EAA announced through a webinar on January 15th that they are now offering free websites to all EAA, IAC, Vintage and Warbirds chapters. You can view the webinar in the EAA archives; Chapter Websites - A New Offering.
As Charlie Becker, Director of Chapters, Communities * Homebuilt Community Manager, mentions at the beginning of the video EAA did offer free websites previously (about 10 years ago), but the roll out wasn't very widespread and some chapters knew nothing about it until a couple years after the roll out. At that time, the platform was with WEBS. Currently the majority of our IAC chapters have the WEBS URL address listed on the EAA Chapter Locator as the their chapter's website address. A project was undertaken in 2016 to redirect those links to the correct IAC chapter websites.
The most critical thing about the information in the webinar for all IAC chapters is that once EAA terminates their agreement with WEBS (March 31), they don't know what will happen to those chapters who are using the platform. Will your chapter website simply shut down or disappear?
ACTION ITEM : If your IAC chapter has its own website, you should request that it be correctly listed on the EAA Chapter Locator. The EAA Chapter office is your tech support team; chapters [at] eaa.org (subject: EAA%20Free%20website) . If you are using the WEBS offering from 10 years ago, you should watch the EAA webinar video and learn how you can convert over to the new EAA free website (Sitecore).
EAA sent out an email to chapter presidents last week on January 16, the day after the webinar to advise of this change. One IAC chapter has jumped quickly on converting over their website to the new offering and has shared their new website for comment: https://chapters.eaa.org/iac67.
Bruce Mamont, IAC 67, wrote on the Acroexploder yesterday, "I’m using the recently deployed EAA template and site hosting capability to develop a prototype (I call it that because it gives me license to make mistakes) site. Several IAC chapters gave me ideas and help. In several cases I copied some articles they posted on their sites, with I hope suitable attribution. I also provided links to IAC site pages. I’d be grateful for any feedback, comments, suggestions that would help improve the site.
Bruce said," There are two YouTube videos included in the EAA information that you will need to start work on your site. If you already have content and an organizational structure that you want to move to the EAA template, it shouldn't be too time consuming. There will be a little bit of a learning curve to figure out how you want to resize and position the graphics (e.g., Chapter logo jpg, pictures) so that your text wraps around. No HTML coding is required. It’s really a copy and paste exercise into a different format that’s explained in the videos. Mistakes are easy to back out and correct."
We hope that Bruce's experience will encourage you to move forward and take action on your chapter's website. Deadline is March 31.