Help: Looking for recommendations for club management website software.

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by PinkyMacGodess, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #1
    I've become involved in a bike club, and they have a rather primitive website system for their web presence.

    It handles the barest of the bare functions of a club. It does a calendar, handles event notifications for rides, and has basic information on the club on the web front end. On the back end, it manages the mailing lists, finances, and reminders. The problem is that it's not 'engaging'. It's not 'social', and interacting with it isn't very 'intuitive'.

    The club is having issues retaining members, and I think that a new website could help enthuse the members, and make the site more of a social part of the club, than a hindrance...

    What have people used, or seen used that handles the typical club functions?

    They currently use 'ClubExpress'. Anyone familiar with that product/company?

    Is there a better way to use it? I'd hate to throw out something that might be able to work better...

    Thanks all...
     
  2. 960design macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #2
    I was in the same position as you. I looked everywhere and finally just decided to write my own. I've finished with the design and now working on the coding part; about 2/3 the way done with that.

    I'm certainly watching this for ideas. Very curious on how yours will handle the 'engaging' part.

    I haven't heard of ClubExpress.
     
  3. PinkyMacGodess thread starter macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #3
    By 'engaging', I meant something that makes looks good, makes you want to look around. The couple of ClubExpress sites I've seen all seem to be 'flat', and menu driven in a very rote way. Not 'engaging'... ;)o_O
     
  4. 2457244 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    #4
    If you want to do it yourself with less web development skills and maybe more members of your bike club have to engage in the website, I think WordPress would be the go to platform. It's easy to use and doesn't have a bold learning curve, I'd say, if you can work with a Facebook or Twitter account you can mange a WordPress website too.
    It can be used by people with and/or without any web development skills, both people will use the same 'software' just in a different way.

    If you have no development skills you can still do a lot, you just have to search for themes and plugins that fits your needs, where people with development skills can create those themes and plugins themselves. It takes time to do it right tho. I'm serious, if you just want to make a website fast because you have to and not because you want to - it probably going to fail on you in the end. If you're excited about it, I'm sure you'll be more and more excited when you see what WordPress can do for you with just a few clicks.
     
  5. PinkyMacGodess thread starter macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #5
    What about Drupal?

    I've been on a few sites created with that, and they seem to be less 'flat', and more interactive.

    What is MacRumors using?

    I mean, the site I'm about to work with has no forums, no interaction, no Joie de vivre. Maybe some of it is the members, but the website is just 'flat'...
     
  6. wlossw macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #6
    You can also try the all in one hosting and content management at squares pace.com - if you can stomach the 250$ per year cost, it looks great and is easy enough for a novice to setup and maintain. You also get secure ecommerce and good security.

    I personally use Wordpress, but it requires much more attention to keep up to date.
     
  7. Integerated macrumors newbie

    Integerated

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    #7
    I want to suggest you to try Wordpress. It is a secured platform and gets updated regularly.
     
  8. PinkyMacGodess, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015

    PinkyMacGodess thread starter macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #8
    I've been running a WordPress site for the last too many years. It's a bit of a diva, in that there always seems to be some update somewhere that has to be installed RIGHT NOW!, yet I do really like the themes and plugins, but we use one theme that is slightly customized by the creator of the theme, and getting updates without hammering the site is a pain.

    It has been easy for other people to handle posting things, which has been a godsend, if they would just stop cutting and pasteing out of Word... :mad:

    But I don't see where WordPress can do all of the other things that the club needs, without resorting to spreadsheets, or QuickBooks... YUCK.

    Plus, is there a way to do calendaring on WordPress? Sending notifications? I've got to look into it closer.
     
  9. PinkyMacGodess, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015

    PinkyMacGodess thread starter macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #9
    I set the site I run to 'Autoupdate', because there are so many updates, and keeping track of them is a PITA.

    Now I just hope no update hammers the site...

    So far, it's been secure.
     
  10. jsm4182 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Location:
    Beacon, NY
    #10
    Drupal is what I would use for a site like that, I actually have built sites like that in drupal. The problem with drupal is the very steep learning curve, a site like that could only be built in drupal by a professional.

    With all the features you're looking for you're only options for a single solution are finding another solution like ClubExpress thats specifically designed for this type of site, or hire a professional to build a custom site. The other option is to split things up into multiple sites/services. Wordpress and drupal are both great options for what you're looking to accomplish on the public facing part of the site, I'm partial to drupal. Mailchimp is great for managing email lists and newsletters. I'm not too sure about what other options there are for the other management features, but it way be quicbooks or spreadsheets which you don't seem to like the idea of very much.
     
  11. 2457244 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    #11
    Drupal doesn't have a steep learning curve, nothing more steep than any other CMS. It's just made by web developers for web developers, that's all. If you're a web developer you can relatively easily adopt to the Drupal family as you could to any other CMS. It always take a bit of time to understand how everything works, how they handle updates, functions, hooks and whatnot its just part of the game.

    If the TS has worked with Drupal before and knows his way around, I'd say use that platform again. Sure, WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, they're all about the same based on features but where WordPress stands out from all others is it's accessibility over all others.
    Your neighbor, your sisters son by the age of 12 - they can all use WordPress, install it and start creating websites, adding plugins do some fancy stuff that alters the website and go with the flow even if the have no development skills at all. I bet you in about 8 - 12 months those people have learned so much about creating websites by just adding features to their WordPress website that they start to like it or understand what real web development is about.
    Now let's do the same with Drupal, your neighbor or that 12yo kid probably doesn't even get any further than downloading Drupal on their computer and now what?

