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Chuck Bargeron, Information Technology Director
Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

What is a CISMA/CWMA?

Cooperative Weed Management Areas, or CWMAs, are partnerships of federal, state and local government agencies, tribes, individuals and other interested groups that manage noxious weeds or invasive plants in a defined area (Western Weed Coordinating Committee, 2006). CWMAs may have different names in different parts of the country, for example, Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs), Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) or Invasive Species Teams or Partnerships. For the purposes of this publication, we refer to them all as CISMAs.

Many communities are establishing partnerships to work together with others in fighting invasive plants. These agreements can create highly effective continuing partnerships, developing strategies and dealing with long-term invasive species problems.

CISMAs allow invasive species management to be carried out across ecological, rather than political, boundaries. They allow partners to share resources, expenses, knowledge, contacts and education. They often follow an early detection, rapid response plan, and can work to make sure all partners are aware of the invaders. CISMAs can also help attain funding; often there is federal and state funding and grant funding available for groups that work together.

These groups require no formal certification and are organized in a variety of ways. The six basic characteristics of a CWMA/CISMA are:

  • They operate within a defined geographic area distinguished by a common geography, weed problem, community, climate, political boundary or land use.
  • They involve a broad cross-section of landowners and natural resource managers within the CWMA boundaries.
  • They are governed by a steering committee.
  • They have a long-term commitment to cooperation, usually through a formal agreement among partners.
  • They have a comprehensive plan that addresses the management of invasive species within their boundaries.
  • They facilitate cooperation and coordination across jurisdictional boundaries.

CISMA organizations are being established throughout the nation. They originally started in the West as farmers and ranchers tried to combine their resources to help reduce their invasive species problems. The organizations are becoming increasingly popular as the successes of these partnerships are realized.

CISMAs work toward these common goals:

  • Education
  • Prevention
  • Early Detection and Rapid Response
  • Monitoring
  • Integrated Pest Management

For more information about creating a CISMA, see: CWMA Cookbook: Recipe for Success

Why is it important for a CISMA to have a website?

Creating a website for a CISMA organization can be extremely beneficial to the group. It can help build awareness of the problems of invasive species, engage the target audience, allow people to contact the organization, help build support, help educate the public about the organization's goals and serve as a base for communication.

A website can serve as a center of communication for members and non-members of the CISMA. It helps to build public awareness of the organization, which is important for any group. Websites can help recruit volunteers and funding for the CISMA by providing information on projects and contact information for the leaders of the organization. The site can also include items such as calendars, social networking links and updates.

Step 1: What do I need to start a website?

There are several things an organization needs before producing a website:

cisma logo river to river logo
The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area and the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area are two good examples of CISMA logos.
  • A group name
  • A tag line/mission statement
  • Group goals/interests
  • Contact information
  • A logo
  • A color scheme

A group name is a unique name identifying a local, regional, national or global group. The name should not be identical
to any other group name and can be a combination of upper and lowercase characters. A group name should also pertain to the organization and possibly even location or area. The availability of a website address can sometimes affect the group name.

A tag line is a slogan or a phrase that visually conveys the most important attribute or benefit the organization wishes to convey. In the case of the CISMA, this is often the mission statement. The mission statement should be a short statement (one sentence or less) that defines your partnership. An example of a tag line is, "think locally, act neighborly."

Goals of the organization are the desired or needed result that the group wishes to achieve. Goals are broad in scope and lay out the long-term vision of the organization. This allows the organization to provide more detail and is a good future planning tool. As your CISMA develops and refines a strategic plan and/or work plan, that information can also be included or linked with these goals.

Contact information is essential, and must be correct and updated as needed. This is the way audiences will get in touch with the organization, and having broken links or incorrect information can lead to a poor reputation and a lack of interest in the group. Contact information should consist of a name or names, telephone number, fax number (if available), e-mail and mailing address.

