As many of you may know, the BCA Council at its 2018 meeting endorsed a proposal from the Executive Committee recommending that the Club make a significant one-time investment to upgrade the Club’s website at bulldogclubofamerica.org (“Website” or just “Site”). The current BCA Website design is about eight years old and while it has served us admirably for many years, the Site is starting to show its age when you compare it to the best of other parent club websites. Sherry Webb, the current BCA Webmaster, with support from Julian Prager, Chair of the BCA Information & Technology Committee, has led a team effort over the past year overseeing the design of a new BCA Website. I’m happy to say these efforts have paid off and they are ready to make this dream a reality. At the Executive Committee meeting in May 2019, after Sherry reviewed a beta version of the new Site, the Executive Committee gave Sherry and Julian the complete authority to “pull the trigger” when ready.
I’m pleased to report that we are very close to the most significant milestone in this process—Sherry and Julian have set 5 PM PST on Friday, August 9th as the precise time that the new bulldogclubofamerica.org will go live. But that just begins a new chapter in the Site’s journey. Someone asked me recently if the new Website was completed yet and after thinking about it, I responded, “You know I don’t think it ever will be.” What I mean by that is any truly resourceful website—regardless whether it is visited often by Club members or visited on occasion by someone looking for an answer to a bulldog question—will include some newly added information and up-to-date resources that encourage repeat visits. Think about our Website being the first place where you can find recent specialty show results or the name of a recommended veterinarian in a particular city. In reality, Sherry has agreed to do a job that is never truly done because when it comes to our Website, there is always more to do. This is the members’ Website. Every BCA member is welcome to provide a suggestion to Sherry. Just keep in mind that there’s a long list of valuable Site enhancements, and we can only implement them one at a time.
I want to briefly mention three overall objectives that we wanted the new Site to accomplish. First, we wanted to design a new Site that would be more appealing to what I’d call the “Bulldog Public,” which could be anyone out there looking for information on how to get a bulldog, what to do with a bulldog, how to train a bulldog, how to spot health issues with a bulldog and so on. We’re now using a new tagline, “No One Knows Bulldogs Like the Bulldog Club of America.” This correctly positions the Club as a resource for all things bulldog-related and in a perfect world, we would be such a resource relied on by bulldog owners throughout the country. At the same time, the Site would invite this group to engage with BCA through, for example, a local member club meeting or an AKC event.
Second, we wanted to increase the engagement of our own BCA members with the Site. Some BCA members know generally what information is on the BCA Website today, but how often do they really go there and access it? And what about the BCA members that have virtually never visited the Site? How can we change that? What if the Site included a time-sensitive weekly report with major wins from across the country the week before? Would the membership engage with the BCA Website to obtain that information? What if the Site played a bigger role in attracting new members, while at the same time facilitating the current process for getting those new members a sponsor and submitting those completed applications for consideration? We want a website that our members can easily use to facilitate Club business and find answers to specific Club questions. And we want a Site that is dynamic enough to keep members coming back for new information.
The third and final overall objective was to explore ways that an enhanced BCA Website visited by more members of the Bulldog Public and visited more often by Club members could generate additional revenue for the Club. This could be from the sale of BCA merchandise, but, for example, it could also be a result of enhancements to the membership renewal process through the Site which increase our renewal rates and thereby improve our financial health.
I think you’ll find the new BCA Website has a more contemporary look and feel to it with better and simpler navigation tools so you can more easily find what you need. There will be added video content right from the start, and we expect an even bigger increase in available digital resources down the road.
As long as BCA has an email address for you, every member will receive an email with logon instructions so that when you visit the new Website for the first time, you will be able to access the secure members-only areas. Look at what’s available on the Site and think about reasons you might visit it more often. Think about how you could include references to the BCA Website in discussions with puppy buyers and increase public outreach. The new Site will make it easier to post information from the Site onto your Facebook page, thereby increasing the Site’s reach and influence. We hope that all members will appreciate what the new Site offers and join us in building what could become one of the Club’s most valuable proprietary assets. I’d just ask you to keep in mind that it’s not only BCA members we have our eyes on (or whose eyes we want). We believe that the BCA Website could fulfill a critical role in transforming BCA into a stronger, more visible leader for bulldogs. The Site could do this by providing information that triggers more members of the Bulldog Public to visit the Site when a bulldog question arises and ultimately to consider actual membership in the organization. That’s the real return on our investment. More members, happier members and longer lasting members. That’s what the recently appointed BCA Next Generation Committee is going to be looking for from the new BCA Website. Together, we can make it happen.
If your email address was not listed in the most recent BCA membership directory and you’re unsure whether BCA has it, please just send your email address to Julian Prager (email@example.com) or Sherry Webb (firstname.lastname@example.org). On behalf of BCA, I want to especially thank Sherry and Julian for diligently leading this important project. Sherry has been the principal contact with our design vendor, which has consumed big blocks of her time, and all the while she is also responsible for the 2019 National Show website, which I think could be a model fur future shows, and oh by the way she is also in the process of moving from Division 3 to Division 5! Thank you, Sherry and Julian, for having a real passion to make this happen for the good of the Club today and long into the future.