Author Topic: Improvements to the website?  (Read 15611 times)

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2011, 08:59:00 AM »
This is good stuff to which I would add what can we offer to young people - teenagers say - who have not grown up with knots but may be encouraged to try their hand? (JD of T.I.A.T.) is probably the best example I can think of, of someone who will appeal to youngsters by using modern materials to make simple but attractive items through videos.  I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!

Barry

DerekSmith

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2011, 07:27:01 PM »
I am a little slow at catching this one, but wow, what a positive start.

But before it gets too far, could I propose a very different route for you to consider.

Open a hosting account with someone such as BlueHost $6/month for unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains etc.

Take out a dummy domain name for free (say IGKT2011.net) with the hosting account

Start a Wordpress site with all the facilities - blog, calendar, CMS, etc. etc. expected of today's sites, and start to lay out a completely fresh IGKT web presence.

As fordneagles said, you don't need web designers anymore with tools like Wordpress, but you do need a small team of people with the time and interest to put the content into place.

Then, once you have something you are reasonably happy with, have the Guild officials give it the go ahead, and swap over the redirection for the IGKT.net url to the new site.

The absolute key to this change is exactly that - CHANGE - or rather, making change so easy that we want to and look forward to doing it, but don't try to fix what is already broke - go for a clean page and make what you would really like to find when you come to the IGKT site...

Listen to fordneagles - she is of the right generation.

Derek
« Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 07:30:00 PM by DerekSmith »

KnotMe

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2011, 02:40:55 AM »
This is good stuff to which I would add what can we offer to young people - teenagers say - who have not grown up with knots but may be encouraged to try their hand? (JD of T.I.A.T.) is probably the best example I can think of, of someone who will appeal to youngsters by using modern materials to make simple but attractive items through videos.  I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!
In my own research, I've spotted a few fashion things that are knot related.  I used to note them in my link roundups (http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=1141.0) that I did here, and now I'm noting them on my Google Reader public feed (http://www.google.com/reader/shared/user%2F13399843360271014998%2Flabel%2Ffashion%20knots), also accessible omnibus style here (http://www.knottynotions.com/aggregator).  I realize that this is kind of a write-only activity for me, but I live in hope.  8)  Also when the Google Reader stuff gets linked to Google+ it may be easier to access...  Who knows.  Umm, technical digression aside, back to the fashion thing I was talking about:

Now, my relationship to fashion is extremely... vague as anyone who has seen me can probably tell you, but if instead of noting down the knot-related fashion stuff as vaguely interesting, one took a pro-active stance...  On YouTube, the Discovery Channel posts regular videos explaining what is happening in popular videos that weird and curious but have a scientific explanation.  They call them xxxx Explained, like the Zombie Squid Explained was posted yesterday (I think).  So, since most fashion related knot stuff is quite simple (http://www.khww.net/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=1139&highlight=fashion&pid=11898#post_11797 or http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-rope-necklace).  We could "explain" knotted fashion with how to's, not to mention short explanations of where to source materials from as well.  This would make us more useful in a practical sense as well.  Expanding into simple home decor applications (eg. http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/06/diy-project-sailors-knot-doorstop-paperweight.html) would appeal to an older demographic, but still younger than the guild average age.

Fashion and home dec.  This partially handles the distaff side of things, plus their guys who want to impress their girls.  What the young man might want, I'm thinking Stormdrane knows.

Thinking on it a bit more, even younger we could try to collate some knot related teacher materials.  Things that pre-school -> grade school teachers (and home schooling parents) could use.

Making dog toys and leashes and ...

So, what I'm saying is we create a database of simple project how-tos and share them, the key is to go from theory "how to tie knot X" that our membership appreciates and expand it into "how to make Y & Z with knot X" even if (especially if?) it's extremely simple.

Open a hosting account with someone such as BlueHost $6/month for unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains etc.

Take out a dummy domain name for free (say IGKT2011.net) with the hosting account

Start a Wordpress site with all the facilities - blog, calendar, CMS, etc. etc. expected of today's sites, and start to lay out a completely fresh IGKT web presence.
This is unnecessary as any number of us have our own servers.   You've got the igkt.pbwiki.com after all.

