What do You Look for in a Guild Website?

This is a great question asked by Nibuca on Twitter which was brought to my attention by Gnomeaggedon.

Guild websites can be a great tool for communications between guild members and detailing raid accomplishments. You can use it to hold information for prospective recruits, keep track of loot that has been awarded and set up forums for active discussion between your players.

So here’s today’s questions for you all. I’m actually in the midst of writing a long post about guild website essentials, so consider this a research post designed to see if I’m on the right track.

Does your guild have a website? Do you use it or not, and why? What features would you consider important or expendable?

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. For us our guild website is a place to dribble crap while we are all at work 😛 but also a place to discuss strats, analys our performances and provide feedback to everyone, so a solid forum is a big requirement.

    I deployed bbdkp which is a project combining phpbb and eqdkp and then also developed some additional features myself like;

    – Registration Sync with Armory – so only guildies can register
    – Raid Signups
    – Export of DKP in WebDKP format
    – Import of Raid Items from WebDKP

    Upy
    .-= Upyursh´s last blog ..Mouseover Macros Explained =-.

  2. I use our guild website pretty much constantly and have done so for every guild I’ve been in. I love guild websites, they allow me to keep in touch with guildies during the times I’m not in game (out of town, at work, etc.).

    I look for two things first and foremost in a guild website; everything else is icing on the cake.

    1) Forums. Or something like forums, to allow communication that can be referenced, quoted, links to be shared, ideas to be tossed back and forth, and so on. This can be anything from a full-blown vBulletin install to a set of private Google Waves, for all I care, as long as I can bounce ideas off of, and communicate with, my guildies.

    2) Organization and planning – a calendar. Yeah, the in-game calendar is great, but it has some limitations. I like to see an out-of-game calendar that people can reference, so they can still keep track of upcoming events like raids without necessarily logging in. Of course, someone has to be responsible enough to keep in-game and website calendars in sync.

    And on more progression oriented guilds, I love seeing boss kill posts and consider them damn near a feature of the site – the capability for updates and front page news should probably be a capability of most or all serious guild websites. It tells potential applicants up front what kind of progress your guild is actually making, which is always a plus. It can also speak volumes about the guild – Killer Bunnies‘ personality comes through in theirs, which are more than just screenshots and “yay we downed X under Y conditions.”
    .-= Stop´s last blog ..What I do when I’m not playing WoW: an anecdote =-.

  3. Who:
    What:
    When:
    Where:
    Why:

    Forums are probably the number one thing that I like to see in a guild website. An active guild should be able to have an active discussion about something, while at the same time have a place where they can go to look up information quickly. For example, our guild has set of forums dedicated to raiding including a place to sign out (because we assume otherwise that you can attend the raid), strategy, recap (to see what went wrong), and logs. We also have forums dedicated to each class and each role (dps/tank/heals), along with forums for general discussion.

    However, I also believe that your website should be able to explain:
    1. Who: Your names (guild name, individual/toon names, etc)
    2. What: Do you raid, run 5-mans, are you a casual guild, etc.
    3. When: Days and times you do what you are doing
    4. Where: Which instance(s) you are running, which server you are on, etc.
    5. Why: What reasons are you doing what you are currently doing (probably more useful for non-progression guilds).
    6. How: What kind of success are you achieving in what you are doing.
    .-= Spazmoosifer´s last blog ..Circle of Killers! =-.

  4. We do have a website and we use it ALOT -we’re on and off it all day. Strats, theorycrafting, general bull…you name it. Unfortunately, it looks like something a 5 year old did on a geocities site. Progression raiding + small guild of working professionals = No time to make a better one. Yes we tell ourselves that people we would most likely be interested in will look at progress, needs, activities ect first – but first impressions say alot, and the first impression you get from our site is a bunch of monkeys at the zoo had a feces painting day.

    http://www.godarknemesis.com it’s really just a forum. That’s it. It’a boring. So, uh, if anyone wants to build us a grown up site for a decent price, hit me up? We would LOVE one that:

    – Looks good – graphically pleasing
    – Has a TRUE front page where we can post kill screenshots, recruitment needs, general & random info. Maybe even loot allocated
    – Has a REAL functioning forum, like something Vbulletin based.

  5. A website where the guildies participate? lol

    That really is a function of the personality of the guild though, but the site itself can help or hurt that. The amount of info needs cover the basics, but for “less serious” guilds, it needs to be fun and not be intimidating.

    Other than that, I can’t say much….
    .-= SlikRX/Balthazario´s last blog ..Shake it UP, Cuz this is Learning! =-.

  6. Our much-loved website is designed and maintained by a guildie – it is basically an active forum where we can post pics, view youtube vids directly in posts, link to wowhead items, and lots more cool stuff. We have feeds of our favourite blogs for news and a shoutbox for quick stuff. Its linked to the armoury for roster and rank changes. Only major thing we don’t do is raid scheduling through the site.