    As soon as you log into a Drupal or Joomla dashboard it can become very uncomfortable for someone without exciting knowhow about managing websites. Maybe the TS also has another bike member of his club who also like to contribute to the website, maybe handle the calendar stuff or write blog posts to attract new bikers, most of the time those clubs can use all the help they get.. What if this person really would love to help out BUT he has never seen a dashboard of any CMS before. It can become very overwhelming very fast if they log into a Drupal site for the first time. That's where WordPress stands out from all others. WordPress isn't just made by web developers for web developers who then create a website for client X so he/she can manage his website. WordPress is made by everybody. They have a few people on the core team that can't really write a single line of code but all they do is make sure those web developers who do code all the time don't create features that stink to use for non technical users of the software.
    A simple example, just Google at: Drupal dashboard, Joomla dashboard and WordPress dashboard and look at the images that will pop-up in the results. You'll see in glance what I'm talking about. The WordPress dashboard always stays the same for everyone. If you're a user with a very advanced website of just a personal blogger you happen to have the same dashboard. This is done for a reason, because if John has a problem with his WordPress website, he can ask Cindy who happen to own a WordPress site too and she can guide John around based on her experience. She knowns the publish or help buttons always will be on the same position no mater how advanced John's website may be. That's also the power behind WordPress but you'll never notice those things because you take them for granted.

    WordPress is way more 'social media friendly' -like created. If Facebook, Twitter and all others would happen to have a dashboard or back-end platform like Drupal has the regular people around the world probably couldn't use it because it isn't friendly to navigate around, they would give up on it because it would become a pain in the * to publish something fast if you're not an experienced user.


    Back on topic, feature wise you could use whatever 'populair and mature' CMS you like, they all have those features.
    If you would use WordPress I can recommend the following plugins to advanced your WordPress site..

    - WordPress SEO ( if other bikers have to find your site )
    - Easy Digital Downloads - Don't let the 'downloads' part in the name of this plugin fool you, this plugin does everything so well if you just like to sell stuff online, if you want to sell anything without shipping physical products to customers this plugin is what you need. It's super simple, you create products and you add them on a page where you want them to show up..
    - MailChimp ( vistors can subscribe themselves to your newsletters )
    - Database Backup ( safety first )

    There are so many great plugins, I know for a fact there are about 3 really book calendar plugins around but I don't have the experience to tell you which one is best so you better just Google: WordPress + calendar plugin and I bet you that you'll find a plugin that does what you want it to do.
    Same goes for social media buttons and stuff like that. You can use the JetPack plugin created by WordPress itself that will do the trick for most users but there are so many advanced plugins in this field. It's too specific for what you probably need.

    Long story short, it's all there... And this is not a WordPress selling pitch because you can do this with about every other CMS around not just WordPress. The only difference between WordPress and others is how easy you can find all this information online and use it. If you have a problem with your WordPress site, Google it: it it's likely you'll find a solution within the first 5 Google results because it's so populair that chances are someone just like you had the same problem and someone else gave a solution for that problem.

    My advise start locally creating on your computer. Install MAMP (Free version) on your Mac, this creates some sort of fake webhosting on your computer so that you can install and test WordPress or any other CMS on your computer without internet connection. It's great for testing new features on your site before you publishing them on your Live website and maybe ending up with a problem or two that you have to try and tackle after while very site user can see those problems.
    There is even a helpful WordPress documentation about how to do this.

    Just go with the flow, install MAMP on your Mac + a CMS of choice, pick a theme ( web layout ) you like or a theme that looks already near 75% of the end-result how you would like your site to be in the end and just go with the flow. The 25% customization you'll do later together with the community. They will help you change colors and what not. Just never ask web developers to create a website for you. But ask them friendly how you can change the background or a button on a header item and they/we will help you. No problem.
     
  12. PinkyMacGodess thread starter macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #12
    All I know is that these people are paying probably in excess of $150 a month for a site that looks like a high school kid made it.

    I mean, maybe I'm wrong, but I feel that a website can be, and should be, more of an asset to a group. Maybe I'm wrong.

    I have thought of doing a survey of members to see what they feel about the website. I wouldn't be surprised if many members didn't know there is a website...
     
  13. PinkyMacGodess thread starter macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #13
    Wow, thanks! Loads of information to digest.

    I have a server that I'm not using, and was going to instal Ubuntu on it, and then Drupal and WordPress and flog them and see what I can come up with. When I used to do more web programming, I always had a backup of a client's current site on my company hosting site, and had a 'hidden in plain sight' link for any under development versions of their sites so they could see, and abuse, them before they went live, and often before I even made a presentation of the changes.

    I remember MAMP, and might have nixed it due to infrastructure concerns. My wonderful Mac Pro is starting to show it's age, and is struggling (aren't we all) with Yosemite. I'm thinking adding anything more needy might be too traumatic.

    At least with a separate server, I can beat it hard and not kill my main Mac...

    Thanks for your response. Thanks for all responses so far!
     

Share This Page