The new club website has a number of new features, so here is your guide to what the site now offers as well as some background on why the new website was created.
The new website. Available here!
The old club website served the club admirably over the years - thanks largely to the hard-work of long-serving webmaster Carol. However in the years since our site was built, a new breed of website software called Content Management Systems has come out. They offered many smart new features as well as the promise of a lower-maintenance overhead for the site. The main feature that the Committee wanted, was to allow a wider section of the clubs members to update the site. The old site had it's pages directly written in html and as not many members are html gurus, it meant that most new pages had to be created by the club webmaster. As this wasn't a straightforward, it lead to a good site, but one that was rather static in terms of content. In contrast, the new site allows articles, such as race reports, social events or training advise to be created by any registered user. The articles are really easy to write via an editor that is built into the website. This editor looks very much like Word, so it will look immediately familiar to for those wanting to create or update pages.
The new page editor allows any registered member to create an article.
There are a number of other features that the new site offers:
- Article feeds: The front page of the site now contains the latest published articles. We hope that this will evolve to become a mix of different contributed content. Ranging from Race Reports to Social Events, from training advise to blog posts. The more members we have contributing the more variety we'll have.
- Dynamic Calendars: The new site has a number of different Calendars that show the different Club events that are coming up. There are Training Calendars for Juniors and Seniors, as well as a Club Calendar that also shows Races and Social Events. These Calendars can have new Events added directly via the website. But to make coaches lives easier we have also setup feeds from Google Calendars and from Excel. This allows those well though out training plans to be loaded and updated quickly onto the site. You will also find that there are a couple of “Upcoming Event” sections on the new site. They allow you to quickly check the details of the next couple of training sessions or what time the social on starts on Saturday!
The new club calendar can be found here
- Twitter feed: We have added a feed from the Clubs Twitter account which allows you to see the latest tweets from the club.
- Strava Group: Strava is a very popular site for sharing and analysing your runs. We have a New Forest Runners group on Strava, and the latest runs from members of that Strava group are shown on the new site. This is very useful for encouraging you to put in a few more training miles on a dark winter evening.
- New Website Banner: We wanted to combine the slideshow and the banner from the old site to create a new dynamic site banner that showcased the beautiful Forest environment that we are lucky enough to be able to run in. Henry Szwinto and Paul Pocock provided some stunning Forest photographs . At the moment, the banner photos are a bit short when it comes to showing the “Runners” part of New Forest Runners. When the weather gets a bit warmer then we hope to update these images with some equally lovely shots of club members running in the forest. Applications to model in these are more than welcome!
We hope to further expand the number of features that the website offers over the next few months. But the most important after-launch goals is to build a group of club members that are confident in creating content for the site. This should allow us to have a more-inclusive and more frequently updated club website. I'll setup a couple of hands-on sessions in February/March to show how easy adding new articles is. If you would be interested in attending one of these then please do drop me a mail.
The new site has been put together thanks to the help of many members of the club. Thanks to Carol Shaw for doing such a fine job of maintaining the old site as our club webmaster for several years. Thanks to Henry Szwinto and Paul Pocock for providing such beautiful photographs for the website banner. Also thank you to Clare, Terry, Kathy, Caroline, Matt, Rod, Charles and Louise, who kindly volunteered to test the new site at short-notice and whose eagle-eyes made sure that a number of bugs did not make it through to the live site. Finally, a big thanks goes to Alastair Pickburn, Richard Gears and Stuart Judd for stepping-in and helping massively, both in the installation of new features and the writing of content for the new site.