Quote
As fordneagles said, you don't need web designers anymore with tools like Wordpress, but you do need a small team of people with the time and interest to put the content into place.

Then, once you have something you are reasonably happy with, have the Guild officials give it the go ahead, and swap over the redirection for the IGKT.net url to the new site.
By starting this way you are already selecting the software.  This method is also highly unlikely to integrate well with the existing forums which we all kinda like as they are (mostly).

I'd be more than happy to set up a CMS (drupal) today so that we can work up a wireframe for the site design, but screen shots will likely be good enough in these early days of redesign.

That said, if there are forum members (who are Guild members) who would like to be involved in the official site redesign, not to mention internet strategizing... on the one hand I want to say PM Lindsey (because he's the council member in charge) but since I haven't discussed it with him yet and don't want him to say "where'd this deluge of email come from?" maybe PM me?

Ah, Lindsey is watching this thread, right?  And he'll let you know who to talk to to volunteer your two cents.  8)

DerekSmith

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2011, 04:54:42 PM »
This is good stuff to which I would add what can we offer to young people - teenagers say - who have not grown up with knots but may be encouraged to try their hand? (JD of T.I.A.T.) is probably the best example I can think of, of someone who will appeal to youngsters by using modern materials to make simple but attractive items through videos.  I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!

Barry

Equally not wishing to knock your observation that we must look to providing content that will be attractive to the next generations (I have often pushed for this myself), I think that it is appropriate to stress to you the importance of not being critical of what is or is not of interest.

The post you think "could be a real turnoff for a newcomer", along with its sister post on the JanusBowline were second and third respectively in the most popular topics by reply.  These two topics were essentially the work of only a dozen or so posters and between them racked up in excess of 300 replies.  But between them both they also racked up a staggering 36,000 reads - that's over a 100 reads for every reply !  Clearly, a lot of readers found these two topics worth following, and without these posts, those readers would have had far less to read...

I do not know what the statistics are, but I would hazard a guess that the traffic to the Forum is many hundreds of times greater than the traffic to the website, and this would all be due to the ever changing content on the Forum, and especially its wide ranging breadth of coverage - something for everyone, vs the static and disproportionally decorative content of the Guild website.

So big discussions are not necessarily bad and just because some of our existing members find the content boring, it does not necessarily mean that younger generations would find it incomprehensible.

The other thing to consider is to set up a Guild FaceBook account with a half dozen administrators, then start posting news, events, photos, snippets from the Forum etc. and let every member know about it through KM and emails.

Derek

KnotMe

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2011, 09:43:49 PM »
I'm not knocking the long discussion on this Forum about the definition of a bowline but that sort of discussion could be a real turnoff for a newcomer!

The post you think "could be a real turnoff for a newcomer", along with its sister post on the JanusBowline were second and third respectively in the most popular topics by reply.
I think Barry's point is not that the bowline stuff needs to be excised so much as there needs to be other stuff as well to appeal to a general audience.  Memory is dirt cheap, this level of bandwidth is also cheap.  No reason whatsoever one needs to be given up in favour of the other. 

WRT the statistics, I wonder because I don't know how they are calculated.  I must admit that I don't read those posts.  I don't read most of what is posted in the Practical forum unless Xarax is posting pictures or it's a topic I consider to be fringe-decorative.  But I do "mark as read" so that they don't clutter up my "unread since last post" display.  So it could be that statistically I am reading every post to the forums: chit chat, decorative and practical, while in truth I am reading perhaps a third.  Others might be in the same boat only really keeping up with chit chat for guild news and not reading the other forums at all.

Quote
The other thing to consider is to set up a Guild FaceBook account with a half dozen administrators, then start posting news, events, photos, snippets from the Forum etc. and let every member know about it through KM and emails.
Social media is being considered.  Perhaps we could ask the question of how many forum members are Facebook members?  Twitter?  MySpace? 8)  Tumblr?  Google+?  Reddit?  Squidoo?  Digg?  etc?

How many would consider being the Guild voice on those services?

Should I be making a poll or are people happy with this thread?

