page and other custom pages.

It's easy to add photos to your Home page and other custom pages - just drag and drop them into the edit window!

On most browsers, the Copy and Paste functions will work just as well, but we'll show you how to drag and drop here.

Begin by editing the page and either add a My Content section or edit an existing one.

Then, in another window, find the photo you want to copy to your page.

Position your cursor over this photo, hold down the left mouse button, and drag it to your edit window.

Once you arrive in the edit window, position the photo where you want it inserted and let go of the left mouse button to release it.

Wait a few seconds while the photo uploads to the TroopWebHost server.  It will then appear full size in your edit window.

You can make it smaller by dragging the lower-right corner of the photo up or to the left.

Make it larger by dragging the lower-right corner down or right.

Once you're done editing the page, sit back and enjoy the view!



Design Ideas

TroopWebHost gives you a lot of freedom to layout your Home page and other custom pages however you'd like.

Which means you could end up with a real masterpiece...or a real mess!

Here are some of our thoughts on how to design attractive pages with TroopWebHost.


It's Responsive!

"Responsive" is a term used by web developers to describe pages that rearrange themselves based on the size of the screen on which they're displayed.

So on a big computer monitor, you might see a lot of information displayed side by side, but on a smart phone that information may be stacked vertically.

This approach makes the page easy to read on a smart phone, while taking full advantage of the screen real estate on a full-sized computer.

This is how side-by-side sections could be displayed on a wide screen:

In a narrower window, the sections will begin to stack vertically, as shown below at left.









On a smartphone, all of the sections may stack vertically, as shown at right.

Note that the wider sections are resized to fit within the narrower width of the small screen, which can make the section taller.


Edit Wide

Due to this responsive behavior, it is best to layout your page on the widest screen you have available.  This will allow you to see how your layout will appear for users with large monitors.  It will also make it easy to add sections side-by-side.


Think Sideways

Consider creating all of your sections on the same row, side-by-side.  This will allow your page to adjust to any width screen.

If you take this approach, avoid adding sections above or below your current row.  Use the buttons directly to the left or right of existing sections to add new sections.


Then Narrow Your Perspective

Once you've laid out your page, test it on a narrow screen, like a smartphone.  Or if you are working on a PC, make your browser window skinnier to see how it will look.


Width Affects Height

The Settings for each section let you control the maximum width of that section. 

If you have sections side by side and one is much longer than the others, consider making it wider so that they line up better.

Or if you have one section that is much shorter than its neighbors, try making it narrower by reducing the maximum width.


Color Adds Interest

Each section can be assigned its own background color.  It can also have a border and shadow.

Play around with these options to come up with a pleasing design.

If you choose a dark background color, use light colored fonts to make your text stand out.


Going It Alone

Advanced web developers may wish to create pages with only one section so they can design the entire page using their own web design tools.

You can then paste your code into the page using the "Source" button for that section.  You'll probably want to select the largest possible maximum width for this section, and then control the width of your elements using the appropriate CSS tags.

Keep in mind that the Bootstrap libraries are automatically included with each page, so you can reference any of the Bootstrap classes.

You can also create additional classes in your own custom CSS and reference those classes from your pages.

If you wish to create your own responsive sections, use the following code to begin a new row that contains multiple sections:
<div class="new-row">
<div class="container-fluid container-flex">

Each section should then be defined by a <div>, which can be styled as appropriate.

Obviously, you'll need two </div> tags at the end of each row to close out the tags shown above.



Creating Hyperlinks

Many troops want to include hyperlinks to other scouting sites on their Home page, like to their council's home page or other scouting resources.

Some troops also want to include e-mail links to their leaders from their Home page or their About Our Troop page.

TroopWebHost has several ways to accomplish this, which we will describe on this page.


Adding Links To Your Home Page Or Other Custom Pages

If you use the Edit button to edit a section of your home page, the editor window has a toolbar at the top that contains a Link control, as circled below.

Click on this button to begin adding a hyperlink to your page.

This will open up a dialogue box that looks like this:

Enter the text you want to appear within the link in the Display Text box.

Your choices for Link Type are:

If you choose URL as your link type, the dialogue box will remain as pictured above.

The Protocol should be set to "https://" if the site you are linking to is encrypted; this should always be your choice when linking to another page on your TroopWebHost site.  If you are not sure, select "http://" as your protocol.

The URL is the address of the page you wish to link to, without the "http://" prefix.

If you wish to link to another page on your TroopWebHost site, it may not be obvious how to determine the URL.  That is because the site is displayed within a frameset, which hides the specific URL of the page you are on from the browser's URL window.

To determine the URL of a page on your site, open your site with Internet Explorer and navigate to that page.  Right-click on an empty portion of the page - not over an image - to pop up a menu.  Choose Properties from that menu to view the full URL for the page.