    Despite the site’s user-friendliness I would say there is only a small group of people (mainly officers) who actually do all the posting. Most guildies visit the website often to read it, but most of the posting comes down to a few people.

    http://www.legendofthealliance.com

    -Ang

  7. For me, what I care about on a website depends on whether I’m looking at the website as a guild member or as a guild shopper.

    As a member, I like
    – A place to communicate, as pretty much everyone else mentioned
    – News
    – Some level of visual appeal, I want to think “we’re so awesome, I love us” whenever I see the page, not “ooooo my poor eyes”

    As a potential applicant, I’m way more demanding. When I was looking up guilds, searching for The One, I must have read close to 100 websites and most of them were so terrible, I couldn’t believe they actually managed to recruit people. I went on a rant (http://bossypally.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/spare-the-eyes-of-your-potential-applicant/) and the main points were:

    – User friendliness: I don’t want to spend an hour looking for information.
    – The raiding schedule and DON’T say “server time” (if applicable)
    – A guild charter/operating manual/bedtime storybook that covered anything I needed to know about the guild’s goals, values, structure, policies, etc.
    – A sample of how members communicate with each other
    – Up to date news
    – Level of progression, 10 or 25 mans (if applicable)
    – Contact information for the GM or recruitment officer in case of questions
    – Visual appeal: suitable for sensitive eyes.

    I know I’m especially difficult, but I think tidiness and accessibility of information are a plus for anyone looking for a guild, whether they realize it or not.
    .-= Ophelie´s last blog ..Back to Basics: Becoming one with the Combat Log =-.

  8. Driving people to the guild website is always a challenge. I’ve seen guilds that offer ‘points’ and rewards for contributing to the website.

    Having people do raid signups on the website helps a bit too
    .-= Upyursh´s last blog ..Applying and Trialing with a Raiding Guild =-.

  9. My guild uses a free site specific to Warcraft guilds. http://www.wkn.wowstead.com
    I secretly created the site and then asked the officers at the time to take a look. They really liked it because it was much more user friendly than the old one we had. We keep up with guild news, forums, absences/late posts, polls, attendance, loot history, strategy and videos.. anything you can think of, we can put it on the site. It’s good for venting and laughing, too.
    I just started trying to sync the game calendar with the site calendar- so that ppl know what’s going on even if they can’t log on to the game. These are all important to guild organization. Information at your fingertips… I like that a lot!
    Exanna
    .-= Exanna´s last blog ..A Few Things (including this blog being temporarily halted y’day) =-.

  10. I look for functionality over style. I like active forum communities, a decent “progress” meter, and an easy to find “policies manual” that details loot, attendance, and other requirements. I don’t care if it’s flashy or not; I want to be able to use it. So many people prefer aesthetics over utility, and that just drives users away, if you ask me.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Zombies Rule! Vampires Drool! =-.

  11. The most important thing is for your forums to not look like a 3 year old on a sugar high designed them. All too often when I’m scanning other guild’s websites they’re using some terrible premade site geared towards WoW so it has everything but the kitchen sink on the main page. How do you expect anyone to find anything amongst all the clutter and the severe visual beatdown? I understand that some guilds don’t necessarily have coders, but I would have a hard time taking a guild serious that had a terrible website regardless of their ranking.

    KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid.

    Far better to have things easy to read and easy to find than to try to do everything that could ever be done on a guild site all at the same time on the front page.

    Aside from that, your guild website should have the following (in no particular order):
    1) your name
    2) brief blurb about the guild
    3) raid days & times USING TIMEZONES
    4) forums
    5) progression
    6) classes you’re recruiting
    7) a method to apply

    I personally like it if guild sites have a public forum (that’s actually active) as well as a “hidden” members only forum. When you’re recruiting, allowing people to peer in through the window to get a sense of the guild’s personality is invaluable.

  12. We use a guildlaunch site — has forums, a progression widget, a place to post screenshots, a calendar.

    And nobody uses it.

    We’ve tried pushing people to it for raid sign-ups, for policy reads, for fun stuff, but it seems nobody reads it or posts there except for a few officers. I don’t know if it’s a result of the site or the ‘personality of the guild’ as Slik says; it’s annoying though, as it can be much easier to use that than trying to communicate some information exclusively in-game.
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Raid Healing: The Right Field of Raiding? =-.

  13. We started way back when with just forums – which really is the heart of a community like a guild anyway. Easy communication.

    When I took the reins I decided to add a website. I am really not sure I should have bothered. I thought it would be really handy to have somewhere where you could find the key information about the guild and also store good information (as forums aren’t always very easy to navigate if you need to find older stuff).

    I don’t have time to keep on top of it and no one else is willing to take it on. And to be perfectly frank, I’m not sure anyone ever looks at it, because the forum can serve all the needs of a separate website if you do it right with who you structure the different areas. Hmmm, something I need to look into.

