Ins and Outs of Quilting Web Presence

Sorry for missing last week – I have been incredibly busy these past few weeks as the incoming webmaster of the Asheville Quilt Guild, and between meetings, troubleshooting, and updating things on the new and improved AQG site, I’ve had all I can have with computers, and I’m eager to get back to sewing again!
As some of you may remember, this is how our old website used to look:

As can be seen, it did very well for the ‘naughts, seeing as it has that pre-CSS pre-Wordpress/CMS platform look. Unfortunately, this not only made the site look old-fashioned, but it made it pretty difficult for members and visitors to search for things. I honestly am not sure what platform the old site was made with, but the new one, which can be found here, is clearly more attractive, and definitely more user-friendly. This is the link, again:

We are using WordPress, which has become the de-facto CMS (content management system) for websites that have multiple users contributing to them. The attractive thing about WordPress is not only the price tag (free unless you buy specialized templates), but the acute ease of use. Pretty much anyone with even the most rudimentary computer literacy can eventually find a way to log in, post something-something, attach and image, and presto. 

The process to change the site, though, as many can imagine, has been very complex and at times insane! Fortunately, we had a very good team of genius-quilters working on the project, as well as an outstanding design team that was hired for that purpose. We wanted the site to be as user-friendly, intuitive, and flexible as possible. As such, we went through a period of months in which the prototype was developed by the designers, and we had many meetings to fine-tune things once the prototype was functional. There always seemed to be something or other that needed tweaking! Folks with different browsers, or different accessibility issues all had to be taken into account. Finally, even though it is not 100% perfect (then again… what is?), we decided to go live with the new site this past Monday. So far the reports have been all positive. Obviously we welcome user feedback from the folks (such as committee heads who need to update different parts of the site, and members at large).
As I had mentioned, I have agreed to serve as Webmaster for a period of one year, with the responsibility of keeping it up-to-date, as information is fed to me by the various Committee Chairs. My only real qualification for this position was the willingness to do it without pulling my hair out – as well as whatever coding/computer experience I have acquired from having been an almost-10-year user of the Linux Operating System, as well as experience with different blogging platforms, including WordPress. 
As you can see, there’s more to quilting and belonging to a quilting guild than simply sewing and whatnot. Our web presence serves not just to organize our own formidable efforts within the 300+ strong guild, but also to serve as outreach for potential members and guest speakers. 
I am very proud of all our efforts in coordinating the launching of this website, and am happy that we finally got this new and improved site up and running! I hope you come by and take a look. Have a great week!

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