Building a club website

Information, Communication and Technology (I.C.T.)

District Officer is Lion Steve Cooper

You can email me here

Building a club website

Download this page as a Word document

Download the accompanying screenshots

 

1. Introduction

After considering the various options open to individual clubs I now recommend the use of an open source (=free) software program called WordPress. It is easy to use – if you can type a Word document and browse the web then you can use WordPress. It does not even require you to install software on your computer. I can install the software on the district server for you, you can create a site on the WordPress server (wordpress.com) or you can choose a domain package from an ISP who offers a free installation of WordPress. The third choice will however cost you.

2. Options

The features of the three options are listed below:-

2.1 A site on the district server would have the style of url ‘lions105c.org.uk/yourclubname’and would be free. I would set up this site and provide you with access details to operate and manage it. If you have already registered a domain name such as yourclub.org.uk it is a simple process to point the domain at the district server site.

2.2 A site on the wordpress.com server is also a free option but is subject to certain restrictions such as the design (theme) and the way links operate. If you sign up to wordpress.com you will have a domain name such as yourclub.wordpress.com.

2.3 Your own site on an ISP’s server offering a free WordPress installation. This option is slightly more complicated, requiring you to get your hands dirty setting up the site and obviously there is a charge for your domain name and hosting service.

3. Setting up and operating a WordPress site

3.1 Site access and types of users WordPress was designed as blogging software but can be readily adapted to run a more traditional website. It is accessed online via your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox etc.) using a username and password. It probably works better with Firefox , another example of open-source software. It is managed by an administrator who has total control of the site but there are other classes of user in a hierarchy where each has fewer powers:-

Editor
Author
Contributor
Subscriber

I will explain more about their powers later.

Types of content There are two types of content, pages and posts

3.1.1 Pages: More like a traditional website page these will contain information which is relatively static or changes infrequently. Examples would be a site’s intro page, contact details, descriptive pages about fundraising, welfare and entertainments. The title of a page automatically becomes a menu item. Menus can have sub-menus so for example under the main menu item of Fundraising you might have a sub-menu for your Bike Ride, Duck race, Easter Egg hunt.

3.2.2. Posts: are used for topical items especially time-related ones which become less important with the passage of time. Examples would be advance notice of an event on a particular date. Posts always appear on the front page of the website in chronological order, most recent first.

Both pages and posts can incorporate media such as images, video, links and external content such as Youtube.

Other types of content refine the operation of the site, make navigation easier and improve your page ranking in search engines such as Google and Yahoo:-

3.2.3 Categories

Posts in chronological order can become cumbersome to navigate if they are in a long unordered list, with visitors losing interest before they find what they are looking for. Categories enable you to sort your posts. These can be created before you write posts or on the fly if you decide you want a new one part way through writing a post. Again sub-categories can be created too.

3.2.4 Tags

Can also be added to a post and are like meta keywords on a traditional site. They will aid the searchability of the site and improve search engine ranking.

3.2.5 Links

Although you can put links directly into pages or posts there is a separate menu listing of any links you want to add to your site such as local links, links to district, MD105 and LCI sites. It is called quaintly a Blogroll.

4. Integration

Being open-source software a number of developers have written various additions to WordPress called either widgets or plug-ins. They include the integration of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Your tweets can automatically appear on your website or your WordPress posts can create tweets if you wish.

A useful plug-in is “Add this” which puts a familiar ‘Share this’link on your front page and enables viewers to bookmark your site and posts it to their chosen social networking for others to see.

I will be dealing with Social Networking as a subject in its own right later.


5. Putting it all into practice

So much for the theory, let’s do it!

5.1 Logging in

Clicking on the login menu option brings up a screen asking you for your username and password. If it is a site on the district server I will have allocated these to you and set you up with editor’s rights, one step below my administrator’s rights.

5.1.2 The editor’s purpose is primarily to manage all the content of the website, including posts, media, links, pages, comments and tools. As\the name implies he/she can edit other users’ posts.

Other categories of user are:-

5.1.2.1  Authors

Have much less access than editors. They can add and edit their own posts (but not pages) and can manage posts made by their subordinates. They cannot edit posts by other authors nor manage comments on posts that don’t belong to them.

5.1.2.2 Contributors

Are only able to write posts and submit then for review. These posts will have Pending Review status until an author, editor or administrator publishes them.

5.1.2.3 Subscribers

Have no ability to do anything at all but their existence can enable content to be split into public and private so that only users can see the private content.

5.2 The dashboard

is the starting point for managing the site. The various menu options are listed down the left-hand side. Most have sub-menu options (see screenshot).

5.2.1 Posts:

Existing posts can be edited or new post can be written. See the screenshot split over two pages. Fill in the tile, add to text, use the icons at the top of the text box for editing, layout, links etc. Further down the page are two tick boxes ‘Comments’ and ‘Trackbacks and Pings. Untick both of them, especially the ‘Comments’ box. To the right of the page is the ‘Category’ box. Tick the relevant box or add a Category if a suitable one doesn’t exist. Finally click on Publish/Update.

5.2.2 Pages: A similar layout to Posts except that there is no Category as the page title becomes the menu heading so keep them brief! A page can appear as a sub-item to another page and thus appear as a sub-menu option. For example you might make Senior Citizen’s party a sub-menu of Welfare by using the Attributes dropdown menu. You will also notice an Order box with 0 in it. This enables you to change the Pages menu from alphabetical to an ordered list of your choice.

5.2.3 Categories and Tags

These can be added via these menu choices or on the fly as you add a post or a page. Tags will help your page be better indexed by search engines such as Google.

6.  Uploading content

6.1 Pages and posts

You don’t have to type your page or post while online. You can type it offline in your word processing software, then copy and paste it.

6.2 Media

You can include images, movies and audio using the Uload/Insert option above the Page or Post text box. These must already be available on your own computer.

That covers most of the basic operations in running a WordPress blog/website.

I would recommend investing in a suitable ‘how to’ book such as ‘WordPress 2.7 complete’ by April Hodge Silver and Hasin Hayder, available via Amazon at £25.00

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