There are many ways to keep the public and your members informed about your space, tools, schedule and events. Setting up a website is your first step towards that goal!
The landing page is where you are going to have the opportunity to introduce your business to the general public. We’d recommend that you use this page to describe your maker space in general and focus on helping new visitors to learn what your space is all about.
Not all maker spaces are the same and you should tailor the content to best describe your ideas and goals. There are 3 concepts that often help to describe maker/hack spaces in general:
Space: The space is where your members will be working on. It is important to highlight how much space you have and how it can be used by members to work on their projects.
Tools: The tools that you have available is what members will use to work on their projects. Some spaces will focus on specific areas such as wood working, metal working, CNC machines, computer and software or textiles. You should make sure to keep this list relevant and updated.
People: The people that you’ll bring together will form a small community who share the same passion for building things, and many maker spaces thrive when these communities are healthy. If community is important to your maker space try to describe how members socialize and learn new skills on your space.
Tools are important for all maker spaces and it is critical for your business to let the general public know what tools you have available. The landing page should give a general overview of the types of tools that you have but a catalog with the tools goes a long way on informing the public what your space has to offer. A tool catalog could be as simple as a textual list or as complex as fully functional tool catalog with search capabilities, document attachments, video tutorials, member comments and maintenance schedule functionality.
At Maker Space Platform we’ve created a fully functional tool catalog. You can see details here and a access the public side of a tool catalog sample here.
Membership & Pricing page
After someone has looked into the landing page and tool catalog they may be ready to sign up. At this point they’ll be looking to learn about the different types of memberships that you offer and how much it costs.
At Maker Space Platform we’ve added support to create membership and pricing pages. You can see a sample here.
Calendar and Events
Some maker spaces only need to post hours of operations but often you would want to post events and gatherings. Ideally the public can see all your public events and members can see and sign up for member-only events.
At Maker Space Platform we’ve added support for Google Calendar and a custom Calendar page. You can choose either option. The custom calendar works better for our customers because it has an easy sign up for events process, limits of how many people can attend, it can be open to the public or members only and doesn’t require extra management to grant and remove access. You can see a sample here.
Often people want to get in contact you to ask questions without physically visiting your location. You don’t want to expose an email address on your public website because this quickly becomes a source for massive spams campaigns and a burden to manage. Instead, you want a Contact Page where people can post a message that will be emailed directly to you or a group of people.
At Maker Space Platform we’ve created a custom Contact page. You can see samples here and here.
As your space matures, you’ll notice that members and the general internet crowd will ask the same questions repeatedly. You might want to update your website content in some cases but most often you will find preferable to have these answers on a FAQ page.
At Maker Space Platform we’ve created a custom FAQ page that is easy to manage. You can see a sample here.
Member sign up and sign in
Ideally members will sign up for your space using your website and you will establish a membership onboard process. We’ve written an article about the onboard process best practices that you can access here.
Additional functionalities you can add to your system are listed below:
- Allowing prospective members to sign up and pay online
- Access and update their member profile
- Manage email communication preferences
There are many features you might want to have on your website. Based on our research, Maker Spaces typically have the following:
Member projects: Allowing your members to post their projects on your main website can help the public understand what types of projects people do in your space as well as help create a sense of community.
Wiki: Wiki pages are a great way to let your members create content.
Voting and Polls: Often times you need to reach out to your community and learn what their ideas are and where they would like to see your space to go.
Forum: Space where members can ask and respond to questions.