This is the fourth post in a series of posts about creating A Web Presence for your Community Group. By now you have a Domain, your website up and running with WordPress.com and have set up Google Apps for Your Domain and now have email for all your core team members.
The next thing most community groups need is a Calendar of Events. Most community groups exist because they have events run for the members or the general public, and you need to be able to promote your events via your website. Your Google Calendar is perfect for this. You can even create as many different Calendars as you want to your Google Calendar, for different parts of your Organisation (eg Committee, Meetings, Events, or a calendar for each different sub group of your organisation.
I have put off writing this post for so long because I was really hoping that WordPress.com would come to the party and allow embedding of Google Calendars.
Unfortunately they have not. Here is a WordPress.org (hosted wordpress) site showing an embedded Google Calendar (created by my friend @adb). This is what you can NOT do on a free WordPress.com site. Unfortunately it is still the best way to show your Calendar of Events, and it is such a shame that WordPress.com will not allow this.
However, here are a few other options to overcome this limitation:
- Create an Event’s Page on your website and manually enter details about the events. This is not the best idea as you have to continually update it and there is nothing worse than looking at someone’s website with outdated information on it.
- Add a Link to your Calendar of Events from your WordPress.com website’s Sidebar or Menu. See the Instructions from Google on how to make your calendar public, then use the HTML link from your Calendar Settings to create a link to the calendar. The Calendar will look like this one (created for a Community Sporting Group who’s website I look after). This option is the easiest, but the calendar page is separate from your website, and not branded with the look and feel of your website.
- There is a trick you can use to create an RSS Feed of your events and display them in the sidebar of your website. This is quite complex and involves relying on another service. I would only recommend it for the technically adept. (I have not tried it yet).
- I do hate to say this but maybe create your site in Posterous (pronounced post-er-us) rather than WordPress.com. Posterous is a new-ish Microblogging platform but it now has almost as many features as WordPress.com (and a great new feature of group sites). I found this Posterous site that looks great and has an embedded Google Calendar.
For right now, I would create a link to the Calendar, and wait a bit longer and hope that WordPress.com comes to their senses and allows Google Calendar embeds in future. UPDATE: Which thankfully they have now done.
When you do start to use Calendar Embeds, Google has a great new feature that helps you create the code to embed multiple calendars.