A logo is a recognizable and distinctive graphic design or unique symbol used for identifying an organization. A logo promotes instant public recognition for the organization and allows for a consistent message and communication to audiences. A logo should look good in large format, such as on a billboard, and also be clear in small format, such as on business cards or the side of an ink pen.

A main color scheme should be chosen to represent the organization before starting a website. Just like the colors for professional sports teams, these colors should represent the organization and help pull together the image you are trying to achieve.

Step 2: Domain name and host

Domain name and registration

Coming up with a domain name, registering it and finding a place to host a website are essential beginning steps.

domain registration Network Solutions® allows users to check and register for domain names.

A domain name is the address to a website; it is how people will find a site they are looking for. It should include part of an organization's name or an acronym of the name; for example is the website for the University of Georgia. There are three major things to consider when coming up with a domain name: it should be short, descriptive and memorable. If all three cannot be attained, focusing on short and memorable is essential.

One important thing to consider when coming up with a domain name is how people will find it. When people don't know the exact web address for the site they are looking for, they will usually search for it in a search engine such as Google® or Bing®. This is why it is important to include part of the CISMA's name or an acronym in the domain name. Making a list of several variations of names that pertain to the CISMA's is a great way to get ideas for a domain name.

A domain name extension is the last part of the domain name that must also be chosen. There are many options for domain name extensions, the most common being .com, .net and .org. All three are available for anyone to use, although .com is the most common and .org is intended for non-profit organizations.

Checking for the availability of a domain name is important. Sites like and offer the ability to quickly check the availability of a domain name. offers a unique option that allows users to type in a couple of words that go along with an organization name and it gives a list of options for domain names that are available.

Once a name is decided on, it must be registered. There are numerous places to register domains; is one example.

Hosting services

A web hosting service allows people and organizations to have their own website available through the World Wide Web. The hosting service stores all website files and allows them to be available on the Web 24/7.

A hosting service is needed to upload or publish pages to once the website design is completed. and are commercial options for web hosting. The University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health hosts many websites and may be able to host a website for your group.

Step 3: Things to consider

When setting up a website, there are several characteristics to consider:

Everglades CISMA The Everglades CISMA is a great example of a website that has simplicity, credibility, usability and accessibility.
  • Simplicity
  • Credibility
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Website simplicity - Does the website deliver a simple, clean, uncomplicated and straightforward message? A simple web layout is always preferable because it is easy to understand and interpret, gives the site a professional look and feel and makes for quicker downloads. We tend to quickly scan websites to get a good idea about the site instead of reading all of the material on the screen.
Simple websites are easy to scan, easy on the eyes, easy to maintain and save the web user's time.

Most of the content in a website is fixed; for example, an organization's goals and objectives, contact information, information about the organization, sponsors and so on. News, blogs and calendar of events change often and can be automatically updated using built-in tools. Consider what information can be static and what will need to be updated regularly. These items will be discussed later in this publication.

Website credibility - How confident is the user about the content of the website? Today, Internet users must be careful with what they read and believe due to the large amount of "trash" out there. Examples of features that provide website credibility include overall visual appeal, search engines, good depth and quality of information, newsfeeds, correct grammar, and a privacy policy statement.

Website usability – How easy is it for users to navigate throughout a website? Not only should everything work correctly, but users should also be able to quickly and easily make use of the site. This is important to understand because when users get lost or cannot use the website successfully, they leave and rarely return.

Web accessibility – Does your site provide accessibility features for the disabled? Disabilities may include visual, auditory and motor, so keep this in mind when designing the site. Make sure the fonts are not too small, and that images have descriptions to help verbalize the image for users with vision disabilities. Users with auditory disabilities are less likely to have problems using the site, but keep them in mind when uploading videos or using sound. If the information is important, provide alternate text to make the information accessible to anyone. People with motor disabilities may have problems using a mouse or keyboard, so remember this when making buttons or links, and make sure they are big enough that anyone can click on them.

Step 4: What should a CISMA website include?

A CISMA website should be a center for communication. It should promote the group, educate those interested in the organization and serve as a link between the members.

