New site creation and activation checklist



Welcome to FirstVoices! The FirstVoices team is excited to support you in your language revitalization mission to create an online archive and learning environment for your Indigenous language.

In order for your brand new FirstVoices site to be created, you will need to decide on some basic details such as the name and URL for the site and confirm them with the FirstVoices development team. You will also need to set up user accounts for all your team members. This tutorial will walk you through the steps.

To get started creating and activating your language site, you will need to be in contact with the FirstVoices development team at This is also the best place to contact for technical support and help using We look forward to hearing from you and are always happy to assist!



Sample timeline

If you begin your program work in mid-September:

  • Stage 1 (end of September): Initial creation of the FirstVoices site and user accounts can be completed in 1 week.

  • Stage 2 (October-January): Filling the site with a starter alphabet, homepage, and content could take around 4 months.

  • Community sharing (February-May): You can plan to launch your site and have an initial community sharing event anytime after this, e.g. February-May.


Stage 1: Initial site creation

Confirm your language site name and URL


  1. With your team or community, choose the name of your FirstVoices site.

  2. With your team or community, choose the URL for your FirstVoices site. The URL-friendly name must:

    • Have no special characters (only standard alphanumeric: a-z, 0-9)

    • Be all lower case

    • Only use hyphens (no underscores, no slashes, no spaces, etc.)

  3. Email the FirstVoices development team at to submit the name and URL you have chosen for your new site.


Example site names:

The name of your language site will be displayed when people search for your language on FirstVoices. It will also be shown at the top of your main homepage.


Register for FirstVoices accounts and roles

Every member of the language team who will be active on the FirstVoices site will need to create a FirstVoices user account.


  1. Go to the FirstVoices homepage and click on "Sign In / Register".

  1. Click on the link that says "Sign up".

  1. Fill out the account registration page with the information you would like to share. You will need to enter your email address to complete registration.

  2. When you have filled out all of the required fields, click "Sign up".

  3. Check your email. You will be emailed a link to set your password. This should be done as soon as possible as the link will expire.


The team will also need to decide what roles they will have on the team. At least one person will need to be designated as the Language Administrator, who will have full permissions to edit content and manage membership on the language site.


  1. Read about the team roles on FirstVoices: Language Administrator, Editor, and Assistant.

  2. Create a list of all team members, their account email addresses, and the correct FirstVoices role.

  3. Submit the list of members, emails, and roles to FirstVoices staff at

Your accounts will be linked to the language site with the correct role(s).



Stage 2: Add content to your language site

Prepare and submit your language alphabet

New sites will need to design and prepare the alphabet that they will use to write their language content. FirstVoices hosts custom, interactive alphabets with many useful and interesting features built into your language site such as an interactive letter-pronunciation page, custom alphabetization, approximate searching, and alphabet-related games. In order to make all of these features functional, we need some information about your writing system and recordings of the sounds that each character represents.

Follow the instructions here on: How to design and submit your language site alphabet.



Your FirstVoices homepage must have a custom logo. If your community does not already have a representative logo, this could be an opportunity to work with a community artist to design one. It is important that you have the rights to use the logo on your site.


  1. Identify the appropriate logo to use, or commission one with an artist.

  2. Collect a high-quality JPG or PNG image file of the logo.

  3. Login to your FirstVoices site as a Language Administrator.

  4. Read this article and follow the listed instructions: Add the logo to your homepage



Design your language site homepage

To launch your language site, the basic requirement is that the site homepage is not blank. Other custom pages linked in the top navigation (e.g. “Our Language”, “Our People”) should also not be blank.


  1. Determine what information you wish to share on your FirstVoices site.

  2. Write the text that you want to upload to your FirstVoices site.

  3. Capture or obtain any important images or video that you wish to feature on the site (such as a banner or other key image)

  4. Add information to the Our Language and Our People pages

  5. Review your site homepage.

  6. Review your site to ensure that all links listed in the top navigation have some basic content.



Upload starter language content

Before launching your language site, FirstVoices staff recommends that the team begin with a few test uploads to get used to the upload process and to ensure that the first visitor to your language site has something to find. This can be a small amount of content, such as 25 words or 2 songs.

Find tutorials for adding content:

Choose between a Public or Members-only site

When activating your language site, you must decide whether you would like to be activated as a Members-only site, only accessible to registered FirstVoices users approved by your team, or as a Public site that anyone can access.

  • Public sites: are visible on the Explore Languages page, any user can visit the homepage, any user can view public content without logging in

  • Members-only sites: are visible on the Explore Languages page with a locked icon, users must request to join and be approved by a Language Administrator before they can view the homepage or any content

Public sites can also designate any amount of their language content as “Members-only”. The homepage and public content are visible without logging in, but the members-only content can only be seen if a user is logged in and approved by the Language Administrator. Read more here about who can see your language entries.

Pros/cons list

Here are some different options tried by various FirstVoices teams, along with possible pros/cons:







List your site as Public immediately and indefinitely

  • Public sites have the most visibility on FirstVoices and are the most accessible.

  • Community members will not need a login or have to wait on receiving approval to view the site.

  • “Set it and forget it” – Your site transitions in one step and you can focus on adding content.

  • If you wish to designate some content as members-only and some as public, you will have both access levels available right away.

  • The general public can view the site even while it does not contain much content.

  • Not appropriate if you want your entire site to be a restricted, community-only space.

List your site as Members-only immediately and indefinitely

  • The best option in scenarios where your team or community strongly believe that the general public should not have access to any language content or even the homepage.

  • Suitable when your team wishes to actively moderate the users who can view the language content.

  • “Set it and forget it” – Your site transitions in one step and you can focus on adding content.

  • Higher barrier to entry for community members because they will require a FirstVoices login and password.

  • FirstVoices mobile language apps are not available for Members-only content.

  • A language administrator will need to commit to monitor membership requests for the entire lifetime of the language site, otherwise users in 5 years will not be able to get access.

Begin by listing as a Members-only site while getting started, then transition to Public at a later time.

  • The general public can't view the site while it is under construction or has very little content; your team has time to upload more or make revisions before a public launch.

  • Your team can approve a few members for private testing/feedback purposes before it is made available to the general public.

  • Once you make the second transition to Public, you gain the other benefits of that status (e.g. user accessibility).

  • Community members may see the site on FirstVoices while it is Members-only and be confused why it is restricted, or try to gain access during the temporary private period.

  • After the site transitions to Public, you may have to manually review the content to sort out which should be marked Public and which should stay Members-only.

  • Requires a two-step process where you will have to come back to FirstVoices staff to request the transition to Public. Your team may wish to procrastinate on this step until the site or content is "perfect" – avoid this by setting a clear milestone and evaluating progress regularly!



Final steps for launch

Review the site activation checklist

Your site has been created
At least 1 Language Administrator has been designated
An alphabet is uploaded to the site (submit to
A logo is uploaded to the site homepage
The homepage has some content - is not blank
All pages available in the top navigation have some content - they are not blank (e.g. Our People, Our Language)
Your site has a starter amount of language content (Example: 25 words/phrases, a song, or a story)
You have chosen Public or Members-only status for your site


Contact the FirstVoices team for launch

  1. The Language Administrator should email to request launch.

  2. Indicate the name of your site and the desired status (Public vs Members-only).

  3. The FirstVoices team will activate your site! Congrats!