I will answer my own question:  I am on Google+ and read the occasional Twitter feed via RSS.  When Google+ gets organization/business accounts (currently they are all supposed to be personal) I am willing to be Guild voice on that service.  I have limited experience with Twitter but I'm willing to bite the bullet and sign up.  I may be that I cannot deal with the full firehose effect, but I'm willing to try and also willing to be Guild voice there if it turns out I can cope.

DerekSmith

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2011, 09:06:15 AM »
The thing with Facebook is that groups or organisations can join such as  Kerry Greyhounds

So you don't have to worry about 'personal' intrusion.

The other thing about Facebook, is that you don't know who is going to like it or where it will go until you try it.

Derek


Wed

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2011, 09:43:30 AM »
The other thing about Facebook, is that you don't know who is going to like it or where it will go until you try it.
Where is this not true?

About Facebook specifically: I am one of those who refuse it. Mainly because I read the terms of use.

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #37 on: August 15, 2011, 10:20:43 AM »
I think we need to be careful to distinguish between Forum members and Guild members - the 2 are not the same group. At a guess admittedly I would suggest that less than half of Forum members are Guild members. The Forum is a useful medium to seek views but we need to be careful not to assume that this applies to Guild members generally. Before we embark on social networking sites we do need to improve our website (Kerry Greyhounds quoted by Derek do have an attractive website as well) and for that we need volunteers to put in some continuing effort and someone to co-ordinate that effort. I for one am grateful for Carol (Knotme) for her offers of help.

I do recall the AGM this year however where had we not secured the services of a secretary and treasurer very much at the last minute the Guild would have had to suspend operations so this discussion would have been pointless. And although that was not in any way intended as a criticism of anyone in particular, I had 58 responses from people to say they would attend the AGM, a few apologies for absence but nothing at all from anyone else (there is nothing to stop anyone who cannot attend from raising an issue via the secretary, I can only assume members are not interested). So please if you want things to change it's no good expecting someone else to do it - they won't.


Barry
« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 10:49:16 AM by Sweeney »

DerekSmith

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2011, 05:39:52 PM »
Not quite sure where you are going with those comments Barry.  You are quite right that the Kerry Greyhounds website has considerable support.  The website is maintained by daily update of the CMS and Facebook and the various Forums are maintained by a team of five volunteers who spend hours each day between them posting and managing content.  Without that voluntary input, the KGC website and social media content would be as dead as the IGKT site is.

But my point is that none of those volunteers are 'members' of KGC, they are just active and interested volunteers.  If their views were not listened to and their efforts applauded, KGC would be nothing.

So why do you wish to draw a distinction between IGKT 'members', and 'volunteers' who might be interested enough in knots to give their time to create web content, but not interested in wearing any kind of badge for the honour.  We members are all converts, but we need to reach out to those with only a passing interest, so that we might build on that spark of interest.  To do that we need content - new, fresh, constantly updated content to capture interest and bring back new readers again and again.

Yes, the Forum will be frequented by 'non members' - that surely is a good thing.  They come to the forum because there is so much new content there, every time they come back, there is some new topic, discussion, argument, problem under debate etc.  The more the better, because new people bring new views, new challenges and new opinions - that is, they are bringing NEW CONTENT, and content is the life blood of social media.

The existing members have not, and I would suggest 'cannot' breath life into the IGKT (or they would likely have done it already).  Only the non member 'volunteers' you seem to be sidelining, give us any chance of injecting new blood and new interest.  It is these people who KGC have attracted and utilised, and it is these people who I respectful suggest, the IGKT should be falling over themselves to attract, listen to, and keep, whether the become paid up members or not.

Perhaps a more valuable route might be to ask 'What the IGKT has to offer, that would make someone want to become a member?", while at the same time as heavily promoting the development of an extensive 'Non Member' following as possible to generate content and perhaps become active volunteers to contribute to our online presence.

Derek


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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2011, 05:41:08 PM »
Hi Wed,

I likewise read the Terms of use and refused to use it.  However about 80% of my (younger) family are on it, and when Kerry Grehounds took out a Facebook account, their public profile exploded - especially - with the younger generations (which for me means anyone below 40ish).

Social media, and in particular Facebook is (no matter how much our generation dislikes the T&C) a huge part of today's communication for the age groups we particularly need to reach.

