It seems that it would be a good idea to allow people to see this concept and comment on it.

By the way, please notice that the photos on the top right, rotate — with each refresh of the screen — among the photos we put in the cue.  The ones currently there came from Joe’s and Eric’s personal collections. The cue can be added to or items cycled out completely at will.

So here’s the info about this site. If none of the web technical stuff interests you, or if you don’t understand, then just poke around and see if what’s here seems easy to use, and find what you need.

Obviously, as Eric said, this is a test site, and an opportunity to play a little.  Make comments when you see the opportunity at the bottom of a page.  All comments have to be approved before they appear to the general population. This keeps us from posting spam that nobody wants to see.  The current approve-r for this test site is Kerch McConlogue.

This site is built on a WordPress platform, an open source blog platform that is highly customizable and requires no software resident on any person’s machine. Don’t let the notion of a blog scare you. This site will not be a random list of someone’s thoughts but a well organized collection of the same kinds of categories/information that we currently have, except with a capability to be much more dynamic.

There is navigation at the top of the screen to pretty static pages. Join, contact, about the club etc. The navigation in the middle column to the Categories (we’ll change that name) will yield a list of articles that are coded with those listed topics (and we can add more!).  It’s a sort of “go fish” option:  Show me all the pages that are about Tigers.  Or show me all the Tech Tips. Or show me all the United history stuff.

Possibly the biggest advantage of this site architecture is that once it is set up, no longer will only one or two people be able to add content or make changes. It would be easy to allow the chair of an upcoming United to add content about that event by himself, or, perhaps better, for him to give that responsibility to a committee member.  The President can post his own letter. The newsletter editor could post the final articles himself, without going thru a techie!

In addition, it’s easy to add pictures from any machine and put them right into the article. New pictures can be added with comments by whoever has the appropriate permissions.

Eric asked about photo galleries.  Also pretty easy to do (Joe will write careful instructions on how to do this).

Another big advantage (and depending on how you look at it, maybe biggest) is that search engines love blogs! Each change gets noticed by their robots, so to speak, and new content can appear in the search engine results withing hours rather than maybe weeks. If we want to increase membership, people have to know we exist. This will definitely help. (By the way….  this site is currently invisible to search engines until we are ready to go public.)

Still another advantage is the ability for anyone to subscribe to the site. (See the small orange subscribe square at the top of the page and the the box at the top of the right hand sidebar?) Granted, many members might not understand this concept and won’t use the feature. But by way of short explanation, any person can subscribe to the SITE.  (even non members) Then they will get an email every time new content is added. So if we add information about an upcoming event, or new tech tip, all subscribers — members and non members — will get an email and we get the publicity!

This subscription is separate from the forum — which stay basically the same.  I think SOME forum posts (like the Service Bulletins) should probably be moved for better access by the membership.

The search box in the far right sidebar will allow visitors to search all of the public part of the site (perhaps excluding the forums.. since they have a separate search function).  This makes the site incredibly useful for visitors.  And the more useful the site, the more likely we’ll attract new members and the more valuable the site will be for current members.

So, poke around the site. Find a comment box and add a comment. You’ll find that approvals come pretty quickly — generally within a couple hours.  The delay is because a real person has to look at it!

It’s a big project.  And we’re looking forward to getting started!

Kerch McConlogue