The River to River Cooperative Weed website The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area website is an example of what a CISMA website should include.

The site should include:

  • An "About Us" section
  • The organization's name
  • Main goals and objectives
  • Contact information
  • A newsfeed
  • A calendar of events
  • Maps/location
  • Partners/Sponsors
  • Success stories
  • Group meeting reports
  • Publications and presentations
  • Social networking tools

The About Us page is a quick way to provide visitors to the site with information about the organization. The page should include who the organization is, its main goals and objectives and what is being done to achieve these goals.

Contact information is extremely important on a website because it allows the CISMA to be responsive to the suggestions and needs of the target audience. Contact information includes: names of committee leaders, phone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses and a mailing address for the organization.

Including newsfeeds and a calendar of events are excellent tools to use in a website. Google calendar is one example. It is already set up, can be displayed on the website and people can save events to their personal calendars. Newsfeeds can be created using built-in tools like blogs, Twitter® or Facebook®. These are a terrific way to keep members and viewers up to date.

A map or location page will let people know where the group is working and how large or small the problem area is. This will allow for a visual representation of the invasive species problem and its location. People may be surprised to discover they live in the middle of a problem area, or live in or near a problem area. The map/location page should also represent the species of interest and/or areas of interest to help educate the public about efforts to eradicate or control an invasive species in their area.

Partners and sponsors should be visible on the website. In addition to promoting the sponsors and partners, people may perceive the project as having higher value to the community because they see others supporting it. Plus, members like to see their organization logo on websites.

Success stories can also be a great way to get people to believe in the project and create credibility for the website/organization. Highlighting the hard work and determination of the CISMA members shows appreciation for their efforts and keeps everyone fighting to achieve the common goal.

Publications and presentations should also be included in the website to educate the public on invasive species issues and current topics. These may be items produced by the organization itself or from other CISMAs. A page with reports from the group's meetings can also keep people up to date on group projects as they are progressing. This is a great source of information for people not yet involved in the project as well as people already involved who may have missed the last meeting or work day.

Step 5: Homepage

The website homepage is the most important page on the website because it gets more views than any other page. Not only does the homepage drive the design of the entire site, but it is also the gateway allowing users to split into different directions based on their interests.

homepage The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health's homepage is a good example what should be included on your website homepage.

The design of the homepage must be clear and have a purpose. In a matter of seconds a user can have a clear understanding or be completely lost. The organization must explain who they are and what they do in a clear and concise way. This is why the logo, tagline/mission and "About Us" are so critical and must be easily seen on the website homepage.

The organization's logo should be placed in the upper left corner of the homepage. The eye automatically travels here first and the organization's name should be the first thing visitors see. The logo should also be large enough to catch the readers' eye, but not so large that it is distracting. The tagline/mission should be near the logo. This will allow the user to get a short glimpse of what the organization is about and trying to achieve.

An "About Us" and "Contact Us" area should be visible on the homepage, and can either be a link that takes you to this information or typed out (with no link). These are the two most important pieces of information on a website and should always be included.

A search box should be placed at the top of the body of the homepage. This allows users to quickly search the organization's website for specific topics and information. Being at the top also makes it easy to find and see.

The homepage should also include links to high priority tasks the organization is involved with. If the task is of great importance, chances are the user is trying to find out information about the task. Having a link on the homepage makes quick and easy access to the information.

Finally, the homepage should include examples to reveal the site's content and should consist of headers. These can also be known as teasers. They utilize the same concept magazines use by providing bits of information on the cover about exciting stories inside the magazine. They draw the reader's eye by providing catchy headers and give the readers a highlight of what is inside. Viewers tend to scan information since they are busy and simply lack the time to browse an entire website. But when they see something of interest they will continue to search the website and look for the article.

Step 6: Creating the website

There are many ways to go about creating a site, including using a template, creating the site from scratch and having it done professionally. For those who do not have much knowledge about Web design, we recommend using a template.

