This site is hosted as a free blog on WordPress.com. My choice of WordPress is a personal choice. I’ve worked with several of the online content management/blogging applications and found WordPress to be a good balance between functionality and ease of use. WordPress is a content management system that provides both static pages and a blog capability – along with a sophisticated plugin platform allowing additional functionality.
Static pages are used to provide content that doesn’t change often. This could include an overview of the association, information on how to become a member, by-laws, association leadership and other general information. This is called static information because it doesn’t change often. Sure, leadership changes and by-laws are updated, but not that often.
WordPress’s blog component offers an easy way to provide updates and/or one-time content. This includes news, announcements, upcoming meetings and events and updates to site content. The blog displays content with the most recently added item at the top of the screen. All blog postings are searchable and can be organized into categories so visitors can easily find specific articles. Blog content is also syndicated – meaning it can be distributed in multiple ways. Members don’t need to visit the site to see if new content has been posted. They can choose to subscribe to the blog content to have new articles delivered to them either via email or through their newsreader software. This is not a WordPress-specific feature – any blog platform can do this.
One other feature making a blog platform attractive to societies and associations is the commenting function. When you choose to open your blog up to commenters, you provide your visitors an opportunity to interact with you. Not only do you create a conversation with your visitors (members or otherwise), but it provides an opportunity to learn more about your collections. For example, you might post an article including a vintage photo where you can only identify a few of the people in it. Invite your visitors to add any information they may have to expand your knowledge about this photo. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.
WordPress isn’t the only blog platform providing a capability to extend the platform even further, but they do have an impressive developer community creating all kinds of additional functionality to your site. As the site grows you’ll be able to see how those additional capabilities can be put to use. Watch for reviews and discussions of various other options in upcoming articles. If you have a question about a particular platform – or content management in general – please add it in the comments section and we’ll be happy to respond.