A members only office/team resource WordPress website Part 2

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I have been fleshing out some of the web site content. It has got me thinking.

When the earthquake happened in Wellington November 2016 a lot of offices closed and did not re-open until the buildings were deemed safe to use. I recall a few people saying it did not disrupt their work too much as a lot of information was in the cloud and so they could work from home or in alternative offices. So having useful resources notionally outside the office can be quite advantageous. It is already structured in a familiar manner and it is easy to access. For a freelancer, resources on the web, are accessible wherever you have a connection, so a handy place to store information.

Pages for Structure

The pages can be used for permanent links and files that you may access on a regular basis. Links can be added as you find other information that you think is useful. Creating different menu levels and structures to suit your ongoing requirements.

Posts

Posts could be used for “How to do something”. A new process, or how to use a new tool. Also, say you ended up developing a new Dynamo process, a post would be a great place to describe how it needs to be set up and how to use it. Also to say what limitations it has (eg only Revit 2017 or previous versions). Posts could also be used for tutorials.

On my Blog site the Category Cloud was a handy way to find posts that were relevant to a particular subject.

There could be a weekly post with information people have found useful on the web that is gathered together for keeping people up to date on specific topics. A type of newsletter.

Would you display excerpts on the front page or would you have a blog page? I decided on a blog page inside the site rather than front page.

I made the posts accessible only through login too. In fact you have to make these log-in too otherwise you can post them to someone without a login. If you did want to share the posts more widely a different site may be the way to go. One site open, the other requiring login. You could make specific pages/posts accessible but then you’ll be fiddling all the time to see if the correct ones are protected.

I had to use a plug-in Advanced Excerpt for making sure that the posts on the blog page only showed part of the post, not the complete content.

The font size was a bit large for the paragraph text and I wanted to reduce it. I did in the styles.css file (adding a new bit of code) but then the list text size stayed the same, so I had to add “li” to the same font size as “p” (HTML paragraph).

I had difficulties getting rid of comments at the bottom of posts and used a plugin called Disable Comments. The “How to..” I followed for doing it withing WordPress site did not get get rid of them.

I had tried the TinyMCE Advanced plugin for editing but I still had to selct everything to change the text size as the “paragraph” default stayed the same. I may use it in future as it has some nice editing tools. In the end the editing the styles.css was the more comprehensive way, especially as I’d already got a lot of text on the site.

Calendar

I initially thought this was a bit of a frivolity. There are a few events going on around town, such as RugWell, City Gallery Talks, talks at the Architecture School and some meetup Groups that are of interest. Having these on a calendar on the front page, connected into a Google Calendar that can be accessed by the team may be a handy way to go. I did make an attempt to do something on that topic on my Vast site. I used the simple calendar plugin that Easily Displays Google Calendars in WordPress.An alternative is embedding a google calendar into a page. This doesn’t seem to be working a paypal request blocks the calendar from loading, so I have resorted to an embed code.

In Google Calendar go into Settings (Gear Wheel top right on page) and choose settings. Click the Calendar you want and then click on “Event notifications” and go to the embed code and click the blue customise button. See this post for some useful google calendar tips.

Once you have settings as you want, title, which view etc and background colour and other things to show, copy the iframe embed code to your web page (in text tab).

I ended up embedding 2 calendars in the page, one showing agenda and one showing monthly view

If everyone in the office had a google calendar  for the office then you could display them all on one page.

The YouTube tutorials I was following linking Google Sheets to web page, Anthony had a example of how to develop  an appointments Calendar on a web page. That might be worth exploring. A way of updating the calendar from the web page.

Keeping Links valid

The one thing with this type of site is it needs to be maintained. If the site links are not valid then people will stop using it.

Google webmaster tools ( I think this has the Google analytics too) can crawl your site to check your links are still valid. This may be particularly important with some of the product pages.

End Comment

Generally I have focused on open sites. This has been a useful exercise in developing a method to control access to a site.

Reflecting on this exercise. The making a ‘Members’ site that these posts explore is really just putting a login interface to the front of it.

The page and post content is pretty standard, just the structure and linking is for a specific intent. Also a controlled share between a selected team.

The calendar setup for a shared office calendar is a good idea to see what is coming up or to see when people will be in/out of the office. With Google Calendars it is not difficult to link several together.

You could use the process to build a Facilities Management website, along the lines of my Property Information site. If you kept all your property information on the site you could control it with a login interface. That may be an exercise for the future. One would need to build a mobile app to to be able to access some of the information when going onto sites.

That is one concern with the Asset Tiger 1. free Online Asset Management Service with Free mobile app tool in the cloud. It is free and you have your data in there, but if they decide to stop or limit the service you are vulnerable. One good thing about it is its easy to download your data within the programme, so as long as you have a contingency you could always do a data drop and upload (after transforming the data (in Knime or a similar tool)) to another AM tool.

You would need to make sure a few team members were comfortable editing web sites and updating content. You’d most probably have to have a couple of administrators to keep the site up to date. Some training links to some WordPress tutorials would not go amiss.

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