Templates can be found online. There are both free templates available and templates to purchase, and most Web development programs come with some basic templates to use. We have also provided a template for a CISMA website that is available on the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health website at We recommend using this template because it is free and, with a little knowledge, can be transformed into a site that will do everything an organization needs.

extracting files This screen shows how to extract the downloaded folder.

A Web development program is required to edit a template; there are several programs available ranging from free to expensive professional versions. Adobe Dreamweaver® is one program you could use. It costs around $400, but is the most widely used software. It can be purchased at Two other programs that are less expensive are Web page maker®, which is around $50, and can be purchased at and Kompozer®, which is available to download for free at

We recommended that you do not use Microsoft FrontPage® to edit a template. This software is not as versatile or accurate as other programs and is no longer supported by Microsoft®.

Templates are downloadable and will be in a zipped folder. Once downloaded, the folder will need to be extracted or unzipped. The folder will contain files that include the basic template as well as images and attachments. It may also contain a couple of different templates; one to be used for the homepage and one to be used for all other pages in the site.

These files can then be opened in the Web software chosen. Once opened, they can be edited. Within the template, colors can be changed, logos, graphics and pictures added and text added and changed.

Step 7: Saving and naming files for the Web

saving files This screen shows how to save and name your files.

How files are named and saved is very important for the Web. When editing a template, the editing program creates a code that the server reads to display the site on the Web. Spaces in file names are not recognized by the code, and may cause distortion or files to not show up. So, when saving anything that may be used in a website, do not use spaces; instead, use an underscore. For example, instead of naming a file or folder 'your domain,' name it 'your_domain.' Using short file and folder names is also best.

When saving files for the website, everything needs to be well organized. Create a main folder for the site and within it have a folder for images or attachments and a folder for original documents. Save all Web pages in the main folder. The homepage for the site should be named index.html, and all other pages will link to it.

Step 8: Publishing the site

Once the site is completely designed and ready for viewing, it has to be published. This takes the design from a computer onto the hosting provider's server where it will be available on the Web. All three of the editing programs recommended have publishing capabilities. They all require FTP (File Transfer Protocol) information in order to publish a site. FTP information is provided by a hosting provider.

All three programs should be similar in publishing a site. The first step is to create a file in the site manager. Open the site manager and click "create new site." You will then be taken into a series of questions similar to the following:

  • Do you want to work with a server technology like ColdFusion,
      No - This option is for advanced developers with specialized software

  • How do you want to work with your files during development?
      Edit local copies on my machine, then upload to server when ready.

  • upload This screen shows steps on uploading and publishing your website.
  • Where on your computer do you want to store your files?
      Enter the path to the folder where you have stored your website.

  • How do you connect to your remote server?

  • What is the hostname to your remote server?

  • What folder on the server do you want to store your files in?
      This field can be left blank.

  • What is your FTP login?
      Username used to login to your hosting account.

  • What is your FTP password?
      Password used to login to your hosting account.

Click "test connection" to make sure the program can connect with your server. If there is a problem, check that all FTP information is correct. This information is provided by a hosting service when hosting is purchased.

publishing This screen shows how to upload and publish your website.
  • Do you want to enable checking in and checking out files to ensure that you cannot edit the same file at the same time?
      No, do not enable check in and check out.

To upload and publish the site, click on the site folder. When it is highlighted, click the blue arrow or the upload button. This may take a few minutes. Once it is complete, the site should be available for viewing at the web address you have set up for your website (see Step 2 - Domain Name).

Publishing the site after it has been edited or updated should be quick and easy. Open the site manager, click on the site folder, and the information should be saved. Click the blue arrow or publish button and the site will upload and be updated.

Step 9: Promoting the website

Promoting a website is extremely important and can be done in many ways, including e-mail and print marketing, listserves, social networking, submitting the site to search engines and getting partners to link to the site.

Pest Alert Everglades CISMA Pest Alert is a great example of promoting your website and keeping the audience informed.

