A New Online Look for Olympia Weavers Guild

In the 21st Century, an on-line presence is vital to every organization, to help members and others find current information. The Olympia Weavers Guild (OWG) is no different. For several years, OWG has had a custom web site, with a simple content management system to enable the web committee-person to change or add certain information on certain pages, with the system taking care of a lot of the formatting issues.

Unfortunately, such a custom system has a fixed number of pages with a lot of fixed data on them, requiring the services of a web programmer to make any major changes. For this reason, many organizations have all but abandoned their traditional web sites in favor of using a social networking site like Facebook for dynamic data. Facebook, however, has some drawbacks obvious to anyone who uses it to keep track of friends and relatives that makes it unsuitable for running a business or organization.

But, in recent years, a class of commercial and open source content management systems have become available that allow anyone who can use a word processor to edit every page on a site and add new pages as needed. Some of the automated formatting features of a custom content manager are no longer available, but there are other features that are very useful. In addition to nearly unlimited freedom in content (and style as well, if the services of a web designer or programmer are retained, or one of the hundreds of freely or commercially-available “themes” is acceptable), the popularity of these systems has been due to the blogging feature included in some of them. A blog (short for “web log,” a type of diary or journal) allows the site owners, members, or subscribers to post essays, including photos and other media, and for responses or comments to be posted by other members and subscribers (or, if you are brave, the general public, which includes off-shore knock-off shoe and handbag factories as well as other types of spammers who are trying to drive up traffic to their sites by getting their name on yours). But, the latter issues are controllable through privacy and policy settings.

OWG has converted their web site to run under WordPress, one of the most popular of the new systems. Many individuals have blogs hosted on http://wordpress.org, but the WordPress software is freely available for anyone to run on their own web domain, and can host a traditional web site as well as support extensive blogging abilities. This move was instigated by the need to make a few changes to the old web site that weren’t included in the content management framework of the old site, but offers the ability to add more pages and photo galleries, including private areas accessible only to members, and the option for each member to contribute their own articles through the blogging feature.

In the near future, all guild members who want one will be given a subscriber account on this system, which can be upgraded to “author” for those who wish to post their own articles in the blog. Members can still contribute photos, event schedules, and news items to be posted on the public pages, by emailing them to the web editor.

We hope you enjoy the new look. [Helpful] feedback and suggestions welcome.