Click the Target tab to finish adding your link.

If you are linking to a different website, change the selection for Target to "New Window (_blank)" as shown above.  This will prevent errors from occurring if the link does not use the "https://" protocol.

Click OK to finish adding the link.


Adding An E-Mail Link To Your Home Page Or Other Custom Pages

One of your choices for URL Type, as shown above, is "E-mail".

Choosing this option will reformat the dialogue box to look like this:

Enter the desired e-mail address in the E-Mail Address box.

This will create a link that will open the user's e-mail client to begin sending an e-mail to this address.

The other two fields are optional.  The Message Subject box will pre-fill the subject line of the e-mail message.  The Message Body will pre-fill the message body of the new message.  The user can change either of these when they edit the message.


Adding Links To Announcements

The technique described above can also be used to add links to your announcements, which will appear in any announcement widgets on your home page or other custom pages.

Be sure to use the Link control to create your link, as illustrated above.

Do NOT simply copy and paste the URL into the text of your announcement.  This can cause formatting problems, especially if it is a lengthy URL.


Resource Links

The Resource Links page is a convenient place to maintain links to other scouting resources.  Please click here to learn how to maintain the links on this page.


Coding Links With HTML

If you are using the Source button to edit a section of your home page, or if you want to incorporate links into a text field that does not use the WYSIWYG editor, you may need to code your links using HTML.

HTML is a special kind of text that uses the < and > characters to mark off special commands (often referred to as "tags") for formatting a web page.

Here is what a hyperlink looks like in HTML:

      <a href="https://www.TroopWebHost.com" target="_blank">>Click here for Troop Web Host</a>

The text in between the > and < signs is what is displayed on the page (often in blue underlined letters).  The URL that is within the quotation marks is the target address for the hyperlink;  that is where the visitor will go when they click on the link.

So the link shown above would look like this if you included it in your web page:

      Click here for Troop Web Host

HTML tags usually come in pairs, so the <a> tag must be followed by a </a> tag.

Creating An E-mail Link

If you want to create an e-mail link that will initiate an e-mail to a specific address, replace the URL with a string that begins with  mailto:  followed by the e-mail address.

For example, <a href="mailto:Info@TroopWebHost.com">Contact Us</a> will send an e-mail to Info@TroopWebHost.com.

This is how that link would look on your page:      Contact Us

HTML Coding Rules

Here are some rules to follow when coding HTML:

If you get in trouble, contact CustomerSupport@TroopWebHost.com and we'll help you out.



Creating A Banner Image For Your Home Page

So how did the heading of the Troop 119 home page go from this:

..to this?

It was really quite easy.

One of the adult leaders had some experience with image editing software, in this case Corel Photopaint.  He selected a photo of the troop from a recent campout that would look good when cropped to a very wide, short image.  He overlaid the name of the troop on the image and saved it to his local disk.  He then uploaded it to TroopWebHost and installed it on his site.

If you would like to do the same, simply create a JPG, PNG, or GIF file.  We recommend that you make it at least 1,920 pixels wide so that it fills the width of a standard 1080p monitor.  The image should be no more than 500 pixels tall, so that it doesn't crowd out the other information on your home page.

You may want to include the name of your troop in your image.

Then go to the Site Appearance form, in the Site Configuration menu, and click the Browse... button to find the image file on your computer. You can then click the Save button to install the image.

Many other troops have shown their creativity by creating custom banners.  Here are some excellent examples:

Troop 8 of Columbia, South Carolina

Troop 55 of Harbor Springs, Michigan

Troop 62 of Cumming, Georgia

Troop 66 of Garden City, Rhode Island

Troop 286 of Gilbert, Arizona

Troop 330 of Green, Ohio

Troop 450 of Ellendale, Tennessee

Troop 514 of Southlake, Texas

Troop 987 of Ashland City, Tennessee

Troop 1944 of Houston, Texas



Contact Us

The Contact Us widget allows non-members visiting your site to post a message to your troop leaders.  The type of message can determine which leaders are contacted.

You can add the Contact Us widget to the Home page or any custom page by going into edit mode on that page and clicking one of the plus signs (+) to add a new section.  Obviously, this should only be added to a page that is visible to the public.

As shown below, select a Section Type of "Widget", then select "Contact Us Form" as the Widget Type.  Do not select a Maximum Width less than 480, as the entry fields will not fit in any narrower width.

Do consider choosing a Background Color and enabling both the Border and Shadow properties.

Click the OK button to save this widget.  It will then be inserted into your page, as illustrated here:

The reCaptcha control will not display until the user enters information into the first three fields.

When the user fills out the form and clicks on the reCaptcha box, the information will be saved to the contacts table and an email will be sent to selected leaders.  "Which leaders?" you might be asking.  That's what we're going to talk about next.