Derek

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2011, 06:24:06 PM »

The existing members have not, and I would suggest 'cannot' breath life into the IGKT (or they would likely have done it already).  Only the non member 'volunteers' you seem to be sidelining, give us any chance of injecting new blood and new interest.  It is these people who KGC have attracted and utilised, and it is these people who I respectful suggest, the IGKT should be falling over themselves to attract, listen to, and keep, whether the become paid up members or not.

I have considerable sympathy with this view but the reality is that the IGKT is run by an elected Council and it is they who decide what is or is not undertaken and they are elected by and represent the current Guild membership. We are an educational charity and there is a respectable argument that what we do via the website and the forum goes some way to fulfilling our aims so it would be right and proper for the Council to steer the website development by injecting funds and using any non-member volunteers we can find to help us.

Barry

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #41 on: August 15, 2011, 08:35:13 PM »
The existing members have not, and I would suggest 'cannot' breath life into the IGKT (or they would likely have done it already).  Only the non member 'volunteers' you seem to be sidelining, give us any chance of injecting new blood and new interest.  It is these people who KGC have attracted and utilised, and it is these people who I respectful suggest, the IGKT should be falling over themselves to attract, listen to, and keep, whether the become paid up members or not.

I have considerable sympathy with this view but the reality is that the IGKT is run by an elected Council and it is they who decide what is or is not undertaken and they are elected by and represent the current Guild membership. We are an educational charity and there is a respectable argument that what we do via the website and the forum goes some way to fulfilling our aims so it would be right and proper for the Council to steer the website development by injecting funds and using any non-member volunteers we can find to help us.

Barry

As for the current membership being totally moribund, it was Knot4U who said on the forum s/he wasn't even going to try to do anything because nothing changes.  I don't know if Knot4U is a Guild member or not, but that may or may not be the perception of the Guild membership at large.  I think we have proved that that is not necessarily the case.  Planning has begun, and I believe that action and changes will actually come from it.  Once the Guild at large sees that, I have faith that they will step forward and help.  All they need is a good boot to the posterior.  8)

As for non-member volunteers, I have no troubles accepting their help.  The problem as I see it is one of accountability.  What if we made Knot4u responsible for the Guild Facebook page?  Well, I don't know Knot4U's nationality, age, or even gender.  If Knot4U started "verbally" abusing other people or talking trash about the Guild itself on the Guild's official Facebook page and we had no clues who s/he is...  that would be foolish on our part, no?

If we are putting volunteers in a position to speak with the Guild's voice we should know who they are.  If they had taken the step to join the Guild then we have a better idea of who they are from the application process as well as their willingness to step forward, identify with and invest in the Guild as it were.

Having said that, I would have no problems with the Guild awarding memberships (yearly or lifetime) to non-members who have clearly provided a service to knot tying in general.

Phil_The_Rope

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2011, 02:58:32 PM »
Just to keep you informed ...

At last I managed to spend some time looking through the site and reading this thread again. I have provided Council with my comments, and await their feedback! It is highly unlikely that any changes, if and when they occur, will please everyone, but I think one of the main priorities is to make the site more friendly and interesting to new visitors.

It won't happen overnight, though!

Phil

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #43 on: September 29, 2011, 04:39:45 PM »
For reasons I'm not going to discuss here, I am no longer the "Publicity Officer/Secretary" of the IGKT. The Council are in possession of my thoughts on the web site, and they are aware that there has been a debate on this forum.

IGKT members with passionate views or ideas about the web site (or anything else to do with the Guild) might contact the Council to make themselves heard. That's not to say that non-members cannot contribute via the forum(s).

Kind Regards to All,

Phil

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2011, 07:48:11 AM »
IGKT members with passionate views or ideas about the web site (or anything else to do with the Guild) might contact the Council to make themselves heard. That's not to say that non-members cannot contribute via the forum(s).

It is vital that members let the Council know what they want from the Council - it's no good hoping somebody else will do it - they won't. There has been a useful discussion on this Forum about the web site and I hope that is not lost but in my 2 years as Secretary I can recall only one proposal put to me and that was never pursued by the proposer. To contact the Council all you need do is send an email to secretary@igkt.net or write to the Secretary (Margaret Boggs) whose address is one the main website.

Barry