By Kevin Machin
Here's a summary of what's happened with the web site project, since the last NAWG committee meeting. It includes things we've achieved and things we plan to do next and in the future.
In particular, there's a new idea I've come up with. Please see joined-up data later in the report.
↑ Improvements Since Last Meeting
The improvements that have been made since the last meeting on 20th September 2014, are as follows:
- The books area has been reorganised and tidied up.
- The Link area has been reorganised and tidied up.
- The open competitions area has been reorganised and tidied up.
At the last meeting, it was brought to the committee's attention that the hosting of the web site is currently unsuitable. This is for a number of reasons:
- The account being used is a multi-purpose one, owned by former technician who has now moved on.
- We do not have, nor expect to get, sufficient administrative rights to effectively develop and maintain the site.
- There are a number of issues regarding site e-mails.
- Under the current set-up, we are unable to get technical support from the hosting company.
It was therefore decided to seek an alternative hosting solution. This is now underway.
- 22 provider companies were initially identified by looking at the most highly ranked ones in internet searches.
6 of these were quickly rejected, for reasons such as:
- Insufficient presence in the UK. This would potentially be a support issue.
- No UK-based servers. This would potentially be a performance issue.
- The remaining 16 are being looked at in more detail, to see if they meet our technical and financial requirements.
Here is a list of the candidates. If anyone has had experience, good or bad, with any of these, then please let me know.
Company Package Annual Cost* FastHosts Gold £ 149.24 Eco Green Hosting Forest £ 148.10 Just Host Plus £ 137.45 Fast2Host Standard £ 135.12 123-Reg Professional £ 124.03 UK Cheapest Business-U £ 121.37 NetHosted Power Plan £ 120.10 Haisoft Multi Domain £ 116.85 Heart Internet Home Pro £ 110.99 1&1 Unlimited £ 104.84 Kualo MultiSite £ 89.47 iPage Essential £ 84.85 TSOHost Professional £ 77.25 eUKHost Intermediate £ 76.86 UK2.net Business £ 50.02 One.com £ 37.87
* The costs have been determined as far as possible using information from the companies' web sites. They are inclusive of VAT at 20% but they may not include one-off domain name transfer fees. There may also be other hidden costs that have not yet been unearthed. On the other hand, there may also be reductions and/or special offers.
↑ What's Next
Continue with the re-hosting task:
- Select a provider.
- Set up an account.
- Plan the site's migration.
- For discussion: Joined-up Data. A new idea. See below…
↑ Joined-Up Data
This is a new idea, or at least new to me. Apologies if this sort of thing has been discussed in the past.
It occurs to me that there are a number of aspects about the association, where information is duplicated or perhaps handled in several different ways by different individuals, leading to extra work for us and/or increasing the risk of making mistakes. I'm not just talking about the web site now, but more generally. How about an initiative to get things more centralised and "joined-up"?
The idea would be, where possible, to provide single data source solutions to various information requirements. This could be the web site and associated databases, but it does not have to be.
There may be others, but here are a few things that spring to mind.
There is a directory of writers' groups on the web site. At present, this is hand-maintained completely separately from the master membership list of groups and individuals (wherever that may be).
There must also be lists of who has paid their subscriptions, contact names & addresses and the like. These may be separately maintained as well (I have no current knowledge of how this works).
It would make sense to centralise this information. When updates are made, the information would automatically propagate to all of the areas where it is needed, e.g. the web site.
- The directory of writers' groups on the web site is out of date, as noted by a reader in the comments.
- There are no individual members listed on the site. Should there be?
Competition listings, closing dates, prizes, entry forms and details, results, winners, runners-up, commended, etc. This kind of information is scattered about all over the place, as far as I can tell. For example:
- On the web site.
- In newsletters.
- In Link magazine.
A single source of data for competition-related information could improve things greatly.
If we intend to make Link readable on the web, for those who prefer, as well as in paper form and via e-mail; then it would make sense to have a consistent procedure for producing, delivering and electronically storing the issues.
Ideally, this would be automated wherever possible, so as to reduce our human workload.
|Author:||Kevin Machin||Date:||November 10, 2014 12:53 pm|
|Responses:||0 – open||Article:||3338 – published|