We're going over ways to make a profitable website to support your green business. Our current solution of choice is Drupal, which "comes with" a number of out-of-the box "modules" to extend the core functionality of being able to update pages and posts.
During your website "core functionality" phase, you usually identify some functionality you'd like to have for your website — these are modules you use to engage your community and create ways for your website visitors to "sign up" and feel more loyal to your brand.
For example, a partial list includes:
1) User points
Users get "points" for participating on the website, for example, if they post a review. These points may then 'translate' into real-world discounts or coupons.
2) Private messaging
Send private messaging throughout the site to other users or to staff — you have a web-based "email form" on the site that you can send messages from or to.
3) Member-only content
Certain content may be specified for viewing by logged-in website members only. For example, you may want to offer coupons for members-only — then people have a vested interest in signing up as a member of your website.
This is a fairly new module that integrates with Google Maps and allows you to assign a "map location" to any item on the site. For example, you might want to do user locations or service maps.
5) Facebook-style status updates
Members can "update" their profile with some new status updates. You can offer a display of all the recent activity on the site.
6) Organic Groups
Allow people to join and create "groups" around areas of interest. For example, users may want to self-organize around neighborhood, hobby, interest (knitting, coffee), or identity (Parents, LGBTQ, Green, etc.). Members of Groups then have an ability to create posts, images, and discussion threads.
You can have a regular "forum" style bulletin board with discussion around topics.
8) Member blogs
Blogs are an excellent way to increase search engine optimization on your website. For example, staff might want to show ongoing updates or new items. All of the above contribute to search engine optimization, but blogs are a nice way for logged-in members to feel some "ownership" over their section of the site.
9) Content Profile
It is possible to allow your users to do more extended content profiles. For example, invite people to post their favorite food, favorite movie, astrological sign, etc. This may generate additional user interest in connecting with other members/customers on your website.
Many sites have an ability to show multiple pieces of content in one section. For example: quicktabs allow you to show, magazine-style, the "Top Rated", "Top E-mailed" and "Most Viewed" articles.
11) Front page slideshow
Many sites have a "slideshow" feature on the homepage with the most recent or editor's picks.
12) Calendar functionality
You may want to have a calendar function and allow people to see upcoming events, seminars, webinars, or activities in grid or list format.
I am happy to speak about potential partnership ideas if you have a proposal for a membership site but are looking for a tech partner. We see some very interesting developments in Drupal that will support micro-payments, membership fees, and logged-on member-only content, so if you have a good idea and want to share profits, let's talk @monicadear.
Monica S. Flores of is committed to educating, empowering, and connecting women in business — she believes in the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. She is available for consulting on web development, green business practices, and women in business.