Setting Up a Website and Email
Last updated May 10, 2023
CEA can support your group to get a website domain, website builder subscription, and custom email addresses for your group at no cost to the organisers. Read the guide below on how we can help you get a domain, have a website and get it connected to your domain, and set up custom email addresses.
Should you get a website and custom email?
Some groups get by using only social media, Meetup.com, and/or a Gmail address for their group, so your group may not need a website or a personalised email address.
If your group is part of a national group, you could see whether it’s possible to have a page on your national group’s website and to have email addresses using the national group’s domain.
By creating a website and email addresses, you are committing to keeping your website up to date, checking your email regularly, responding to any messages. Local groups are often the first impression people have with the EA community, so it is important this first impression goes well.
If there is a point when you no longer wish to update the website or check the email addresses (e.g. the group is dormant), please contact email@example.com.
Choosing a domain
If you decide to get a website and/or custom email, the first step is to get CEA to register a domain for you. We generally prefer for CEA to own the domain because this makes it easier to revive the website and email addresses if a group goes dormant and the logins are lost. We can usually buy the domain for you within 2-3 working days. To have us buy a domain for you:
Find an available domain name - Work out the domain you want e.g. easomewhere.org, easomewhere.com, or effectivealtruism.<yourcountrycode>. Then go on GoDaddy to see if the domain is available and inexpensive. Most domains are <$20 USD per year. CEA is willing to pay a maximum of up to $200 USD/year for a domain. If the domain is not available on GoDaddy but is available via another provider, we recommend you buy the domain yourself.
Contact CEA to register this domain- After finding an available domain name, contact CEA’s Groups team on firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what domain you’d like.
Getting custom email addresses
Once you have a domain, there are two options for getting email addresses under your domain (i.e. [yourname]@easomewhere.org):
- Google Workspace (our recommendation)
You can sign up for Google Workspace and apply for group support funding from CEA to pay for it. (Read the next few paragraphs about Google Workspace first and our guide to doing so before you sign up for it.)
This will allow you to create GMail accounts under your domain. Google Workspace has a free plan for registered non-profit organisations, but most groups are not registered as non-profits, and therefore are charged. CEA is happy to give EA groups funding to get the Business Starter plan, which costs about $6/user/month.
If you would like more functionality, such as being able to record meetings, have more storage, or use shared drives, which could be useful if you are going to have members who don't use Google Workspace emails to create files (so that files are owned by the group, not by the individual), CEA can give you funding to get the Business Standard plan instead, which is usually $12/user/month.
The cost can become large if your group wants a lot of email addresses (though you can create aliases for free). Most groups can get up to 20 Google emails under the Business Starter plan and up to 10 on the Business Standard plan, though we may make this lower or higher depending on your group's size and track record.
To get Google Workspace for your group, you can read this guide we made.
Alternatively, CEA can create multiple email addresses for free for your domain through the mail server Migadu. Migadu is very low cost, but it isn’t set up for bulk emailing - you'd have to use a service like Mailchimp or MailMeteor instead. You also can't use Google Docs with your Migadu email, while a custom GMail lets you use Google Docs.
Some groups have decided to change from Migadu to Google Workspace due to some issues they've had with Migadu. Migadu might be good for some groups that want a large number of email addresses, or groups that don’t use email much. But generally we now recommend groups to use Google Workspace over Migadu.
If you'd still like to use Migadu for your group, you can contact us at email@example.com. You can use your existing email client (e.g. Gmail) to send and receive from these email addresses. Here are instructions on setting that up after you've gotten in contact with us.
Switching from Migadu to Google
If your group is already using Migadu and you want to switch to using Google Workspace, you can read this guide to learn how to do that. Learning and doing the process can take you 2-4 hours, depending also on how many emails and email addresses you have to migrate.
Building a website
Using our EA Group Squarespace Template
If you'd like to duplicate the EA Group Website Squarespace Template, you can follow these instructions on how to have us duplicate the website for you, and how you can personalize the template for your group.
If instead you'd like to build a website on your own, then you can follow these steps:
Steps to make your own website via a website builder
1. Choose a website builder and buy an account.
You can use a Groups Support Grant from CEA to pay for the website builder.
Website Builder Options
Even if you have web development experience in your group, we recommend groups use website builders that only require a low level of skill to maintain content and security. This is so that the website stays up to date and stable over many years. The options we recommend are:
Squarespace is a visual editor (so you can edit the website without knowing any coding) that is very popular with EA Groups. Squarespace has many excellent themes you can pick to select the look of your website. There is a limited ability for users to change the layout and look of the pages after the theme is chosen, so there is less chance that editors mess up the look of the page! So Squarespace pages are a little less flexible, but they often look very good on all devices.
Squarespace’s personal plan (currently 16 USD/month when paying for 12 months) may be suitable for simple websites with one or two editors. If you want extra features such as Mailchimp integration, or have several editors, you can choose the business plan (23 USD/month if you pay annually). You can always upgrade if needed. If you are a student, apply for a subsidised student account, which gives you 50% off your first year.
Wix is another visual editor, which is probably slightly less popular than Squarespace, but much more modifiable. This means it might be a good choice if you have specific desires for your website and have an eye for design.
The combo plan (currently 8.50 USD per month) is probably sufficient for most groups. You can get 50% off premium plans if you're a student.
Webflow also has a visual editor, so you can edit the website without knowing any coding. You can either build your website from scratch using a standard Webflow template or by modifying this fully customisable EA group template, which CEA’s Groups team can send you once you’ve created a Webflow account. Webflow is more flexible than Squarespace but is harder to use. We recommend only using Webflow if you think Squarespace or Wix won’t suit your purpose, and if you're a bit familiar with HTML and CSS.
Choose Webflow’s basic account (currently 14 USD per month when paying for 12 months), or a CMS account if you expect to host a blog (23 USD per month if you pay annually). If you are a student, you can apply for a free annual CMS site plan on Webflow. (It will likely be free for the whole duration you are a student.)
Some groups also use WordPress. WordPress seems to have more security issues than Squarespace, Webflow, and Wix though, so we generally don’t recommend it. However, some larger groups have chosen to use WordPress and find its more advanced features useful, such as EA Netherlands and EA Czechia.
2. Build your website!
Have a look at other group websites for inspiration. You can find websites from other groups on the EA Forum Community page.
A variety of editable images and logos can be found here.
If your audience is English speakers, we recommend you only host a small amount of general information about EA, and about the international EA community. Instead link people to your favourite EA pages. This way you have less information to update and maintain.
If you are translating content into your own language to put on the website, CEA can provide advice and connections to help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Contact CEA's Groups Team.
Once your website is ready, and CEA owns your domain, contact email@example.com so we can help you connect your webpage to the domain for your group.