You may have noticed that Your Reason For Contacting Us lists the possible reasons this person is contacting your troop.  You can configure this list by going to Site Configuration → Contact Us Reasons.

This is where you maintain the list of reasons that will be available on the Contact Us form.  Click Add a New Item to add a new reason, or click Update on any row to update that row.

The Reason is the text that will be displayed on the form.  It should be considered from the perspective of the visitor who is filling out the form.  Here are some examples:

The Display Sequence is a number that determines the order in which this entry will appear on the list, relative to the other entries.

E-Mail To Dynamic Subgroup determines who will receive the message when this reason is selected.  If you are not familiar with Dynamic Subgroups, please read this page of this User Guide to learn how to create them.

You must select a Dynamic Subgroup for each contact reason.  When a user selects this contact reason and submits the form, an e-mail will be sent to each member of the corresponding Dynamic Subgroup.

If the drop down list is empty, this means you have not yet created any Dynamic SubgroupsYou must create at least one Dynamic Subgroup before you will be able to create or modify any contact reasons.



View Contacts

Once you've implemented the Contact Us widget on one of your public pages, visitors may start using it to send messages to your troop.  Each message will be sent to the designated Dynamic Subgroup for the reason they selected, but it will also be stored in your database.

You can view all of the messages received from your Contact Us page by going to Home → View Contacts, as shown below.

Click View to view a contact, or Delete to remove it from the saved contacts.



Announcements

The right side of your home page will display current Announcements that you have entered into the system.

Announcements will also be included in the Automated Newsletter that can be e-mailed to your troop on a regular basis.

Announcements always have a starting date and an ending date.  An announcement will only be displayed on your home page or included in the newsletter during that period.


To create an announcement go to Home → Maintain Announcements.

Then click on the Add An Item button.

This is the screen that you will use to create an announcement.

The Title will be displayed as a heading in bold-face characters and the Text in regular characters.

The Start Date is when you want the system to begin displaying this announcement; the End Date is when you want it to stop.

You can control where the announcement appears by checking or unchecking these options:





This is how this announcement would be displayed on the Home page. It would only be displayed between April 1 and June 30.



Maintain Surveys

From time to time, you may want to poll your members on a topic of importance to the troop, like where to go to summer camp next year, or whether to set aside troop funds for the next Philmonth trek.  Surveys offer an excellent way to ask questions like this and let everyone cast their vote.

To create a survey, go to Home → Maintain Surveys.

Click Add a New Item to add a survey.

Enter the question to be posed in the first field.

The Type of Answer can be:


Surveys may be limited to the members of a dynamic subgroup by selecting that group from the list.

You must enter at least two possible answers for each survey question.

Click Save & Exit to save this survey.


Click the Update button to update an existing survey.

You can see how many votes each question has received in the first grid.

The second grid shows you the individual votes, along with any comments they've entered.

You can update individual answers to add a URL for that answer.  This URL could be a link to relevant information for that answer, such as a summer camp's website.


Display Survey Questions On Your Home Page

You can display the currently open survey questions on your Home Page or any custom page by adding the "Surveys" widget to that page.

Go to the page where you want to add the survey widget and select Edit This Page from the Tools menu, as shown here.

Click on a   button to add a section in the desired location.

Select a Section Type of "Widget", then choose "Surveys" from the list of available widgets.

We recommend that you set Public Access to No, since only members can vote on survey questions.

Set the Background Color, Border, and Shadow as desired to highlight this section.

Click OK to save your new widget.


The Surveys widget will only display when there are open survey questions.



Resource Links

You can put links to useful webpages on the Resource Links page. It can be found at Resources → Resource Links.

This page will display a set of links you have entered with titles on the left. It is sorted alphabetically. The page will be blank if no links have yet been entered.

An example of a Resource Links page with several links is below.

You can add or remove links on the Resource Links page by using the Maintain Resource Links page. Users with the appropriate level of access can reach this page through Home → Maintain Resource Links.

On this page, you can see a list of the URLs and titles that have already been entered. You can edit these using the Update buttons, or use the Add a New Item buttons to create new links.

The URLs you enter must include the http:// or https:// extensions. You can link to any resource, including files such as PDFs or images.

Keep in mind that you cannot link to any files on your own computer. To upload a file, consider using the Maintain Forms or Upload Photos pages.

About Our Troop

The About Our Troop page is another public page that you can edit in the same way that you Edit Your Home Page.

Just go to Home → About Our Troop and click the icon in the upper right corner of the page to reveal the Tools menu, as shown at right.

Select Edit This Page to begin making changes.

Things to consider including on this page:

Here is an example of an About Our Troop page:



Our Adult Leaders

The Adult Leaders page is a public page that is automatically generated by your TroopWebHost software using the information you have entered about your adult leaders.