    Like has been said you want somewhere on the interweb where people can find out the basic guild info – focus, progress, raid times, recruitment process – and where guildies can communicate. It doesn’t really have to be fancier than that – anything else is just icing.

    One thing I personally would like to be able to do is find a way of having raid scheduling done on the web in some way, but that can sync with the in-game calendar. I’m hoping that might be one of the topics you decide to include some wise tips on in your article! 🙂

  14. Organization, clear concise loot rules, the ability to talk to the leaders and have them respond in a timely manner, and the way they respond to apps.

    I dont care about screenshots of kills or the DKP standings, I am more interested in the types of posts and the people that hang out there and how responsive the leadership is
    .-= Angry Gamer´s last blog ..angrygamer_blog: You can’t make a classic better: Diablo 2: http://wp.me/pFQm3-3E =-.

  15. I really don’t look much at other sites, but I know what I want as an officer in ours (and it’s what we have) — a good forum and web raid signups.

    The signups are a requirement in my opinion. Blizz has done a lot with the ingame calendar, but its still not there. I can’t tell WHEN someone signed up, can’t freeze signups ahead of time, can’t have signups by role, and can’t have people signup outside of the game (like on lunch or out of town.) The last one is really key, because we consider marking yourself “not available” as still signing up. You may not be able to make the raid, but you are at least giving the RL enough heads-up time to deal with it.

  16. My answer would vary depending on my situation with the guild – whether I’m a potential applicant, whether the guild is even recruiting – whether I’m a long time member, and more.

    As Applicant:
    1) A well-designed layout with unique graphics is always nice to look at, but if it gets overly professional-looking then as a raider looking for a guild, it tends to intimidate me somewhat. On the flip side a basic Guildlaunch template with little to no personalization also seems like not enough effort was put in to make the guild stand out.
    2) Class needs. Come on, this should be obvious. Try to keep it up-to-date, too. It’s damned irritating to see a prospective guild that looks like a good fit only to be told that my class isn’t needed at the time, despite the recruitment status on the front page saying its open.
    3) Basic info. Raid times, loot rules, rules in general… it should be on an easy to find page, but not overly long or wordy. Guilds with walls of text that look like legal documents seem to be taking it a bit far.

    As Member:
    1) Incentive to visit forums! This isn’t so much a website feature as just the need for members who actually visit it.
    2) Raid signups, DKP/etc – I prefer signups that are done via forums, because your post/signup will be on record and I believe that for guilds with more than just enough players for a core team, this will give people a fairer chance.

    As other people have mentioned, user-friendliness is pretty important. Keep the important news and info where it can be seen and preferably one or more public forums so that applicants/guests may chat with the members of the guild to get a feel for what they’re like.

  17. First off…..*waves at Stop* you are on the same server I am! In fact I’ve run with some members of you guild. Good people! 🙂

    Ok now on topic….

    First off…not incredibly fond of my guilds website, but it does have my number 1 requirement when looking for a guild….Rules/Charter. There is nothing I hate more when I am checking out guilds and find no sign of rules at all. Hey we want you to join us….but you do not need to know anything about us…right? Grrrr! I seriously do not understand why so many guilds feel no need to include this in any form. I will not ever apply to a guild without any idea what they are or what their expectations of me are.

    Besides that what I like to see…active forums with friendly people. I have no other requirements.

    What our guild site is lacking to me….activity. However I cannot force people to enjoy chatting in forums as much as I do and we are a small guild. They are good people so I guess I’ll put up with it! 🙂

  18. I’m bummed that more folks don’t use the DKPsystems host for guild websites. I loved how easy they made it to make a ciickable list of my rare patterns by profession by toon, captured a snapshot of the gear I had and my wishlists for gear (on all my toons), etc. It’s been the most robust host I’ve used so far.
    .-= candy´s last blog ..Friday Five: The First Five Things I’m Doing After Patch 3.3 Drops =-.

  19. I think the most important thing a guild website needs are good forums. Communication is key in a successful raiding guild. If the forums are super jumbled around things get lost in translation and important information gets missed.
    .-= Napps´s last blog ..Day 1-3 – The Decision =-.

  20. The website is a reflection of how the guild work. I like very structured things, so my preference goes to:

    Mainly, a very alive forum with
    – chitchat
    – reference info (or links to) on strats
    – reference info (or links to) on specs/gear/rotation
    – reference info (or links to) on addons and macros
    – class and role discussion
    – guild info (raid planning, crafts…)

    Ideally, misc tools
    – real-time chat
    – raid calendar
    – members’ crafts and guild bank bank info.

    In my experience though, few players like spending much time outside of the game, and forums are a bit dead. With so many trolls on Bli’s forums, the best bet for interesting and polite discussions is … World of Matticus :-p

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