Imagine you’re new to SQL Server, or new to a city, and you start looking around for networking and learning opportunities. With luck and/or experience you find your way to the local PASS Chapter web site. Once there, what do you find? Does it look professional? Is it current? Can you see what the last meeting was about and when the next meeting is? Can you identify who the leader is? Notes about upcoming events (ie Code Camp)? Does the group have a logo? Does it make you feel like this is an active and engaged group?
If you’re a sponsor, does it look like a place you want your logo? Are sponsor ads featured nicely and clearly?
The appearance of the site matters, at least a little bit. One way to solve this is to simplify (ala Meetup, EventBrite, LinkedIn). Apply a theme, set the logo, and minimize the changes that have to be done to keep the site current. It’s tempting to add more (free tools, past sponsors, past speakers) and it’s good if you can maintain it, but it’s always disheartening to see one of the links and land on a page that was last updated a year ago.
It’s an area I’m surprised that PASS doesn’t pay more attention to. The Summit web site is always first class. SQLSaturday template is very nice, most events fill in most of the blanks (please, set the hotel location!). If a Chapter doesn’t have a logo, that would be a good place to offer some help. If a site is badly out of date, that might be a worth an email and/or an offer to help. If I had a business with 200+ affiliates/franchises/whatever, I’d want them to represent my brand well (without making them all look the same).
I get that running a chapter is hard. Finding speakers, sponsors, attendees can chew up the time you have. Think of the web site appearance as a one time/once a year type investment and maybe find a volunteer that has the UI gene. And whether you get to it or not, thanks for doing what you do.
Here are some examples, good and not so good, that I found while just looking through the list at http://sqlpass.org/PASSChapters/LocalChapters.aspx.