E-mail marketing and newsletters are an increasingly popular trend. It is an inexpensive tool and a great way to promote a website. Newsletters, updates and promotions can be sent to people or other organizations that may be of interest in the group. and are two examples of email marketing and communication services that help manage your needs from start to finish. They are easy to use, provide assistance and offer templates. Pricing varies with these two companies. My Emma is based on send volume with an unlimited contact list, while Constant Contact is based on the number of email addresses with unlimited send volume. Discounts are offered to non-profit groups and pre-pay accounts.

Fliers, postcards, mailers, brochures, posters and signage are other good ways to promote the organization's website. Always include the logo, tagline, contact information and website address on all promotional material. Social networking sites and blogs not only provide a terrific source of news can provide updates, but they can also assist in the promotion of the organization. The more a site is mentioned on the Web, whether it is in a social network or a blog, the more visible the site will be. If a viewer reads a blog that mentions the group, they may be intrigued to view the site and learn more about the CISMA. Developing a fan page on Facebook is another fast and easy way to promote the organization.

submit site Google submit form shows how to submit your site to search engines to help promote your website.

Getting partners to link to your site is one of the most important ways to increase traffic to the site. There may be other CISMAs within the county or state that are working towards a similar goal. Asking these groups to add a link to your site on their site can significantly increase traffic to your site.

Submitting the site to search engines can be an excellent way to promote the site. Submitting a site is a free tool that search engines offer, and it increases the likelihood that your site will rank higher in search results. A simple web search of your favorite search engine is the best way to find links to submit your URL.

All of these marketing tools will aid in promoting your organization and get traffic to your website. Be sure to always think of different ways to reach your target audience and better inform the public.

Step 10: Maintaining the site

By now, the site is up and running and feedback is needed. This is a good way to get first-time viewers' perspective and advice on how to make the Website more user-friendly. Friends, family, group members and even strangers are good to get feedback from. You want them to be honest so you can make the site the best it can be. Ask if the site is easy to navigate and understand. Does it include all the information they were looking for? Does it convey the appropriate image the group is trying to achieve?

Once the feedback is in, simple changes may need to be made. The site may need to be polished. Maybe the text was too lengthy or the colors chosen made it look busy or hard to read. Making small changes like these can dramatically assist the site. It needs to be attractive and easy to navigate for a wide range of people.

As time elapses, things will change and updates will need to be made. There is nothing worse than looking for information on a Website to find out it was last updated in 1999. The site will need to be revised, refreshed and refined on a continuous basis.

This can be a lot of work, but to lighten the workload, make as much of the site as possible static when designing it. The information included on the pages should last for a while without having to be changed. This can be where social networking tools and blogging are very useful.

Use social networks to keep the site up to date. Twitter or blog about the success of the last work day or add reminders of an upcoming meeting. Use the Google calendar tool to update events. Links and live feeds of these tools can be added to a site, making them easy to find for users and visitors.

Using these tools can help eliminate a lot of unnecessary work, but occasionally the site will still need to be updated, like when a new committee is chosen or the contact information need to be changed. The process of revising the site is the same as building it: open up the pages in the editing software and make whatever changes need be made and publish the site.

Social networking and tools for the site

Google Calendar

Google calendar is an excellent tool to incorporate into a website. It allows users to share schedules. If all committee leaders use Google calendar, it will be easy to see when everyone is available to schedule meetings or events. It can be synced to a desktop application such as Microsoft Outlook or to a cell phone's calendar so it is available when you're away from the computer and allows event reminders to be sent by e-mail or text message. It also can send e-mail invitations for an event.


YouTube can be a helpful tool for adding videos to a site. Take video of an exciting guest speaker at a meeting or of people volunteering and working at a work day and download the video to YouTube to be added to the site. For visual learners this can be a great source.

