#Linn Area #Photography Club is a non-profit organization helping photographers gain more knowledge and experience as well as an inspiration or ideas to get out take more photos! They have members who are beginners up to semi-pros!
The group has over 80 members in the Linn County #Iowa area and struggled with communications as a huge email list was their only means of communication. As people joined the club or changed email they struggled with keeping a single list. No one was sure all the time who had the most recent list of emails and every time they sent an email, they got returns and errors.
They had a website but it was old and very static. They also needed a better way to manage newsletters monthly, display images and have a calendar of events not only for upcoming meetings but upcoming photo shoots, contests and more!
Website Development Overview
So we started the website development with the #Flexx Theme from iThemes.com as it gave us the flexibility to add a number of widgets on the main page. We have complete control over the background, colors, pages, widgets, layout etc..
As you might suspect they wanted rotating images on the main page of the website. We used the ever popular NextGen Gallery and Smooth Slide show plugin to display the member photos on the main page.
They also use the photo gallery for monthly contest winners and other events throughout the year. They post to the blog and include a link to the particular gallery so images are embedded into the blog posts!
This is small organization with a very specific focus “photography.” Photography is a very broad topic but when visitors come to their website we wanted to cut as many clicks to the information as possible.
The top row of navigational buttons or links are the “pages” in WordPress that we transferred and edited for the new site. The information is fairly static and only changes about once a year. We added a contact form and the ability to download the very simple application for membership in PDF format. Future plans are to make this into an online registration form with ability to pay via PayPal.
The second row of navigational buttons are actually links to blog categories. The navigational buttons are created dynamically as new categories are created. Don't worry new categories need to be enabled in the theme settings to be visible. This is a great feature in case a user creates a new category incorrectly or by mistake.
Social Network Integration
We also create a Facebook fan page and Twitter account to allow people to follow the groups news and updates. We connected the blog to the #Facebook fan page via notes. Then with #Twitter Tools we linked directly to the Twitter account so updates to the blog get posted to both social media sites.
We also add WP Follow Me to add the Twitter icon on the right side of the page. We also added Sociable plugin and the FindMeOn plugins for tighter social networking integration. Visitors can find the site via social networking then post interesting content from the website out to the social networks!
The left and right columns were perfect to add widgets to show upcoming events, recent posts, links (blogroll) and links to member sites. Many of the members have their own websites and we want to highlight them here.
We added sponsor logos to the footer area and the order rotates every time the page updates. This gives each vendor top listings every time the footer loads.
Event Calendar 3 was our plugin of choice for this website. Of course there is a widget showing upcoming events but this plugin creates calendar events by creating a post. You use the post editor as you would write a blog post but at the bottom choose your starting and ending date/time. When you submit a calendar event the post is assigned to a specific category in your blog. IF you have setup RSS to email via Subscribe2 or aWeber or others, then your calendar event you just posted is emailed to your email subscribers as well as your RSS subscribers.
For this website we did not enable the Subscribe2 widget as they prefer to only have paid club members on the email list.
The photography club publishes a monthly newsletter saved as a PDF document. They post each newsletter announcement to the blog and PDF files are managed by WP-Download Manager. As stated above when they post a newsletter their email list of subscribers gets an email notice where they can download the latest copy.
Once completed we added SEO, Backup, Optimizer, Google Sitemaps. The site is submitted to major search engines setup for regular backups and optimizes automatically!
We are also planning to create a membership site or a “members only” site. The club wants to allow people to post photos for review and ONLY allow other members from the club to see and give feedback on the images. There are amazing sites around the Internet that allow this but many feel uncomfortable doing this. They fear their photos being criticized by people they don’t know or someone may steal their photo. We will overcome this by keep the group local to the local members.
We plan to use WPWishlist and will post an update when the next phase is completed.
If your group or organization is looking for an affordable website solution we can help. We create the site to fit your needs then you can maintain page updates and changes. Contact us as needed to add more functionality and features!
We can host your WordPress website and we offer plugin, database and SEO maintenance for WordPress.
Contact us today for more information on how we can help with your web development, design integrated with social networking and web hosting!
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