Hello, my name is Russ KF0JOU and I was put in charge of revamping our club website. If anyone was familiar with the old site, you know it was in dire need of an update. One of the biggest reason I believe the site needed this modern update is to look like we are still an active club. I know when I first sought out the club, I was almost turned away when I saw the website. I am very happy for the different outcome.
This entry isn’t to sit here and showcase everything wrong with the previous version, because honestly, the actual content of the website is pretty decent. Everything that was here originally is still here, just maybe hidden until I (or we) can figure out a way to make it all look good and flow well.
The Biggest Decision
The first thing when redoing a website is to figure out exactly what you want to use for the new one. There are several options for those wanting to make a website, from template based builders like WordPress, Squarespace, and others. To more difficult, yet very powerful, options like Webflow or even skipping all that and coding it from scratch!
Originally I wanted to move away from WordPress, as I had been brainwashed by all the YouTube creators pushing Squarespace. I am in no way saying Squarespace is a bad option, I actually used it to get a good idea of what I wanted for the new website. The biggest deterrent there was cost! Running a website for a non-profit organization, you really have to be mindful of where and how you are spending the money. Squarespace was going to be almost $200 a year! Continuing using WordPress.com wasn’t going to be much better if we wanted to be able to use plug-ins and just generally have more options for customization. WordPress.ORG on the other hand is free to use and you are able to use plug-ins and everything else. The only catch there is having a place to host the website.
Thankfully, I was able to find a decently priced hosting company that would cost $93 for the first 3 years, and $72 a year after that! DreamHost is one of the 3 companies that WordPress.org has listed as recommended hosts, and I couldn’t be happier with this decision!
While trying to figure out the final location for the new website, I started trying to figure out the new look. I’ve dabbled with websites before, but I am by no means a website designer. Thankfully that’s why these template based builders exist. As I said earlier, I started out with Squarespace and using that I figured out the basic look of everything. It was very helpful knowing what I wanted once I switched over to WordPress.
The next challenge was figuring out how I was going to work on the site. At this point the hosting hadn’t been fully figured out and I didn’t want to spend the club’s money until I knew what I was doing. I found this great program that solves this exact issue, Local.
Local is a program that you run on your computer that builds a WordPress site so you can work on it, well, locally. This is great for playing around with different ideas all at once. When all was said and done, I had created 3 different versions of the website using 3 different themes and plug-in configurations. Doing so helped me figure how which theme had the features I wanted and which ones were going to make me pay for those features. When I had a setup I didn’t like and wanted to start over, I simply delete the site from Local and it’s gone. No messy clean up of configuration files or databases. It really was a lifesaver and made the “development” process fairly painless.
“OK, people, Eastern Seaboard coming online”
Once I had the website finalized and the hosting figured out and purchased, the next challenge was getting the website online. For the sake of not getting too into the weeds, this was actually fairly easy, once I figured out what I was doing. DreamHost makes it super simple to turn up a WordPress site, but this gives you a new blank site. In order to properly move the site, you need all the content and the database that WordPress uses. It’s a fairly simple task, just making sure you change certain files so everything is able to be found.
Once the site was on the host and working, it was time to point the domain at the new site. I decided to do this late at night just to minimalize any impact having the site down might have. This wasn’t much of an issue as the old site was still online during the process, but I just wanted to make sure. This was fairly quick and simple as well. The thing that took the longest was waiting for all the DNS servers to get the new website information. Until then the domain ke0pou.com still went to the old website.
At about 3 am, I was finally able to go to ke0pou.com and get the new and updated site. What a relief! I could finally relax and go to bed.
So What’s New?
The biggest, and I think most important, change is the homepage. I wanted something that made it clear what we were about, which is promoting the hobby with public service and playing radio!
We also added a club events calendar that was put together by Justin N0JBE. This is huge for getting people involved! This allows newcomers to see that we get together on the Saturdays for breakfast and have a net on Sundays. That way they hopefully join us! it is also a great place for existing members to keep up to date with when our public service events are as well as fun things like Fox Hunts!
Apart from the look of the website, what else is new? Well currently, not a whole lot, but I hope that changes soon!
So What’s Planned?
Looking forward, I would love to have a more active website. I want to encourage club members to write blog post like this one and share what they might be doing with the radio hobby! Some things I would like to see are after action reports after a public service or club events, personal projects someone might be working on, member accomplishments like a license upgrade, and whatever anyone thinks would be interesting for others to read!
If you’ve made it this far, I want to thank you! This has been quite a fun challenge for me, both writing this post and updating the website. I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to share this wonderful hobby with everyone.
If anyone would like to help with contribute to the website with posts, reach out to me either by emailing the club email at email@example.com or catch me at breakfast or a meeting and we can figure something out!
73s, Russ KF0JOU