Update about this website – April 2012

Background

This website was created in 2006, with Martin as the designer and webmaster, using the software platform WordPress 2.0.11. It has been overseen by a small group, which in recent months has become very small – Brian and Chris. Martin wanted to stop being webmaster, but so far we have not found another suitable person with the technical knowledge and commitment. However, the PCC has recently reaffirmed that this website is an important mission resource, and wishes it to continue.

Originally we had hoped to involve a much larger number of church members in writing articles and contributing pictures, etc. But until recently very few of us have been internet users, and so very few of us have had a direct interest in the website. We hope this might be changing.

A year or two ago we felt the need to refresh and even redesign the website, but other priorities were more urgent and this did not get done.

The current situation

On Easter Sunday 2012, Chris looked on the website and noticed a load of error messages. Martin looked at it and said it was dead, and probably not recoverable. Research by Martin showed that (unbeknown to us) the version of WordPress we use is no longer supported by the Host Server’s software.

Martin designed a temporary static homepage with minimum information on it. This was uploaded to replace the corrupted site. Martin then tried to replace the out-of-date software with a newer version of WordPress, and (amazingly) has succeeded in getting the website up and running again (or at least limping!). This is a good short-term fix, but not a long-term solution.

There are now two tasks – to update and refresh the content of the website, much of which has become tired – and to work behind the scenes to design a new website which can replace the existing one in due course. The good news is that (thanks to Martin’s “kiss of life” on the site) our work on the content can be transferred over to the new site, so what we do now will be of long-term use.

We need a task group to be responsible for both parts of the redesign, on behalf of the PCC, and believe that there are now more church members who might be able to contribute to this. Tasks include – being part of the discussion, having ideas etc, and doing the detailed work of writing material and uploading it, in partnership with Martin. High levels of technical knowledge are NOT needed. Martin has asked that we work with him, so he is not isolated as he works.

Clearly it is important that St Peter’s has ownership of the website, not least so that it continues to flourish once Chris retires – this implies a number of motivated people who will work together to see that it is kept up to date. At present Brian is the only active contributor to the website.

There remains the issue of who will be the webmaster in the longer term, to maintain the site (including things like backing it up periodically, updating the software, checking the visitor statistics and reporting them to the AGM).

Chris has approached some people to be part of the website task group, and if you’d like to join it, please do ask. But you don’t have to be on the task group to be involved – please do give us your ideas. You can find the contact details on the Contact Us page.

The website continues to be an important “shop window” for St Peter’s – at least one church member heard about St Peter’s by finding it through the website – and we believe this is important enough to justify the work, and the money.

Chris Burch.

This entry is dated Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 at 6.07pm and is filed under News.

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