Facebook page Everglades CISMA Facebook page


Facebook can be a useful resource for an organization. There are two ways to get an organization on Facebook: making a fan page or making a group. The two are similar, and both offer the ability to make and customize a profile, add updates and control who can see the site. We recommend using a fan page. A fan page offers a couple of features a group does not. When someone joins a group fan page it is posted on that person's wall and anytime something new is posted on the site it puts an update on all fans' personal pages. This allows much more exposure than a group because every time something is posted on a fan's wall, all of their friends can see it, making the fan page noticeable and accessible.



Twitter has a lot of similar characteristics to Facebook, but offers several differences as well. Like Facebook, a person or group makes a page on Twitter, offering pictures and information about themselves. Both are based on a simple idea of keeping in touch and knowing what is going on with friends. Twitter, however, is based solely on a concept of "what's happening." Twitter limits all messages or updates to less than 140 characters. Like having friends on Facebook, people can join a group on Twitter and get their "tweets." Twitter also offers a search capability, so if someone searches for a topic including invasive species, any "tweet" on a group's page that mentions invasive species will come up. This brings a lot of exposure and a good reason to update often. "Tweet" updates are listed in order, starting with the newest "tweets." It is also easy to add your Twitter feed to your website.


River to River blog River to River CWMA Blog page

Blogging is a helpful way to update and share information without adding information to or updating the site. Blogs can be set up to allow multiple people to add to the blog, possibly all leaders of the organization can have access to add information and news to the blog. Pictures and videos can be added directly into the blog and it is easy to update from day to day. This makes it a great source for news; adding updates from meetings, work days or updates to the progress of the project are all great things to add to the blog. Blogs allow a more personal touch, allowing site visitors an inside view or personal connection to the organization. Blogger ( is one resource to use when setting up a blog. It is free, easy to use and is associated with Google; therefore, one Google account can access Blogger, Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Apps, making it easy to access and transfer responsibilities over to new members.


EDDMaps EDDMapS homepage

EDDMapS is a useful tool to add to a CISMA site; it is an Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System and is helping to fight invasive species on a large scale. The site allows users to map an invasive species, then treat or remove it and map it again, working to create maps that show the big picture of invasive species problems. The site has over 1,000 invasive plant species listed; clicking on a certain species brings up information and a map of where it has been located. It also offers a resource of knowledge for educators and researchers that will help win the overall battle with invasive species. This information is a useful tool to help educate. EDDMapS can be easily linked to your website — see the EDDMapS about page at for more information.

Instructions for accessing and using Google Gmail, Calendar and Blogger

Google Calendar Figure 1. Google Calendar on FISP website


Gmail, Google Calendar and Blogger are all owned by Google®, and in order to use these programs you will need a Google Apps account or a Gmail account.

If one person will be handling the blog, emails and calendar, a Gmail account is all that is needed. Google Apps allows more users to contribute to and use the calendar, blog and emails.

The main benefit for using the Gmail or Google Apps account is consistency. By having a unique and consistent publicly available email address, the CISMA won’t have to worry about continually updating their website with a new email address when there’s a change in membership; instead, the Gmail address can be forwarded to the responsible party’s current email program or website.

Google Apps

In order to access the various Google applications, you must first create a login. The URL is Select "get started" and follow the prompts it gives you to set up an account. If you’re using a Gmail account to access these apps, you can find links to the apps at the top of your inbox.

Google Apps Start Page Figure 2. Google Apps Start Page

Using Google Calendar

calendar etiquette

You can access Google calendar either from the start page (as shown in Figure 2), or by selecting the "Calendar" link located in the top left corner of most pages in Google Apps.

You have several options for displaying the calendar. By selecting one of the tabs to the top right of the calendar, it can be displayed in Day, Week, Month, 4 Days or Agenda form. In addition, you can view other calendars alongside your calendar by typing in the name of the group in "Other Calendars" located to the left of the calendar.

Creating an Event

There are several ways to create an event:

  1. Click and type to create an event
    Click on the day you’d like to create a new event. If the event spans over an hour, click and drag. Type the title and event time for your new event in the box. Finally, click "Create Event" to publish the event to your calendar immediately, or click "edit event details" to add more description.

