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Author Topic: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please  (Read 8748 times)

Fedorov

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Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« on: October 13, 2008, 06:05:45 PM »
Hey all

A local club I'm involved in needs a new website - we've got a new name agreed this evening so I've purchased the domain.
Now, currently the club has THREE different websites developed over the years by different people and also we have a Yahoo Group so a weekly newsletter can be emailed out to everyone who has joined the group.

I have plenty of web design skills myself but what I don't want is for me or anyone else to build a website up that only that ONE person knows how to update or maintain...

This is where I'm open to suggestions PLEASE :)
My idea was to maybe try blogger.com i.e. the website just needs to be blog based so a select group of us are able to post and moderate it - this would be an excellent easy to use route for getting the latest news about the club out to all visitors of the blog page. Minimum maintenance and you can even post updates onto it from your mobile - worth a look at the features you get here: http://www.blogger.com/features

This way we are avoiding custom written websites where only one person has the knowledge to maintain it.
If you were to post the weekly club notes onto here, it can automatically email it out to multiple email addresses for you so this could also replace the yahoo group as well once up and running.

Can anyone with experience in my "keep it simple" approach suggest anything better than my proposed route - do you see any major flaws in doing it this way?

Just needs to be a simple page (hence the blog concept) with the latest news/postings showing at the top and I presume we can FIX some links down the left or right that visitors can click on to find out about the history of the club, what nights it is on and the location.

Really appreciate some more knowledgeable advice - thank you! :)

Regards

Fedorov.

f0dder

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2008, 08:11:08 PM »
If a blog fits your need, then that's probably the best way to go. I don't know blogger, and whenever 'blog' is mentioned a lot of people start jumping up and down and shout "WordPress! WordPress!" - which is pretty nice and extensible.

So I suggest you give both blogger and WP (and whatever other people might suggest - if you need a simple forum check out Vanilla) a spin on a test setup, see how they each suit you.
- carpe noctem

housetier

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2008, 05:04:06 AM »
blogger.com and its clones (there are too many) are fine if you only want to post news. If you want to do more, Drupal is a CMS I want to suggest.

It does not really matter which CMS you choose though, as long as you can work with it. Wordpress is also much more than just a "blog engine", just like Drupal (which I prefer :D).

Fedorov

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2008, 05:07:47 AM »
Thanks f0dder, I setup a test page with my gmail blogger account last night and so far I think it may do just enough and is certainly very simple for anyone to post to and maintain. I'll check out Vanilla as well. Thanks again.

Housetier, just seen your reply as well, will certainly investigate - is there something out there which explains to me what is different about WordPress compared to what Blogger can do?

superboyac

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2008, 11:22:20 AM »
Hey Fedorov, I recently went through the whole process of setting up a website.  You can follow everything I went through here:
http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=14095.0

And you can check out my website, here:
http://aram.dcmembers.com/

I'm very pleased with the way it has turned out.  I very highly recommend wordpress.

Fedorov

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2008, 11:30:50 AM »
Excellent, thanks a lot! :)

Deozaan

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2008, 01:29:47 PM »
Yeah, I would also recommend WordPress if you think a blog is all you'll need. Since WordPress can be extended with many other features. :Thmbsup:


Fedorov

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2008, 02:35:21 PM »
Blogger allows me to point my newly purchased domain name to my xxxx.blogspot.com page for FREE while WordPress charges $10 per year (I know not a lot)

The main feature I want is if for example I find out tonight that the club is cancelled on Thursday night I need  something prominently displayed as a sticky at the TOP of my blogspot or wordpress page. So with blogspot if I post a "cancellation" blog entry but another 2 people post on the blog AFTER me then this important notice is moved down in chronological order.
Is it a case of finding one of the 100's of widgets that I can lock in the top of the left/right column to highlight such an important notice?

I understand that with Wordpress it doesn't have to be a chronological type blog so it sounds like I can "sticky" this sort of entry to the top easier?

Thanks!

Deozaan

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2008, 02:41:28 PM »
If you already have a hosting plan, you can host WordPress yourself. If not, then $10 a year is pretty good at less than a dollar a month.

There's an extension to Wordpress that will allow you to have a "sticky" at the top of every page.


superboyac

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2008, 03:33:35 PM »
Blogger allows me to point my newly purchased domain name to my xxxx.blogspot.com page for FREE while WordPress charges $10 per year (I know not a lot)

The main feature I want is if for example I find out tonight that the club is cancelled on Thursday night I need  something prominently displayed as a sticky at the TOP of my blogspot or wordpress page. So with blogspot if I post a "cancellation" blog entry but another 2 people post on the blog AFTER me then this important notice is moved down in chronological order.
Is it a case of finding one of the 100's of widgets that I can lock in the top of the left/right column to highlight such an important notice?

I understand that with Wordpress it doesn't have to be a chronological type blog so it sounds like I can "sticky" this sort of entry to the top easier?

Thanks!
Actually, if you use the theme by Justin Tadlock called 'Options" (which is what I use) you have a lot of flexibility built into the theme itself about how to organize the front page.  Meaning, you don't need any plugins.  It's a good idea to keep plugins to a minimum.

Fedorov

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2008, 03:35:30 PM »
Thanks everyone, going to give WordPress my first going over, sounds like I can keep it simple but also a bit more flexible than blogger.

Much appreciated.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2008, 03:42:21 PM »
Another vote for WordPress. Once you have set up the site the way you want it the other thing you light like to consider is Windows Live Writer which allows you to quickly and easily build pages and posts for WordPress. Any registered member can use Live Writer with their own user credentials to create site content and it is pretty easy to use (certainly very easy to enter text and pictures).

superboyac

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2008, 04:13:42 PM »
Windows Live Writer
Whoa, nice!  I didn't know about that.  Can you tell me more about Windows Live Writer?  Is it a way to write posts and easily put all the tags and images and preview them on your own pc before uploading?  That would be really cool.  Sometimes it's a pain to deal with all the tags and all, even though I've optimized it somewhat using snippets in whatever notepad I'm using.

Also, is the code generated by the program pretty clean?  Like not a bunch of unnecessary tags and formatting codes?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 04:15:24 PM by superboyac »

Fedorov

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2008, 04:58:00 PM »
Thanks Carol, I've got an iPhone 3G so I'll probably grab one of the apps from the app store that hooks right into WordPress for posting as well :)

Carol Haynes

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2008, 05:05:39 PM »
Windows Live Writer just allows you to write pages and posts for most common blogs (including WordPress). There is a near WYSIWYG editor where you can enter the text/pictures etc. and use some formatting styles (such as float pictures right or left) - you can also use inline text formatting.

The code looks pretty much similar to the code generated by WordPresses own editor and is lightweight.

You can import your blog style so you can preview the entry before you publish it. You can also post drafts to the website or save a local draft. Drafts on the website means someone else can edit it beofre publishing if you want.

You can add tags etc. and there is some simple style formatting available for pictures (frames, padding and borders etc.).

Best thing to do is download it from www.live.com and give it a whirl with a test WordPress setup.

I have been using WordPress a lot recently with Live Writer for clients. For the computer illiterate there is a little bit of a learning curve but it is fairly quick to learn the basics.

The main problems are the usual web issues for formatting - mainly that the fonts and sizes don't always match your preview so you have to make minor edits afterwards and republish and also check out different browser views of the same page.

Here is an example of a relatively new client website I set up www.pipspatch.com. Pip has been responsible for putting all the content on the site herslef - initially with a bit of support but now she is pretty much managing on her own.

superboyac

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Re: Easy, low maintenance club website recommendations please
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2008, 06:33:08 PM »
Thanks Carol, very useful info.