For each adult leader in your troop it will display:

The leadership position(s) are derived from the information you enter on the Adult Leadership page.

The rest of the information comes from each person's membership record, which you can modify on the Active Adults page.

Your adult leaders can enter this themselves using the My Contact Information page on the My Stuff menu..

Encourage your adult leaders to go to My Stuff-->My Contact Information and...


The Adult Leaders page will display all of your adult members who currently hold a leadership position.

If you wish to exclude a person from this page, update his or her record from the Active Adults page and click on Don't include on public Adult Leaders page, as shown below.

You may also exclude members from this page based on their position, by checking the Do not display this position on the public Our Adult Leaders page box on the Leadership Positions page.



Forms & Documents

The Forms & Documents page on the Resources menu allows visitors to download forms and documents used by your unit, such as the new scout registration form or camping permission slips.

This can include links to forms that are on other websites, such as your area council.

After you log on it will display other documents that you have limited to troop members or adult leaders.

Click on the title of the form to open that document on your computer.

You can add forms to your site by going to Resources → Maintain Forms & Documents.



Photo Gallery


The Photo Gallery displays the first photo from every event for which you've uploaded photos.



Click on a photo to view all the photos from that event.

This will bring up the screen shown below.



This page will display all of the photos from the selected event.

After a few seconds, you'll see the next photo displayed, and then the one after that.

To pause the display, hover your cursor over the current photo, or click the Pause button.

To go directly to a different photo, click on the thumbnail photo at the bottom of the page.



Video Gallery


The Video Gallery displays the first video from every event for which you've loaded videos on YouTube™.

Click on a video to play that video immediately.

Use the buttons at the bottom of the video window to pause and restart, control volume, and switch to full screen mode.

Click on the name of the event to the left of each of the videos on this page to see all of the videos for this event.

Click on the View All Videos button to see a list of all of the videos for this troop from all events.


Custom Pages

Your site administrator can add custom pages to your Home menu.  You will then be able to add text and images to these pages.

Custom pages can be on any topic, like:

You will be able to edit each custom page in the same way that you edit your Home page.

Select Manage Custom Pages from your Home menu to see a page like the one shown below.

Use the Add a New Item button to begin adding a new custom page.  Once the page has been added you'll be able to select it from your menu and then edit it the way you edit your Home page.

You can update the settings of existing custom pages and delete pages you no longer need.

Click the Update button to view a screen like the one shown below.


You can change the position of a page on the Home menu by changing its Menu Sequence number.

You can also rearrange the sections on a page by changing the Sequence numbers on those sections.

Click the Update button on any section to update its Sequence number and other characteristics.

You cannot edit the content of your custom pages from Manage Custom Pages.  To edit the content of your custom pages, navigate to that page by selecting it from the Home menu, then edit it in the same way you would edit your Home page.



Public Pages - Frequently Asked Questions

Our troop isn't comfortable having the photo gallery available to the public.  Can we make it private?

Yes.  While many troops like the idea of promoting their troop by showing photos and videos of recent activities, we understand that some troops have privacy concerns.

You can remove these pages from public access by following the instructions in the Set Photo Gallery Access page of this User Guide.


I created a hyperlink on my Home page and now the bottom half of the page disappeared.  What happened?

It is quite possible that you left out a < or > character on one of your tags, or you inserted one two many.  Or perhaps you left out a quotation mark at the end of a URL.

Please read through all of the HTML Coding Rules at the bottom of our page on Creating Hyperlinks.

Then please contact us at CustomerSupport@TroopWebHost.com for assistance in resolving the problem.

In the future, you may want to test out your hyperlink in an HTML editor, like Dreamweaver or FrontPage, before adding it to your website.


Why is Our Adult Leaders page empty?

The first step is to make sure all of your adult leaders are entered into the Active Adults section of the troop database.  This can be done by Uploading Troop Data From Troopmaster™ or by entering the adults directly into the system.

Assuming you've already done that, the problem may be that you haven't entered their leadership records.  Go to Troop-->Adult Leadership and click Add A New Item to get started.

If you've done all that and the Our Adult Leaders page is still empty, go back to the Adult Leadership page and make sure that at least some of the leadership records have not expired.  The End Date on at least some of the records must be either blank or in the future.


How can I get our site to show up on Google and other search engines?

There are two things you can do to improve your search results:

  1. Register your site with Google, giving them your complete TroopWebHost URL as shown on the Bookmark This Site page. They will ask you to post a file to the site to confirm your ownership. Send that file to Info@TroopWebHost.com and we will post it for you.

  2. Get other local sites to link to your TroopWebHost site, using your complete TroopWebHost URL as shown on the Bookmark This Site page. Ask your charter organization to add a link to their website. Ask the members of your troop to add links to any sites they control. The more sites that link to yours, the higher your search results will be.