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Writing and Maintaining an SBE Chapter Website

by Mark Persons CPBE, AMD, CBNT
SBE Signal article
April, 2021

SBE chapter websites are a resource to members and the world.  Every chapter should have a website to tell the story of who and what they are.  I just finished a re-write of  It was a fun and challenging experience.  Websites should not be thought of as “billboards” on the internet highway, but are information windows for everyone, even non-members.  The site I wrote is only eight pages but covers the subject.  Of special interest are stories from recent chapter meetings.

Web writing tools
I wrote the original website using basic HTML code, but it was difficult to write and did not display well on smartphones.  The new one was done through at $144/year.  It is all in the cloud and edited through a web browser.  Web hosting is included in that price., at $156/year is another easy-to-use website builder.  There are more.  No special experience is necessary.  With this kind of writing, you can easily add text or a photo by dragging and dropping onto a page.  The result is a good-looking website on a desktop, tablet, and smartphone.  Content is automatically arranged for the screen it is displayed on. 

Every chapter has a chairman and vice-chairman etc.  The position of web writer (or similar title) is another volunteer position.  Take it seriously.  Make sure the chapter secretary has a copy of the username and passwords for the domain name and website tool or web server.  The website person could die suddenly, and the information might die with him or her.  Ouch!

It's best to stick with the already established scheme of SBE followed by the chapter number, then .org (  Remember, we are not-for-profit organizations and should avoid any reference to being commercial with a .com address.

Content and Links
Tell the story of your chapter.  Think of a website as a book or brochure where the content can be changed frequently to fit the situation.  It can and should be a news source of what is currently going on.  It makes sense to put calendar items on the home page rather than try to squeeze one into a small space in a monthly calendar.    

I gleaned ideas from other websites before creating this one.  It is not intellectual property.  You are welcome to use the basic format ideas on  After all, copying is the greatest form of flattery.  There is even a slide show with the group and scenes from around town.  Easy to do.

Start by putting links to national SBE and its programs.  Then add the NAB, the FCC and anything handy to broadcast engineers.  Be sure to code them so anyone clicking there will be opening a new tab in their browser.  Otherwise, the visitor will leave the site and may not find a way back.

Images are what makes a website interesting.  The file size (bytes) of images is important.  You want to keep each one down to less than 400 kB.  Even that is a little big for those viewing on a slow internet connection.  Photos straight from a camera are typically 2 MB, which is way too big!  You will want to use photo editing software, like Photoshop or Lightroom, to fix that.  Do not use photos you find on the internet unless they are listed as free or you pay for them.  Do your own photography.  Remember, it is about your chapter and what you are doing. 

As broadcast engineers, we understand the value of maintaining what we have.  Every chapter website needs to be updated at least twice a month.  There should be a meeting notice with time and date.  Then, put on a short story about the meeting under the Stories menu.  Those who did not attend will see what they missed and are less likely to skip the next one.  It might even attract new members.

A worst-case scenario is where a website has outdated information.  It gives the organization a black eye.  Do not let that happen to your chapter.  It is worse than not having a website.

Do your chapter proud by telling the world that we are members of an organization of broadcast engineers.  It can help change our public image for the better.

Mark Persons CPBE, AMD, CBNT and Life Member 6931 was named the SBE Robert W. Flanders Engineer of the Year in 2018 and the SBE John H. Battison Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2020.  He retired at the end of 2017 and mentors four radio broadcast engineers in the SBE Mentor Proram.  He is also a member of the National Radio Systems Committee and is webmaster of Chapter 17 in the Twin Cities.

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