  2. google calendar add event
  3. Create an event using the "Quick Add" feature
    Click on "Quick Add," then enter your info. For example: First Coast: Spring Meeting at Canaveral National Seashore on 3/20/2009 from 9-11 am. This will automatically/intelligently create an event with all the correct (What, When, Where) information. For more tips on creating events with the "Quick Add" feature, please visit Google’s "What’s the ‘Quick Add’ feature?"

  4. Create an event using the "Create Event" link
    Just click on "Create Event" in the left column of your calendar. This will bring you to a page where you can enter as much information as you’d like about your event. On this page, you can also add guests, change a reminder setting, and publish your event to other users. Once you’ve entered the appropriate information and selected the desired settings, make sure to click "Save."

For additional information on the numerous calendar features please visit the Google Calendar Help Center at

Adding Attachments to a Calendar Event

google calendar add attachment Figure 3. Calendar Attachment location in Event Details Page

As mentioned in #3 above, there are numerous features available for a calendar event. One feature is adding attachments to a calendar event.

In Google Calendar, attachments first must be uploaded to Google Docs. You can access Google Docs from the Start Page (Figure 2) or from the "Document" link located at the upper left hand corner of any other Google web page (Figure 4).

Then documents can be attached at the time you add details for the event (Figure 3).

Google Documents Figure 4. Google Document Webpage

To upload a document to Google Docs, select the upload button and follow the instructions on the upload screen. Please note that there are two main issues with Google Docs:

  1. Limited file size and types: Google limits the file sizes and types (Word, pdf, Excel…). The upload screen details the limits.

  2. Uploading Microsoft Excel, Word & PowerPoint files converts them to a Google document format. An individual viewing the calendar event and opening the document will be directed to a webpage where they can view the document and then, if they wish, save the document to the original format on their computer.

Using Gmail

Gmail Figure 5. Gmail screen with message and showing location of label features

To access Gmail from Google Apps, as shown in Figure 2, select Email. That will take you to the Gmail page. The use of Gmail is, for the most part, like any other email program but with one main difference: There are no folders; instead Gmail uses labels. Every message has the ability to have one or more labels associated with it. Think of them as categories. The use of labels for organization greatly assists with filtering and finding messages.

In Figure 5, when you have a message open, you can click the label button to assign and/or create new labels. In this example, it has the labels "FISP," "GPS" and "lygodium." In addition, use the "Move to" drop-down menu if you want to apply a label to a message and take it out of the inbox at the same time.

Using Gmail with other email applications

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) can be used to setup Gmail on another email client (e.g., Microsoft Outlook). IMAP creates a mirrored version of the emails and labels on your other email program. Messages will be sent to Outlook, for example, but they will also remain in Gmail. In addition, labels created in Gmail will appear as folders in Outlook and vice-versa. Using the IMAP setting also ensures that if another person in the CISMA is given the responsibility of managing the Gmail account, they will have access to all the old emails.

There is a possibility that your employer may block adding a new email address to your client. If blocked, use one of the other two choices explained below.

If you wish to access your Gmail from another email program such as Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, iphone, etc., you’ll need to change the settings in Gmail. To do this:

  1. Select "Settings" (located in the upper right of the Gmail screen).
  2. Select the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab.

To select IMAP, first determine if your email client is supported by Gmail by selecting the "Configuration
Instructions" link. If it is supported:

  1. On the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" page, click the "Enable IMAP" radio button in the "IMAP Access" box.
  2. Then select the "Configuration Instructions" link to set up the account in your email client. Please note that the Outlook 2007 instructions are not accurate. Alternate instructions are provided at the end of this document.

If your email is not supported by Gmail for IMAP use, or blocked by your employer, then you have two other choices:

Forwarding and POP/IMPA Figure 6. Locations of "Forwarding and POP/IMPA" options for Gmail
  1. Use Gmail solely through the web browser.
  2. Forward all email.
    Forwarding all emails will leave all incoming emails in Gmail; however, any replies on another email client will not be saved in Gmail. There are two options to correct this: The first is to remember to CC or BCC any replies back to your account, or set up a rule in your email client that any replies to an email from your Gmail account will automatically CC or BC your account. In addition, your replies will be coming from your local email address, and not from

Using Blogger

To set up a blog using Blogger, go to and sign in with your Google account to create a blog.


Creating the blog

name blog Figure 7. Creating a blog – Name your blog service

Once signed into blogger, you will be taken to your dashboard. Here you can view active blogs and create new blogs.

In the dashboard select "create your blog now." Insert the title of your blog and the blog address, which is, and select "check for availability." If your name is not available you may have to choose something different. It will then direct you to choose a template, which you will be able to edit or change later.

Once you have created the blog it takes you to create a post. From this page you can also change settings and layout.

Layout edit screen Figure 8. Layout edit screen


Click the "settings" tab in the top left corner of the page. Here you can change various settings of the blog, including: publishing, formatting, comments, archiving, site feed, email and mobile, and permissions.

newpost Figure 9. Creating a new post screen


Click the layout tab to add and arrange page elements, change fonts and colors or pick a new template.

Creating a Post

To post a new blog click the posting tab. Insert a title for the post and insert the text. In the posting window you can change font, colors and add images or videos to the post.

Click "Post Options" at the bottom left of the text box to change reader comment settings or date and time and click "publish post" to finish.

You can also edit posts, create and edit pages and moderate comments in the posting tab.


A website can be extremely beneficial to a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area. It serves as a base for communication, helps build awareness of the problems of invasive species, engages the target audience, and helps build organizational knowledge and support.

We hope that the information included in this publication is a useful tool that gives you a good overview of creating a website and what should be included. The information included in this publication has been gathered by participants in successful CISMAs and websites. It should be used as a guideline for those wishing to create a website for their CISMA. Different circumstances may require you to modify the order or details of the steps. It is important to remember to be flexible and do what works best for your organization to achieve long-term goals.

Creating a website is not an easy task. It requires hard work, time, effort and commitment; however, if done
Correctly, it help your CISMA reap great rewards.


The authors wish to thank Chris Evans, River to River CWMA; Kate Howe, Midwest Invasive Plant Network; Bill Thomas, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Erin Myers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Kristina Serbesoff-King, Nature Conservancy; Dave Moorhead, University of Georgia; and Karan Rawlins, University of Georgia, for their review and helpful comments on this publication.

Funding for development of this publication was provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Bargeron, C.T., J.E. Griffin, C.E. Barlow, and M.A. King. 2010. CISMA/CWMA Website Cookbook. The
University of Georgia, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. Tifton, GA. BW-2010-14. 25 p.

Photo Credits

Top Row:
Laurel wilt, Raffaelea lauricola. Photo by Ronold F. Billings, Texas Forest Service.
Muliflora rose, Rosa multiflora. Photo by James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service.
Kudzu, Pueraria montana var. lobata. Photo by James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service.
Burmese python, Phython molurus. Photo by Pat Lynch, South Florida Water Management District.

Bottom Row:
Egyptian geese, Alopochen aegyptiacus. Photo by Andrea Atkinson, National Park Service.
Japanese climbing fern, Lygodium japonicum. Photo by Ronold F. Billings, Texas Forest Service.
Wild hog, Sus scrofa. Photo by National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Yellow starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis. Photo by Mary Ellen Harte,

cisma logo
Utilizing partnerships and information technology to
advance invasive species, forestry and agriculture education.

For more information, contact:
Chuck Bargeron, Information Technology Director
P.O. Box 748 – 4601 Research Way
Tifton, GA 31793
Phone: (229) 386-3298

Status and Revision History
Published on Dec 10, 2010
Published with Full Review on Dec 31, 2013
Published with Full Review on Sep 14, 2016

Charles T. Bargeron Public Service Associate, Entomology
Have a question? Contact your local UGA Extension office to find out how our team of county agents can assist you.
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